Scanners III: The Takeover Blu-ray Review
Directed by Christian Duguay
Written by B.J Nelson, Julie Richard, David Preston and David Cronenberg (characters)
1991, Region B/2, 101 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Blu-ray released on April 8th, 2013
Liliana Komorowska as Helen Monet
Valérie Valois as Joyce Stone
Steve Parrish as Alex Monet
Colin Fox as Dr. Elton Monet
Daniel Pilon as Michael
Mark Wight as Mark Dragon
The sort of movie which opens with a man in a Santa costume being mind-punched through the window of a very tall building, while a young child looks on, traumatised. Until now, the Scanners series has largely restrained itself to two or three brilliant Scanner sequences per movie, but Scanners III bucks that trend massively. It opens with Santa being dropped from a very high window, and doesn't let up again until the end.
I've nothing against jolly Kris Kringle (quite the opposite – he brought me a lovely Battle Royale box set last year) but it's one of my many peculiarities that I'm a sucker for seeing a man murdered while wearing a Santa outfit. To me, there are few things funnier than seeing a man dressed up like Father Christmas get himself killed in the opening moments of one crass horror movie or other. It's why I'll take Silent Night, Deadly Night over Halloween any day (heathen, I know). With that in mind, I knew from the outset that I was going to enjoy Scanners III.
Crushed with guilt from his accidentally murdering Santa, Scanner Alex runs away to join a monastery. Back home, his sister Helena suffers terrible headaches thanks to her own haywire Scanner abilities. Desperate, she turns to an experimental medicine designed by her father, which she hopes will put a stop to those pesky migraines. The drug does the job, but has the unfortunate side-effect of turning the once mild-mannered young woman into a crazed megalomaniac. It's not long before she's using her Scanner abilities to blow up heads, pop eyeballs and take over her father's business. There's also a great scene in which she forces someone to perform The Full Monty in the middle of a busy restaurant, and another in which she murders a man using only a diving board and an empty swimming pool as a weapon. Poor Alex is forced to rejoin society in order to put a stop to his sister's misdeeds.
I've always been of the opinion that the Scanners series would have been vastly improved by embracing its inner trashiness and spending more time letting its telekinetic heroes and villains just run about the place mind-punching one another until someone's head explodes. Government conspiracy and intense paranoia is all fine and dandy, but sometimes you just want to watch the world burn and see a head burst like a melon. Anyway, we already have a classy Scanners movie in David Cronenberg's original piece and a duller effort in Scanners II. This third movie is where the series finally has some fun. It's the least technically good Scanners film, but it's by far my favourite. Yes, even more so than Cronenberg's.
Some will be put off by the film's move into more obvious straight-to-video sequel territory, and it's hard to argue with them. Scanners III is silly, exploitative and nasty. It adds nothing to the Scanners mythos (with a third entry, I have to start bandying about words like 'mythos' now) but lurid fun, and lots of it. Well it's about time those dour Scanners started to enjoy themselves. It's remarkable that director Christian Duguay managed to film The Takeover back-to-back with Scanners II and produce something so tonally different.
There still aren't enough splattery head explosions, but at least this time it doesn't matter so much - it's hard to resent a movie which opens with a man in a Santa outfit being telekinetically chucked through a window. The only way it could have been better is if his head had exploded afterwards.
Video and Audio:
It looks and sounds good, although you won't miss much if you decide to go for the DVD version instead.
There are no special features on this disc.
*Note: The screenshots on this page are publicity stills and not a reflection of the Blu-ray image.*