Lauralee Woodhouse

Written by Lauralee Woodhouse

Modified & Updated: 04 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Scanners is a groundbreaking sci-fi thriller directed by David Cronenberg. Released in 1981, the film became an instant cult classic and has since become synonymous with its iconic exploding head scene. Set in a dystopian world, Scanners explores the story of individuals with extraordinary telepathic and telekinetic powers, known as “scanners.” The film follows the journey of Cameron Vale, a scanner who becomes embroiled in a dangerous conspiracy involving a powerful corporation. With its innovative special effects and thought-provoking themes, Scanners has left an indelible mark on the genre and continues to captivate audiences to this day. In this article, we will delve into 42 fascinating facts about the movie Scanners that every fan should know.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Scanners” is a 1981 cult classic that explores telepathy and mind control, featuring intense battles and a memorable head explosion scene, captivating audiences with its unique blend of horror and thriller elements.
  • The film’s success led to a dedicated fanbase, multiple sequels, and enduring influence on popular culture, solidifying its status as a genre-defining work within the sci-fi and horror genres.
Table of Contents

“Scanners” was released in 1981.

This cult science fiction film directed by David Cronenberg hit the big screens in 1981, captivting audiences with its unique blend of horror and thriller elements. “Scanners” quickly gained a dedicated fanbase.

The movie explores the concept of telepathy and mind control.

Scanners” delves into the extraordinary abilities of individuals known as “scanners” who possess telepathic and psychokinetic powers. The film takes viewers on a thrilling journey with the protagonist as he tries to navigate a world filled with powerful scanners.

The infamous head explosion scene became an iconic moment in the movie.

One of the most memorable scenes in “Scanners” is when a scanner’s head explodes during a demonstration of his powers. The visceral and shocking visual has since become a hallmark of the film.

The role of Cameron Vale was played by Stephen Lack.

Stephen Lack portrayed the lead character, Cameron Vale, a scanner with immense telepathic abilities. His captivating performance helped to bring the character to life on screen.

Michael Ironside delivered a menacing performance as Darryl Revok.

Michael Ironside played the primary antagonist, Darryl Revok, who leads a rogue group of scanners. His intense and villainous portrayal added another layer of suspense to the film.

The movie features a unique and eerie score by Howard Shore.

Renowned composer Howard Shore provided the haunting and atmospheric soundtrack for “Scanners.” The music added depth and tension to the already gripping storyline.

“Scanners” was a commercial success.

The film garnered positive reviews and performed well at the box office, solidifying its place as a beloved cult classic. It continues to captivate audiences with its sci-fi elements and mind-bending plot.

The movie has become a renowned entry in David Cronenberg’s filmography.

As a seasoned filmmaker known for his unique style and exploration of body horror, “Scanners” further cemented David Cronenberg’s reputation as a visionary director.

The famous line “The scanner will rule the world” has become iconic.

A line uttered by Darryl Revok in the film, “The scanner will rule the world,” has become one of the most memorable quotes from “Scanners,” resonating with fans and encapsulating the power struggle depicted in the story.

The film’s special effects were groundbreaking for its time.

“Scanners” pushed the boundaries of special effects, particularly during the mind-battle sequences and the explosive moments, leaving a lasting impact on the genre.

The movie has inspired various references in popular culture.

Over the years, “Scanners” has influenced other films, TV shows, and even music videos, solidifying its cultural significance and enduring legacy.

“Scanners” explores themes of control and power.

The film delves into the ethics and consequences of possessing such extraordinary powers, highlighting the potential dangers of unchecked power and authority.

The telepathic battles in the film are intense and visually captivating.

The telepathic showdowns between different scanners in the movie are choreographed to create suspense and keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

The idea for “Scanners” originated from David Cronenberg’s interest in psychic phenomena.

David Cronenberg drew inspiration from his fascination with psychic abilities and their potential impact on society, leading to the creation of “Scanners.

The film has a dedicated and passionate fanbase.

Over the years, “Scanners” has amassed a loyal community of fans who appreciate its unique blend of horror, sci-fi, and psychological thrills.

The success of “Scanners” led to the creation of multiple sequels.

“Scanners” spawned several follow-up films, further expanding the world and mythology established in the original movie.

The film explores the duality of human nature.

“Scanners” delves into the inner struggle of its characters, showcasing both their extraordinary abilities and their vulnerabilities.

The movie’s intense moments are balanced by moments of psychological depth.

Beyond the action and suspense, “Scanners” delves into the psychological aspect of the scanners’ abilities, exploring their impact on the human mind.

The movie poster has become iconic and instantly recognizable.

The striking image of a scanner’s head radiating with telekinetic power has become synonymous with “Scanners.” It remains visually captivating to this day.

The film contains iconic scenes that stay with the audience long after viewing.

From intense battles to shocking revelations, “Scanners” delivers memorable moments that resonate with viewers and spark intrigue.

The concept of scanning in the movie was elaborately developed.

The film dives deep into the mechanics of scanning and the abilities of the scanners, providing a detailed understanding of how their powers function.

“Scanners” explores the moral implications of using telepathy against one’s will.

The movie raises thought-provoking questions about privacy, consent, and personal boundaries, examining the potential dark side of telepathic powers.

The film’s cinematography adds to the atmospheric and eerie tone.

The visually stunning shots and carefully crafted lighting contribute to the overall mood and suspense of “Scanners.”

The movie became a cult hit through word-of-mouth and underground screenings.

Although it initially had a limited release, “Scanners” gained popularity through positive word-of-mouth, leading to midnight screenings and a dedicated following.

The film’s success helped to elevate the career of director David Cronenberg.

“Scanners” marked a turning point in David Cronenberg’s career, solidifying his reputation as a visionary filmmaker with a knack for pushing cinematic boundaries.

The movie’s climactic finale is filled with suspense and surprises.

The gripping climax of “Scanners” leaves audiences on the edge of their seats, with unexpected twists and turns that keep them engaged until the very end.

Many consider “Scanners” to be a genre-defining film.

The movie’s unique blend of science fiction, horror, and thriller elements has contributed to its status as a defining work within the genre.

The film addresses themes of identity and self-discovery.

Throughout “Scanners,” characters embark on journeys of self-discovery, grappling with their own identities and the nature of their abilities.

The movie’s memorable tagline is “10 seconds: the pain begins. 15 seconds: you can’t breathe. 20 seconds: you explode.”

The tagline perfectly captures the intense and explosive nature of the scanning abilities in the film, adding to the intrigue surrounding “Scanners.”

The movie showcases the potential dangers of unchecked scientific experimentation.

“Scanners” raises cautionary concerns about the potential consequences of recklessly delving into unexplored scientific territories.

The film’s production design creates a dystopian and gritty atmosphere.

The attention to detail in the production design of “Scanners” helps to transport viewers to a world marked by paranoia and uncertainty.

“Scanners” has influenced subsequent films and TV shows with its unique take on psychic abilities.

The impact of “Scanners” can be seen in other works within the genre, from television series to blockbuster movies, showcasing its enduring influence.

The movie offers a thought-provoking exploration of the potential of the human mind.

Scanners” invites viewers to contemplate the vast capabilities of the human mind, opening up intriguing possibilities for further discussion.

The film’s pacing keeps audiences engaged from start to finish.

“Scanners” expertly balances suspenseful moments with character development, ensuring there is never a dull moment throughout the film.

The movie’s practical effects were praised for their realism.

The practical effects used in “Scanners” were ahead of their time, drawing praise for their authenticity and believability.

The film’s success spawned a variety of merchandise.

“Scanners” merchandise, including posters, action figures, and replicas of the iconic scanner head explosion scene, became collectible items among fans and enthusiasts.

The movie’s philosophical undertones add depth to the story.

Beyond the thrilling plot, “Scanners” raises philosophical questions about humanity, power, and control, providing substance alongside its entertainment value.

The on-screen chemistry between the cast members enhances the overall experience.

The skilled performances and dynamic interactions between the actors bring a sense of authenticity and believability to the characters in “Scanners.”

The film’s ending leaves room for interpretation and speculation.

“Scanners” concludes with a thought-provoking and ambiguous finale that allows viewers to form their own conclusions about the fate of the characters and the outcome of their journeys.

The movie’s iconic visuals have been referenced and parodied in popular culture.

From television shows to music videos, the striking visuals from “Scanners” have left a lasting impact, echoing through various forms of popular media.

The film’s success led to a resurgence of interest in paranormal and sci-fi themes.

“Scanners” tapped into the fascination with psychic abilities and propelled the exploration of these concepts within the entertainment industry.

“Scanners” continues to captivate new audiences with its enduring legacy.

Decades after its release, “Scanners” remains a must-watch film, captivating viewers with its unique blend of sci-fi, horror, and thrilling storytelling.


In conclusion, “Scanners” is an iconic science fiction film that has captivated audiences since its release in 1981. Directed by David Cronenberg, the movie explores the intriguing concept of individuals with telepathic and telekinetic powers known as scanners. With its intense storyline, groundbreaking special effects, and memorable performances, “Scanners” has cemented its place as a cult classic in the genre.The film not only showcased Cronenberg’s unique vision but also pushed the boundaries of visual storytelling in the sci-fi realm. Its iconic “head explosion” scene has become one of the most memorable and widely discussed moments in movie history. With a combination of suspense, horror, and thought-provoking themes, “Scanners” continues to leave a lasting impact on both casual viewers and avid film enthusiasts.Whether you are a fan of science fiction or simply interested in exploring unique and gripping storytelling, “Scanners” is a must-watch film that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.


1. Who directed the movie “Scanners”?

David Cronenberg directed the film “Scanners”.

2. When was “Scanners” released?

“Scanners” was released in 1981.

3. What is the main concept of the film?

The film revolves around individuals called scanners, who possess telepathic and telekinetic powers.

4. Are there any remarkable scenes in “Scanners”?

Yes, the film is well-known for its iconic “head explosion” scene.

5. Is “Scanners” considered a cult classic?

Yes, “Scanners” has gained a cult status over the years due to its unique storyline and visual effects.

6. What genre does “Scanners” fall under?

“Scanners” is a science fiction film with elements of suspense and horror.

7. Are there any sequels or spin-offs of “Scanners”?

Yes, there are sequels to “Scanners” including “Scanners II: The New Order” and “Scanners III: The Takeover”.

8. How has “Scanners” influenced the sci-fi genre?

“Scanners” has had a significant impact on the sci-fi genre through its innovative storytelling and visual effects, inspiring many filmmakers and artists.

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