This modern horror classic from Canadian writer/director David Cronenberg – in which he seamlessly blends the genres of science fiction and conspiracy thriller into an exhilarating ride – suggests there are in existence 237 people with the ability to arrest and distract the minds of others.
If ultra-concentrated, these freaks of nature – called “scanners” – can ultimately bring about the death of another human by disarranging their brain cells and setting off an imbalance perpetrated by a violent, invisible vibration.
These powers can also be put to beneficial use but evil Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) abuses his scannerability for the furtherance of his own ends and is consequently tracked down by a powerful organisation spearheaded by Dr Paul Ruth (Patrick McGoohan) who, in the past, has been specialising in collecting stray scanners.
While the stunning (and occasionally stomach-churning) set pieces, such as the exploding heads, and the final apocalyptic battle will delight genre fans, it’s Cronenberg’s fascination with the horrors lurking within the human body and our inability to control them that provides the real interest in this landmark movie.
It was followed by two sequels and two spin-off films.
Dr Paul Ruth