Bet you all thought I had forgotten about this series: Scanner Cop

It’s been a while since I’ve done this series. Not for any particular reason, but more because Lovefilm have been sending me excellent stuff, and I was a bit burnt out on lousy DTV sequels. Nevertheless, I did have it sitting on the PS3 hard drive, and with Mrs. Jarv out, I thought I’d watch it to catch up. Was this a good idea? Well, to be honest, I’m not sure. In a way I can see the logic of moving Scanners down this line, as there was an element of police work involved in the first two, even though the Scanner himself was not specifically Law Enforcement. Scanner Force, on the other hand, was just completely and utterly bugnuts, so any reference to the police or law enforcement went right out of the window (along with Santa). This time round, the series makes absolutely no bones about it- he’s a Scanner and also a cop. So, does it work and is the film any good?

Short answer? Yes to the first part, no to the second. However, I don’t think it fails because he’s openly police. There are myriad other reasons why this is a bit of a dud, even though it isn’t a complete misfire.

Scanner Cop, actually, opens with a bang and one of my favourite effects from the series to date (it certainly makes a pleasant change from the squeezing-a-poop-out-face that usually accompanies telepathic/ telekinetic antics. Sam and his father are stuck in a low rent section of town in a one room apartment. Sam’s father is off his Ephemerol (and has been for four days- this is important) and is noisily going out of his mind. Sam himself has just taken his last dose. It’s a good performance from someone who isn’t listed in the credits (annoyingly) as he veers towards some serious scenery chewing insanity. The highpoint of this is when he’s staring into the mirror and sees little mini-heads busting out of his forehead and screaming in delusional agony. The cops bust in and he’s murdered, but young Sam is adopted on the spot by a genial police officer Harrigan.

Hahahahahaha! Talk about thinking with the little head.

Cut to “the present day” and a woman is kidnapping people off the street with a magic aerosol full of some nerve paralysing gas that wears off. Why they insist on making this up is beyond me, does Chloroform no longer exist? She then takes the victim back to the mad doctor’s lair and he injects them with some magic green syringe (that faithful movie fall back) in order to brainwash them. Once suitably conditioned, they then proceed to go bugnuts at the sight of a police uniform and see zombies/ monsters/ giant insects/ Viet Cong (hilarious) and lay waste to any copper in the area. Patrolman Sam Staziak (Daniel Quinn) is asked by his father (now head of police, played by Richard Grove) to come off the Ephemerol and find some answers.

The long and the short of what follows is that Sam does his pooping face a lot, and eventually tracks down mad doctor Glock (Richard Lynch) who is a bit pissed off about the police busting up his sex cult and shooting him in the head (necessitating a titanium plate that isn’t at all a convenient way to make him partially immune to scanning or anything). His sidekick, Zena (Hilary Shephard) is a psychic of sorts, and eventually Sam manages to send her to hell (literally, they even stole the set from Hellraiser 2) and pop the titanium like a champagne cork out of the doctor’s head. Film ends.

 

Scanning a computer is really boring, and I'm not sure how it works considering he's holding the monitor and the bit that actually makes the computer work is elsewhere. I particularly would like to know why making his sex face at the screen makes any difference

Acting wise, this isn’t too bad. Lynch is on fine form as Glock, and Quinn is a bit bland as Sam, but he’s more the foil for the loopy antics around him. Grove is good as Harrigan, but the rest of the support veers towards the cardboard and rubbish- particularly Mark Rolston as Harrigan’s Lieutenant. The only really bad performance is Shepherd as Zena, who is meant to be mysterious, sultry and a bit crazy, but is actually about as sexually desirable as a bowl of tapioca and as menacing as harsh language.

Unfortunately, the problems lie in the writing. The plot for the most part is coherent and makes sense, and there are no serious holes or gaps that need explanation. Brilliantly, the film also assumes that we know about Scanners and Ephemerol, so it’s just briefly mentioned and not explained at all. I like this, actually, as it shows a bit of trust in the audience. However, the big problem of the film is that it’s so damned repetitive. There’s only so many times that you can listen to Darlanne Fluegel (playing Sam’s girlfriend/ convenient doctor Joan Alden) go on and fucking on at him about taking his Ephemerol, while he whines about how he’s got to see it through to the end. This happens several times, and it quickly becomes tiresome and aggravating- he’s blatantly not going to take it, so shut the fuck up. Then there’s the Hell sequence itself. This really makes no sense whatsoever, and I presume is only in the film so that they could squeeze in the obligatory head explosion. It’s particularly galling actually, because the corridor to hell resembles the mausoleum in Phantasm, and the rest of it looks exactly like Hellraiser 2. Cannibalised sets were clearly the order of the day here.

Someone took "turn up in costume" far too literally on the set of the Robocop reboot

Nevertheless, there are two real problems with all the Scanners sequels that only Scanner Force gets around (and that’s only because it’s completely mental). The first is that they all lack a villain with the scope and sheer lunacy in his plans of Ironside. These films all need more Ironside, and that’s just a fact. Not that most films wouldn’t benefit from some Darth Ironside, because they would, but the lack of a strong loopy villain in the Scanners series is exponentially worse due to the fact that the lead is always so fucking bland. The second problem, and only Scanner Force got round this and even then only by inventing Scan-fu, is that Scanning and Scan battles are intrinsically boring: a guy stands there making sex faces while his target thrashes around for a while. Eventually big purple veins will start to appear before the signature head pop. Scanner Cop is exasperating as at least when there’s another actor involved the Scanning does have some focus, but here Sam scans fucking machines on more than one occasion- which is beyond boring.

 

Zena made the mistake of taking Ephemerol to cure her period pains.

Overall, this isn’t the worst film of the series, but it’s not a particularly noteworthy entry. It will pass the time in a fairly unobtrusive way, but would massively have benefitted from boob and more variety, and isn’t really worth the bother of looking up. The problem is that it’s just too repetitive and the evil plan is so small scale that I struggled to maintain interest. The Hell sequence is the standout bit of lunacy in the film, but this suffers from being tonally jarring and quite shoddy. I can’t say I recommend this, as I don’t, but it certainly isn’t an awful effort by any stretch of the imagination. For being below par but not abysmal, I give Scanner Cop 1 DO THE CUNT IRONSIDE out of 4.

I’ve only got Scanner Cop 2: The Showdown to go in this series now, and can’t find it, but I do promise that I will complete this trawl through Thalidomide dreams.

Until next time,

Jarv

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

31 responses to “Bet you all thought I had forgotten about this series: Scanner Cop”

  1. Frank Marmoset says :

    Not sure why anyone would steal anything from Hellraiser 2, even the sets.

    I bet even the sandwiches were crap on that film, like stale bread and one thin slice of reconstituted pork product crap. Not even any mayonnaise!

    • Jarv says :

      It’s all grey fucking corridors with bluey grey bars and the occasional cell. I don’t know what they were thinking.

      I’ve decided, that when I finish Scanners, I am going to do Hellraiser. It’ll make you hate cinema and as I like part 2, I reckon I can make it to at least Inferno. I did make it all the way through both Phantasm and Children of the Corn.

      • Frank Marmoset says :

        Hey, I’m doing Hellraiser!

        Back away from the Hellraiser series, sir, I have called dibs on that one. If you ruin this opportunity for me to do a stupid joke joke I thought up and still makes me chuckle when I think about it now, I will hunt you down and force you to watch that film about vampire midgets six times! Six!

      • Jarv says :

        I will hunt you down and force you to watch that film about vampire midgets six times! Six!

        Yikes.

        OK- you can have it. Christ. Don’t blame me if it upsets you and drives you back to watching nothing but Jane Austen adaptations.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        You’re a brave (si)m(i)an, Frank. I’d have thought only Jarv has the constitution to go through the movies 5-9 in the HELLRAISER series. And then you’ll have to continue when they eventually get round to raping the still-twitching corpse of the original HELLRAISER movie for the inevitable remake.

        To think, it could have been the director of MARTYRS, but the studio didn’t share his “vision”. What is this, a fucking PG-13 remake? Fucking Kyle Gallner in goth attire becomes Pinhead or some shit?? GAAAHH!!

        The only HELLRAISER sequel I’m interested in is Clive Barker’s upcoming ending to the entire Cenobite saga, THE SCARLET GOSPELS. That’s it.

        Though this is fun:

        http://hellraiserremake.com/

      • Frank Marmoset says :

        Luckily, there are only 8 Hellraisers, the ninth isn’t out yet. That is only positive thing I have to say about the experience so far.

        I’m going to burn through them all as fast as I can, then begins the tough task of turning my angry ravings into something approaching an entertaining review. Should be done some time next week, fingers crossed.

      • Jarv says :

        7 Currently out.

        8 Due out this year.

        9= remake due out next year.

      • Jarv says :

        Also, this doesn’t bode well for part 8:

        “I know that many of you will have caught up with the sudden burst of Internet chatter about a new Hellraiser film going into production, and will be keen to know whether I’ve been approached to play Pinhead again, so here’s the deal…I have been approached just in this last week (w/b 16 August) regarding a proposed new Hellraiser film. This is not the ‘remake’ which has been endlessly discussed for the last three years: with the working title Hellraiser: Revelations, it will be the ninth film in the series. I would stress that I have had no contact from, or negotiations with, anyone from Dimension Films: rather these contacts have been by way of private discussion with individuals involved with this project…”Following these discussions, and after reading the script and giving it due consideration, I have decided not to participate. The ink is barely dry on the script, and it is scheduled to be in front of the cameras in two weeks time and in the can by the middle of next month (September 2010). The miniscule [sic] shooting schedule is more than matched by the budget…Whether or not this means that somebody else will be stepping up to play Pinhead, I have no idea. I guess we can watch this space together…One way or another, this does not seem to me to represent a serious attempt to revive the Hellraiser franchise. However, I wish everyone who will be directly involved in the making of this film, good luck with it.”[6]

        If Doug Bradley turned it down then it must be dreadful.

      • Frank Marmoset says :

        There are 8 Hellraisers currently out:

        1 – Hellraiser
        2 – Hellbound
        3 – Hell On Earth
        4 – Bloodline
        5 – Inferno
        6 – Hellseeker
        7 – Deader
        8 – Hellworld

        The ninth – Revelations, which they’re doing without Doug Bradley as Pinhead – is out later this year, then there’s supposed to be a remake of some sort.

      • koutchboom says :

        I’m just glad those sweedish fucks are out of directing the remake. I can’t remember their first film just that it was awful.

      • Jarv says :

        Er. Whoops.

        I can’t count.

        Sorry.

      • Jarv says :

        Man that new Pinhead design is fucking awful.

        Pinhead

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah it is, reminds me of something right out of House of the Dead.

      • koutchboom says :

        This is the sweedish movie directed by the guys that were attached to doing the hellraiser remake for a while.

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0446476/combined

        AICN had some ads for it I checked out the trailer it looked like it was gonna be some cool sort of SyFy thing…turns out like always….it was about rape.

      • koutchboom says :

        Hahah FUCK now they are attached to Underworld 4? Jesus Hollywood really wants these fucks.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Ah, you can’t completely hate HELLRAISER 2. The ambition’s there; the scene at the hospital, where all the patients have boxes with chains stuck through their faces, is great; Cranham Cenobite is fantastic – and the Cranham does do menace with gravitas extremely well; and Hell itself – the big matte painting with the spinning Rubik’s God – is quite imaginative. One imagines that that movie would have been a lot more expansive, blody, and insane had they had a budget that ran into hundreds, maybe thousands of pounds.

        As it is, yes it’s shit, but it’s interesting shit. Give me an interesting failure over a mediocre box-office success any day of the week. My worst nightmare?? PLATINUM DUNES PRESENTS HELLRAISER: BAYHELL!

  2. just pillow talk says :

    yeah…fight for your monkey rights!

    These films sound lifeless to me, except for the first one of course.

    • Jarv says :

      The third one-

      1. Unhinged and suitably large scale villain
      2. Insane performance from lead woman
      3. Nudity
      4. Buddhism can repress Scanning side-effects
      5. Using the TV to scan people
      6. Scan Fu
      7. Killing Santa at the beginning in front of a child
      8. Sexy Nurse.

      Insane clusterfuck of a film, hilarious and not listless at all.

  3. Droid says :

    Never seen any of these movies. Might check out the one with Ironside some day, but this sounds like it would bore me to tears.

    • Jarv says :

      The only two worth watching are Ironside and 3- for entirely different reasons.

      Ironside is a legitimately great movie.

      3 is a messy piece of stupid schlock.

      I haven’t seen 5 yet.

  4. Bartleby says :

    wow..this was such a lame series. W

  5. Bartleby says :

    when are you getting back to the House series Jarv? Iseem to recall Scanner Cop being better than the ones that followed it. Is that right?

  6. Spud McSpud says :

    Hey, that lead Scanner cop guy is the Air Force pilot from JOSE CHUNG’S ‘FROM OUTER SPACE’!! He gets taken away by the military just after confessing to Mulder that he knows about the aliens, and in particular, Lord Kinboat!

    Best X-FILES episode EVER. And that, friends, is a fact.

    • Bartleby says :

      ‘I didn’t spend 9 years playing D&D and learn nothing about courage.’

      • Continentalop says :

        Favorite quote from that episode.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        “Your scientific illiteracy makes me shudder!”

        And THAT from Jesse Fucking Ventura!!

        Superb episode. Absolutely great, down to the smallest details. And who hasn’t wanted Scully to grab you by the neck and growl into your face “You tell anyone and you’re a dead man”?? ;D

  7. Continentalop says :

    Someone should combine your last two reviews into two new genre series.

    Scanner Jack.
    Basement Cop.

    Writes itself.

  8. ThereWolf says :

    I’ll give this a go at some point.

    Christ, I had no idea there were that many Hellraisers…

    The middle face bursting out of the bloke’s head – isn’t that Quaato from ‘Total Recall’? “Open your mind…”

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