I’m a day late this week, but I’ve had an eventful week to say the least (my second child and daughter, Noli, was born on Monday!). But hey, I wanted to make sure I got in one last summer double feature for my May edition of the Blu-ray wishlist series. We’re going in the realm of 90s straight to video this week.
Scanner Cop (1994)
Scanners: The Showdown AKA Scanner Cop II (1995)
With the original Cronenberg classic hitting Blu-ray this summer in the US courtesy of Criterion, these two are the only Scanner movies not available on the format. Scanners became a franchise through the direct-to-video market that started boom in the late 80s/early 90s. Many other franchises grew healthier in their numbers thanks to this route as well. These final two films in the franchise came three years following Scanners II and III.
This is going to blasphemic, but I actually find the run of Scanners III to Scanners: The Showdown to be the best in the franchise. Scanners III is actually my favorite film of them all. The first one is a solid and classic, I mean who can’t close their eyes and freshly see that head explosion, but its kind of a slug and really doesn’t get into the meat of what it could be. While cheaper and pulpier, these direct to video films go for it whether they have the budget or not. The latter three films are super enjoyable in the pulpy, trashy action picture vein.
Rob Galluzzo of Icons Of Fright and Killer POV podcast has kind of put it best with these movies when he describes them as sort of X-Men type movies. They really do feel like films where Professor Xavier and Jean Grey’s powers are unleashed. The first film has some moments with their Scanner abilities, but these final three movies really go for it in terms of the action and the effects to support them. And I honestly think there’s some very impressive stunt work and practical effects on display in these movies especially for how low budget these Canadian films are.
The last two films in the series are the only ones that carry over a character or characters even. It has its focus on a cop who is a Scanner. I suppose for the most part they’re your pretty basic 80s/90s low budget cop movie, but its got a hook in that its meshed with the Scanners franchise. If you’re a fan of the Maniac Cop films, then I definitely think there is some pleasure you’ll find in these two films. Also, if you like low budget, pure action stuff of this era, you’ll get a kick out of it as well.
In the home video realm, Scanner Cop made it to DVD, but Showdown has yet to see release. And I honestly have no clue who has the rights to either. Scream Factory did a double feature of II and III last year, but I don’t think it was too popular so I doubt they’d go for more Scanners sequels. Overseas has also had the Scanners films out longer than the US and they still haven’t put either of these on Blu. A lower level independent distributor might go for something like this to have some sort of brand awareness. And, if the original gets a high profile remake, there could be interest in putting these two out. I’d like to see these pretty entertaining mind-action films see some high definition prestige as well as complete my Scanners Blu-rays on my shelf!