The Most Horrifying Science Fiction Film Of The 1980s Is Being Remade

HBO is developing a series based on David Cronenberg's Scanners.

By Vic Medina | Published

Horror fans appreciate the genre films of director David Cronenberg with the same reverence as John Carpenter and Stephen King films, and one of his most disturbing movies of the 1980s is getting a TV reboot. According to a report by Deadline, a series based on David Cronenberg’s 1981 film Scanners is being developed by HBO. The sci-fi/horror flick, which explored a world where telepathy is used as a weapon (and featured a famous exploding head), was a breakthrough film for Cronenberg, and established him as a visionary director who earned the nicknames “The King of Venereal Horror” and “The Baron of Blood.”

Thankfully, David Cronenberg himself will be involved in the Scanners reboot, serving as an executive producer. William Bridges, who won a Primetime Emmy for writing an episode of Black Mirror and also wrote an episode of Stranger Things, will write the series and serve as showrunner. Yann Demange, who directed an episode of HBO’s Lovecraft Country, as well as the critically acclaimed Matthew McConaughey film White Boy Rick, will direct the series.

According to a press release, the new series will be set in the “mind-bending world” of the David Cronenberg film, but it is not clear if it is a sequel series or it merely shares the same premise as Scanners. In this new iteration, two women living on the fringe of modern society attempt to being down a supposed “scanners” conspiracy to control the world, as they are pursed by agents who have “scanner” powers of their own. No one has yet been cast in the series, and a start of production or release date has not been announced.

The original film, which was also written by David Cronenberg, spawned two Scanners sequels as well as spinoffs, which he was not a part of. The story followed the battle between two “scanners,” Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) and Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack). Revok is a telepathic “guerilla fighter” out to destroy a corporation called ConSec, which hopes to weaponize scanners, while Cameron is sent by Consec to stop him.

david cronenberg scanners
Michael Ironside in Scanners (1981)

The series marks the first time David Cronenberg’s Scanners will be successfully rebooted or remade with his involvement. Saw director Darren Lynn Bousman unsuccessfully tried to remake Scanners for Bob Weinstein and Dimension Films in 2007, but it fell apart after Bousman could not get Cronenberg’s blessing to make it. A 2017 reboot attempt by Media Res and production company Bron also fell through.

David Cronenberg has gone on to make some of the most compelling horror films and psychological thrillers in recent years after the success of Scanners, which gained a huge following after its release on VHS home video in the 1980s, as well as cable TV airings. His others films include The Fly with Jeff Goldblum, The Dead Zone, Videodrome, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, eXistenZ, A History of Violence, and Eastern Promises. His most recent film, Crimes of the Future (a remake of his first film), opened earlier this year to critical acclaim, despite complaints of the film’s disturbing and graphic content, which involved people who use surgery to deform their bodies.