David Cronenberg’s “Scanners” (1981) is infamous for a particular scene occurring less than 15 minutes into the film (and is likely still a shock for audiences today who have never seen it). The film’s notoriety (and comparatively wooden performance of the lead actor) may have caused most viewers to overlook some of the film’s better qualities such as an intelligent proto-cyberpunk storyline involving human drug experimentation, corporate espionage and backlash from a mutant terrorist underground. One particularly compelling plot element features an attack via psychic computer hacking. Scanners is surprisingly polished for its budget in terms of cinematography and special effects and is also notable for standout performances by Patrick McGoohan (creator and star of “The Prisoner” TV series) and Michael Ironside.
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