In 1981, the world was introduced to one of the more memorable scenes in film history, when Michael Ironside made a man’s head explode. In fantastically gory fashion, the character of Darryl Revok used his psychic powers to obliterate a dude’s skull and prove that director David Cronenberg has no peer in terms of body horror. That scene was a part of the movie “Scanners.” While there have been a number of sequels since, (none of which had Cronenberg’s involvement) none of them were worth watching. Now though, a series is in development with talent attached to it which may prove to live up to the legacy of the original.
One of Cronenberg’s most memorable and popular films is his remake of “The Fly” (1986). The 1958 original was successful and well-regarded, but Cronenberg ratcheted up the body horror, the Jeff Goldblum, and the special effects. So he’s fully capable of producing a strong remake, which is why it’s a good sign that he’s attached to this upcoming “Scanners” series. HBO Max has picked up the project for a yet to be determined airdate. While not a straight up remake of the film, this series is set within that film’s world and features two women who are fleeing a group of powerful agents. The Hollywood Reporter describes the operatives as “relentless agents with unimaginable powers.” Are they Scanners? Maybe. Or perhaps the women are the scanners, trying to avoid capture.
Also attached to the project is writer William Bridges. Bridges is mostly known for having written for “Black Mirror” and “Stranger Things.” Additionally, he created the AMC series “Soulmates” that aired in 2020. He’ll also serve as showrunner for the series. Directing is Yann Demange. Demange previously worked as a director and executive producer for the criminally short-lived, “Lovecraft Country.” In short, it adds up to a pretty strong pedigree of horror writing and directing that bodes well for this “Scanners” adaptation.
While details are still scarce about how far along the project is and when to expect it, the announcement marks a strong comeback year for Cronenberg. Earlier this year the director released his first film in 8 years, “Crimes of the Future” starring Viggo Mortenson, Lea Seydoux, and Kristen Stewart. As with most Cronenberg projects, it’s another body horror film that was generally well-received.
The world of “Scanners” certainly had potential to be explored further. None of the sequels managed to do this very well at all. Here’s hoping that with Cronenberg’s involvement and the talents of Bridges and Demange, this HBO Max series will be so good it will make your head explode. Seriously though, if no one’s head explodes in this thing, what’s the point? Head will roll if they don’t explode!