Stream to Scream: “SCANNERS III: THE TAKEOVER”Fearful Features,Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
As many fright fans already know, FANGORIA offers a great selection of gruesome movies, old and new, for free at our Hulu Collection. To give you a better idea of what’s available, FANGORIA is taking in-depth looks at some of the channel’s terrifying titles with Stream to Scream. Today: Christian Duguay’s SCANNERS III: THE TAKEOVER!
For fans of the SCANNERS series, it’s fairly agreed upon that the franchise is among the most consistent of its kind, with the two immediate sequels being quite consistent in quality. Of course, there’s an element of cheese and the action is frequently over the top, and each sequel shifts radically in tone from the film before it. But for pure entertainment value, SCANNERS II: THE NEW ORDER and SCANNERS III: THE TAKEOVER are among the most badass and thrilling sci-fi horror flicks of their kind. But as SCANNERS II works in many ways as a way to re-establish and retell the story of the original, with many plot beats feeling exceedingly similar, SCANNERS III goes into full out sci-fi mode, complete with extreme effects, stunts and even an archetypal superhero story.
For those unfamiliar, SCANNERS III follows a brother and sister who are both scanners; the brother exiles himself far away from his loved ones after an accident with his powers kills a close friend, and the sister uses her powers to find out how to bolster her strength and further her quest for power. As you may have guessed, when the sister becomes ruthless and destructive, the brother makes his way back home to put a stop to her personally. And along the way there’s shootouts, murder, chase scenes, full front nudity, torturous scientific experimentation and, yes, an exploding head; in a way, SCANNERS III reaches the apex of straight-to-video sci-fi.
Directing from a strong and rightfully insane script from B.J. Nelson, Julie Richard and David Preston, Christian Duguay raises his game from the already ambitious SCANNERS II, with tons of era-appropriate sci-fi action and wonderfully wicked character work throughout. Hugues de Haeck’s cinematography is great as well, turning budgeted sets into an epic universe, and injecting SCANNERS III with some excellent shots (especially POV shots) go above and beyond expectations. And let’s not forget the music of Marty Simon, the editing of Yves Langlois (who also served on the stunt team), the production design of Michael Joy, and SFX supervisor Louis Craig, whose solid efforts help bring Duguay’s effective vision to the screen.
The performances in SCANNERS III are also rather superb, and much better for what some might expect from a third sequel in a mostly under-the-radar sci-fi horror franchise. Steve Parrish is simply great as the protagonist, Alex, and maintains a unique physicality and delivery style that does wonders for his emotional evolution over the course of the film. Valerie Valois is also quite good as Joyce, a friend of Alex’s caught between his fight against his sister, Helena. And I’m not even going to pretend that I didn’t fall madly in love with Liliana Komorowska in the role as ultra-baddie Helena, who is so effectively desirable and outright evil that I essentially melted like butter in her frightening and fictional palm.
Overall, while SCANNERS III doesn’t hold the gravitas of SCANNERS or even SCANNERS II, it’s likely the most fun entry in the franchise, ramping the science fiction up to 11 while providing quality action and gore to the proceedings. It’s wild, insane and, in some ways, hilariously nostalgic, sending audiences back to the early ’90s when movies like SCANNERS III weren’t afraid to blow up heads and send a stuntman flying alongside an exploding motorcycle. It’s pure, unadulterated entertainment, and while it may be a bastardization of Cronenberg’s contemplative original, it’s an undeniably impressive film in its own right.