Scanners 1981 ***

While there’s not much to be said for the sequels that followed, David Cronenberg’s consideration of telekinesis is a nicely-done conspiracy thriller than benefits from the cold Canadian feel of the locations. Taking some ideas from the Thalidomide scandal, with pregnant women given drugs which adversely affected their children, the Scanners of the title are grown-ups who have destructive powers which the government seek to control; Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) is on the case, and his final confrontation with revoke (perfect villain Michael Ironside) has become such a pop-cultural meme that it can cheerfully be referenced on The Big Bang Theory. Cronenberg also creates a big bang of his own in an explosive opening sequence, with a head tearing apart like a tomato in a microwave, but while the gore is capably handled by genre master Dick Smith, the whole production has a grimly downbeat feel that haunts the mind.


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