Scanner Cop (1994) poster

Scanner Cop (1994)


USA/Germany. 1994.


Director/Story/Producer – Pierre David, Screenplay – John Bryant & George Saunders, Photography – Jacques Haitkin, Music – Louis Febre, Mechanical Effects – Steve Patino’s S.P.F.X. Ltd (Supervisor – Steve Patino), Makeup/Creature Effects – Mechanical Media Industries Inc (Supervisor – John Carl Buechler), Production Design – Deborah Raymond & Dorian Vernacchio. Production Company – Image Organization/Starlight-Film Medienhandel Gmbh.


Daniel Quinn (Officer Samuel Staziak), Richard Grove (Commander Pete Harrigan), Darlanne Fluegel (Dr Joan Alden), Richard Lynch (Dr Karl Glock), Hilary Shepard (Zena), Mark Rolston (Lieutenant Harry Brown)


A scanner goes crazy and has to be shot. Afterwards, police officer Pete Harrigan finds that the scanner has left a young son and duly adopts him. Fifteen years later and Harrigan is now the commander of the LAPD and the now grown child, Samuel Staziak, enters the force as a rookie, keeping his scanner powers a secret from his co-workers. The city then faces Dr Karl Glock, a crazed former psychiatrist and cult leader who is exacting revenge by brainwashing people into killing police. When his partner is killed by one of the brainwashed, Samuel must reveal his scanner powers in order to stop the menace.

This was the third of the Scanners sequels and is perhaps not as dire as some of the other entries in the series – although such a recommendation should not prevent it from being perceived as the thoroughly routine and unmemorable effort that it is. (See below for the other films in the series).

On a purely technical level, Scanner Cop is a competently made B movie. On the other hand, in all creative ways, it is utterly pedestrian. It is a hack plot that never bothers to think about how brainwashing or even police departments work in the real world. It should at least be complemented over the other sequels for having only one requisite head-exploding effect. The nearest it has to an original idea is a silly scene where Daniel Quinn scans a police identikit computer.

Lead Daniel Quinn, who looks remarkably like a young Brad Dourif, is not a particularly good actor but does have a certain intensity that suits the part well. Brion James is billed on the credits but appears for all of about one minute. John Buechler’s makeup effects are typically cheap – there is one extremely silly effect with miniature heads popping out of a scanner’s face near the start.

Dr Karl Glock (Richard lynch) and Samuel Staziak (Daniel Quinn) in Scanner Cop (1994)
(l to r) Dr Karl Glock (Richard lynch) and the scanner cop Samuel Staziak (Daniel Quinn)

Scanner Cop marked the directorial debut of Canadian producer Pierre David, who heads the Image Organization production company and produced all the sequels as well as the Cronenberg original. From about this point on, Pierre David became better known as producer of a host of psycho-thrillers that included the likes of The Paperboy (1994), The Secretary (1995), Daddy’s Girl (1996), The Dentist (1996), Man of Her Dreams (1997), The Nurse (1997), The Perfect Tenant (1999), Someone is Watching (1999), Alone with a Stranger (2000), Blind Obsession (2001) and The Perfect Nanny (2000), among many others.

The other Scanners films are:– Scanners (1981), Scanners II: The New Order (1991), Scanners III: The Takeover/Scanner Force (1992) and Scanner Cop II: Volkin’s Revenge/Scanners: The Showdown (1995), the latter containing a return of Daniel Quinn’s scanner cop.

Trailer here

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