I’ve never been a fan of Scanners (I blog about it here), yet after recently discovering a Blu-ray double feature of Scanners 2 and 3, neither of which I knew existed, I had to complete my collection. Only days later I discovered I had to order two more DVDs from Poland to do so—Scanner Cop 1 and 2. Dare I say mind blown?
SCANNERS II: THE NEW ORDER (1991)
Whatever the reason for making this into a franchise ten years after the original was released, the directing duties were handed over to the same guy for both parts 2 and 3.
Part 2 is really more of the same thing the original gave us, but it has that early 90s direct-to-video vibe that makes me all nostalgic for my years working in the video store all day then going clubbing all night.
The film begins in an arcade, where a crazy scanner guy controls a light gun game before blowing real shit up.
In the meantime, while witnessing an armed robbery a young veterinarian student discovers he can blow up heads.
Pretty soon he is embroiled in a cop’s plot to gain control of the city. When the scanner decides he wants no part of it, he becomes a bit of a fugitive, being chased by everyone, including the crazy scanner guy from the beginning.
Silly movies like this are all over the map, for the whole point is to keep the character on the run. But I’m just in it for exploding heads, and we get some good juicy ones in this sequel. It definitely could have used some trimming, because at 105 minutes long, it starts to drag.
SCANNERS III: THE TAKEOVER (1993)
Now this is how you start a Scanners movie. Guests at a Christmas party don’t believe scanners are real, so one guy dressed as a Santa convinces his scanner buddy to show them his powers. Things go horribly wrong, and let’s just say that isn’t the real Santa flying outside the apartment building window.
The scanner immediately takes off to Asia to learn how to better control his powers…
Meanwhile, a young woman in the city discovers she’s a scanner when typical direct-to-video evil punk rockers jump her in an alley. She goes home to her scientist father, who is working on an experimental drug to curb the side effects for scanners, but it isn’t ready for human consumption yet. Sooooo…she steals some.
The side effects of the medication meant to stop side effects is that it makes her power hungry. First she makes a dude strip for her in a restaurant (sadly she throws him into a piano before he goes full Monty). Then she becomes even more evil and starts blowing people up in gory detail.
Once she begins using her powers for sexual purposes, I was sold on this being the best Scanners movie in the series so far. This is pure 90s VHS erotic thriller territory…with exploding heads. Wahoo!
Of course the scanner dude in Asia returns to go after her when he realizes she intends to control the world! It’s as ridiculously insane as it sounds and I love it. This is the only time a female scanner takes center stage in the series and I was so there for it.
SCANNER COP (1994)
Scanner Cop is definitely a direct-to-video production of the 90s, but it doesn’t skimp on the gory scanner effects. It also makes the smart move of casting Richard Lynch as the baddie, which was a good way to add b-movie horror and sci-fi cred back then.
The story is also fresh. As a child, the cute main guy used his own scanning power to save a cop from getting scanned to death. And so, he grows up to be…
SCANNER COP! Dunh dunh dunh!
He’s on the case when normal citizens start killing cops! His job is to find out why, but we already know…scanner Richard Lynch is manipulating their minds so they see cops as hideous monsters that threaten their lives (I shall make no reference to how this metaphorically reflects current times).
Adding to the fun, Lynch has a perfectly villainous sidekick…the enthusiastic aerobics instructor that tried to sell Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche expensive workout attire.
The gore is delicious, there are some hellish visuals, and the final battle between scanner cop and Lynch in an operating room is a hoot.
SCANNER COP 2 (1995)
The series goes out with a cheesy bang in this final film, which brings back the scanner cop from the previous film but does nothing to advance his story beyond him growing out his hair.
He’s hunting down an escaped, evil scanner that is sucking the scanning powers from others to make himself a super scanner, and is also out for revenge because the scanner cop killed his brother—which I at first assumed was Richard Lynch from the first movie. BUT…both characters have the same first name, not last. We eventually learn in black and white flashbacks that these brothers have nothing to do with Richard Lynch’s character.
The movie is all about action, gun fights, and gory scanning battles, as it should be. You’ll even see Kane Hodder get scanned in the ear if you pay attention…or check out the still shot I’ve supplied below.
Horror, sci-fi, and action hunk Patrick Kilpatrick is the perfect baddie to bring the series to its over-the-top climax. He just goes around for the whole movie making silly faces and using hypnotic music…I mean…his powers to get what he wants as he gruesomely sucks the scanning life out of others. And he’s a blast in the final battle of goofy faces with the main guy.
But most importantly, he starts calling the main man “Scanner cop” with delicious disdain. Yeah, the franchise had to end on this low high note…and with Kilpatrick’s furry ta-tas. Is it just me, or is there a penis shadow puppet show going on over his head?