Scanners III: The Takeover

(Christian Duguay, Canada, 1992)


It is customary to deride the mania for sequels in contemporary cinema as an uninspired, coldly calculated phenomenon – particularly when dealing with never-ending B-movie serials like the Friday the 13th epic.

Scanners III: The Takeover is the litmus test for any reviewer. It is in some respects so trashy that it makes David Cronenberg's original horror classic Scanners (1981) seem like a subtle, tasteful art movie. But, for very different reasons, both films are worth praising.

To be sure, gone from this sequel are the affecting characterisations, the heartfelt religious symbols, the thought-provoking allusions to the state of modern civilisation that filled Cronenberg's film. Here, everything is painted in broad, lurid strokes.

Liliana Komorowska as the chief scanner (possessed of monstrous telepathic and telekinetic powers) is a florid, vengeful vamp gesticulating as in a silent movie. Her rise to the top of a powerful corporation and her mind-control of the television airwaves are rendered as pure, soapy schlock.

Cronenberg's army of scanners were like a sad, oppressed proletariat. Here, once liberated, they turn into sexy nurses and Three Stooges-type gangsters, chasing the Buddhist-inspired hero (Steve Parrish) all over town.

As in all the Scanners movies, veins bulge hideously and heads explode gorily whenever a battle of the super-minds begins.

Flamboyantly directed by Christian Duguay (The Assignment, 1997) – an unsung auteur worth keeping tabs on – this is a rousing piece of pop overkill.

MORE Duguay: Model By Day

© Adrian Martin February 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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