Firstly, and most importantly, a man’s head blows up in this film. This is fantastic and brilliant for the very simple reason that his head blows up. Bam. Bolognese everywhere. Exceptional stuff. Aside from that Scanners is a heavily symbolic psychological thriller about people with ‘special talents’, telepathy and telekinesis, whose mind-reading talents take a physical toll on those people who they scan. Hence the head explosion. Cronenberg inveigles these characters into a corporate espionage/terrorism tale allowing for a wonderful take on computers and communications networks being a nervous system in their own right. This was very much pre-internet but Cronenberg’s uniquely superb take on ‘body-horror’ has proven itself quite prescient.
I watched the film at the same time as a couple of other bloggers one of whom, the delightful Sarah, has written about the film with a good deal more eloquence and insight than myself. So do yourself a favour and read her review here at Paperhouse.