Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku - DAY 24: Scanners (1981) [dir. David Cronenberg]

Greetings, Boils & Ghouls...

...welcome to 'Day Twenty-Four' of "Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku" in which I will suggest my top picks of the fright flicks from the carefully curated catalogue of macabre movies available via the 'Shudder UK' streaming service - any of which can then be streamed to your television using the magic of Roku player - so, let's dim the lights... and prepare for more frights! :-O

If you read my Hallowe'en blogathon preview - FOUND HERE - published on 30th September, then you will know that I plan to post one Hallowe'en / Horror related article every day, throughout the month of October, each featuring one horror movie from the current 'Shudder UK' content library. With recommendations for thirty-one of the best fright flicks I can find, by the end of the month, this means you should have plenty of great choices for your macabre movie viewing as we count down the days to Hallowe'en... as well as ensuring some top-notch cinematic scares come October 31st! ;-)

"Scanners" (1981) [Criterion Collection Box Art]

For my twenty-fourth instalment in this series of posts I'm going to suggest another feature-length movie from Canada, this time directed by David Cronenberg, and first released in 1981. Written, as well as directed by Cronenberg, it tells the story of a man with extraordinary psychic powers who is sent-out into the world by a scientist to hunt others like him. These people are the titular "Scanners" and they are men and women born with incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers. There are many who exercise the benefits of their special gifts in a safe and judicious manner. However, there is a group of renegade scanners who plan to create a race that will rule the world. There are 4 billion people on earth, and only 237 are 'Scanners', but they have the most terrifying powers ever created... and they are winning! Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) is the most powerful of all the 'Scanners', and is the head of the underground 'Scanner' movement for world domination. The 'Scanners' use their great psychic power, which is strong enough to control the minds of any people they might encounter, to inflict enormous pain / damage on their victims. However, Doctor Paul Ruth (Patrick McGoohan) finds a 'Scanner' that Revok hasn't, and converts him to their cause which is to destroy the movement!

"Scanners" (1981) [USA Poster #1]

If you haven't seen the film before, here is a brief taster in the shape of a video trailer for this highly acclaimed horror sci-fi thriller, courtesy of an upload by 'Frightism' to their 'YouTube' channel:-

If you'd like to know more... there's a full list of the cast & credits on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) listing for "Scanners" (1981), FOUND HERE, which also includes a full storyline / plot summary as well as box office stats, technical specs & much more. For die-hard fans, there's even more info to be had from the Wikipedia Page for David Cronenberg's "Scanners" (1981) which is available VIA THIS LINK, and may help to fuel your appetite for (yet) another screening. Although, if you're as much of a fan of this fantasy thriller as I am, or happen to enjoy David Cronenberg's films in general, it probably won't take too much persuading for you to watch this again! ;-) :-)

"Scanners" (1981) [Contemporary Poster Art]

Anyway... you probably guessed already but, if not, this film (like the others from this series of posts) is also available via the 'Shudder' streaming service and can be easily viewed on any Roku device via their dedicated channel (app) for these streaming media players. There are other opportunities for UK Roku users to view "Scanners" (1981), including a brace of options from 'Amazon Video' so feel free to simply "Rent" for £2.49 (SD) / £3.49 (HD) or else "Buy & Keep" it for £5.99 (SD) / £6.99 (HD) - the choice is entirely yours - but, having said that, I'd suggest taking a look at the possible alternatives before parting with any money... because there might be some free sources available online that offer file formats compatible with Roku. However, as my original idea for this month-long blogathon was to suggest thirty-one great Hallowe'en / Horror themed movies from the fang-tastic 'Shudder UK', I am recommending you stream it via their channel - if possible! ;-) :-)

If you haven't already added it to your channel selection, you will find "Shudder" listed among the "Film & TV" channels in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. You can easily install it on your Roku by navigating to the built-in 'Channel Store' (accessed via "Streaming Channels" from the home screen on your Roku device) and scrolling through the options until you see the channel icon (pictured above). It's completely FREE-TO-ADD so, once you've located it in the list of channels, just click the "OK" button on your Roku remote to select it and then click "OK" again where it says 'Add channel' to install it on your Roku player(s). Having done that, it's simply a case of launching the channel via the 'Go to channel' option and navigating the on-screen menu to log-in (if you already have an account, but haven't yet done so) or start your free trial (if you are new to the service) and, once you see 'Shudder TV' playing on the screen, just push the "DOWN" arrow on your Roku remote to get to the main menu... from where you can "Search" for "Scanners", and then press "OK" on your remote to select and 'Play' this eighties horror sci-fi thriller which, for the record, runs to 1h 43mins.


Unfortunately for Roku users in the USA and Canada, it appears this film is not (currently) available for streaming via the 'Shudder' service in either country... although, the movie is free-to-stream for anyone with a 'Filmstruck' subscription. There are also options for streamers in the U.S. to rent the film (which can then be watched on Roku via the 'Amazon Video' channel) just as it can in the UK. The current cost of renting "Scanners" (1981) via the 'Amazon Video' service in the United States is USD $3.99 for both 'SD' or 'HD' quality - it's the same, either way. Although "Buy & Keep" pricing for this film is somewhat higher, being USD $14.99 (SD) and USD $19.99 (HD). As for Canadians, the streaming options for this movie are (once again) few and far between, at least as far as being able to enjoy the film on Roku is concerned. That said, as suggested in other posts from this series, there could well be one or two other streaming resources for you to use, so it might be best to check for any alternative sources you can use to watch this. As always, if you get stuck trying to find a good stream, message me via Twitter: @ukrokuchannels and I'll see if I can sort you out with a link! ;-) :-)

Michael Ironside as 'Darryl Revok' in Scanners (1981) [Movie Still]

Meanwhile, for that full cinema experience, here's a few more posters and other images that movie-goers in 1974 (and more recently) would have encountered depending on their location in the world:

"Scanners" (1981) [British Quad Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Vintage Movie Posters

"Scanners" (1981) [Belgian/Dutch Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Dangerous Universe

"Scanners" (1981) [Croatian Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Movie Poster

"Scanners" (1981) [French Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: My Favorite Year

"Scanners" (1981) [Italian Poster #1]

"Scanners" (1981) [Thai Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Monster Brains

"Scanners" (1981) [Italian Poster #2]

"Scanners" (1981) [Japanese Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Film on Paper

"Scanners" (1981) [German Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Moviepilot

"Scanners" (1981) [USA Poster #2]
PHOTO CREDIT: Berk Reviews

"Scanners" (1981) [Contemporary Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Film School Rejects

"Scanners" (1981) [Advance Teaser Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Wrong Side of the Art

"Scanners" (1981) [Silver Ferox Design Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Silver Ferox Design

"Scanners" (1981) [USA Lobby Card #1]

"Scanners" (1981) [USA Lobby Card #2]

Finally, to round-off the twenty-fourth instalment in my blogathon on 'Day Twenty-Four' for this edition of 'Countdown To Halloween', here's more FRIGHTENINGLY FUN FILM FACTS... for example: did you know that David Cronenberg once called this the most frustrating film he'd ever made? The film was rushed through production - filming had to begin without a finished script and end within roughly two months so the financing would qualify as a tax write-off, forcing Cronenberg to write and shoot at the same time. Cronenberg also cited difficulty with (and antagonism between) the leading actors, in particular Patrick McGoohan and Jennifer O'Neill! :-O ;-) :-)

Other interesting tidbits of trivia include the fact that an earlier treatment of the story, from 1976, which was entitled "Telepathy 2000" began with the protagonist (named Harley Quinn) telepathically raping a woman in a subway... although it was actually set as a spy movie. In this version, a company called Cytodyne Amalgamate was breeding evil 'Scanners' to take over the world and the government was employing good 'Scanners' to stop them. Anyway, even if you haven't seen this film yet, you will (most likely) have heard about it as being "the film with the exploding head"... so, I don't feel like I'm giving away too much by revealing - SPOILER ALERT: the effect used for the exploding head scene was accomplished by filling a latex prop of the actor's head with dog food, some leftover lunch, plus fake blood & rabbit livers, then shooting it from behind with a 12-gauge shotgun - so now you know!


Anyhow, that's all I've got time for today... but do remember to come back again tomorrow, for my next macabre movie recommendation from the 'Shudder UK' streaming library, when I will suggest a film for 'Day Twenty-Five' of "Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku" right here on this blog. Meanwhile... please be sure to visit the Countdown To Hallowe'en website & show your support for this annual online Hallowe'en extravaganza PLUS don't forget to use the links you find there and check out all the other 'Cryptkeepers' taking part this year. I know they'll appreciate it, if you visit their blogs and share your thoughts on the contribution(s) they've made.


ONE LAST THING, BEFORE I GO: Don't forget that, aside from the Hallowe'en / Horror-themed ghastliness going on around these parts for the next month, you can also keep up with the UK Roku action (as it happens) by following the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels where you will find that up-to-the-minute info on all things Roku-related is posted on a daily basis (well, almost).

Until the next time, then...

That's all folks !!

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