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SCANNERS (1981) – Episode 221 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“All right. We’re gonna do this the scanner way. I’m gonna suck your brain dry!” Yikes! Can we not do it the scanner way? Join your faithful Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, Crystal Cleveland, and Jeff Mohr  – as they go in for some vintage 1980s David Cronenberg with Scanners (1981). That’s right. Somebody’s head will explode.

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 221 – Scanners (1981)

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A scientist trains a man with an advanced telepathic ability called “scanning,” to stop a dangerous Scanner with extraordinary psychic powers from waging war against non-scanners.

Jeff has always been drawn to stories of humans with paranormal powers so Scanners is right up his alley. He came for the legendary exploding head and stayed for the story . . . and, of course, Patrick McGoohan’s and Michael Ironside’s performances. Bill saw Scanners in a theater and witnessed the audience flipping out at the scene. It is the closest thing to an X-men movie he’d found up to that time. After his buddy snuck him into the theater, Scanners seemed like a superhero movie to Chad. Even now, he enjoys it more every time he watches it, always noticing something new.

It probably goes without saying, but as usual, they say it anyway. Michael Ironside! Holy Cow! His performance is . . . over-the-top? Uninhibited? Off the wall? Sick? Dope? Well, you get the idea. They ran out of words.

At the time of this writing, Scanners is available to stream from HBOmax, Criterion Channel, and IndieFlix as well as some PPV options, and on physical media as a Blu-ray from Criterion.

Every two weeks, Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1980s podcast will cover another horror film from the 1980s. The next episode’s film, chosen by Bill, will be Dragonslayer (1981). They don’t need any stinking CGI.

Please let them know how they’re doing! They want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans – so leave them a message or comment on the gruesome Magazine Youtube channel, on the website, or email the Decades of Horror 1980s podcast hosts at

Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.