SCANNERS
1981, Janus Films, 102 min, Canada, Dir: David Cronenberg

One of director David Cronenberg’s most popular films, SCANNERS generated a franchise of sequels and, at the time of its release, pushed the envelope in special effects (who can ever erase the image of "the exploding head"?). Homeless Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) discovers that his terrifying "scanner" abilities to read and manipulate others’ minds stems from a drug called Ephemerol that his mother took before he was born. Shanghaied by Dr. Paul Ruth (Patrick McGoohan), one of the drug’s inventors bent on creating a "good" scanner army, Cameron learns that a rival terrorist organization led by his evil scanner brother, Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside), is aiming at world domination. "Classic Cronenberg" – Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner


DEAD RINGERS
1988, Morgan Creek, 115 min, Canada/USA, Dir: David Cronenberg

Jeremy Irons turns in a stupendous pair of performances as twin gynecologists sinking in a swirling miasma of fraternal sexual jealousy, prescription drugs and junk food in one of director David Cronenberg’s most twisted and sharply executed psychological thrillers. Astoundingly enough, this daring picture is based on a true story. Winner of LAFCA Awards for Best Director and Actress (Genevieve Bujold).


NIGHT TIDE
1961, AGFA, 84 min, USA, Dir: Curtis Harrington

Director Curtis Harrington’s debut indie feature is a masterpiece, a haunted, poetic hymn to the dark world of the fly-by-night carnival, lonely midways at dawn and the siren call of eons-old passion spawned by the devils of the deep blue sea. In a fond nod to Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur’s CAT PEOPLE, at-loose-ends sailor Johnny Drake (Dennis Hopper) falls in love with sideshow mermaid Mora (Linda Lawson), who may just somehow be related to the real thing. Shot in and around Santa Monica and Venice Beach in the beat culture’s heyday, the film continues to exert a strong spell, and is brimming with the heady atmosphere of bygone coffeehouses, poet hipsters, languid jazz and bongos on the shore. With Luana Anders, Gavin Muir. "Captures an intangible quality of what Santa Monica was like in the early ’60s. Quite apart from Los Angeles, it was a quiet residential community. The funfair pier has just the right air of seedy despair about it. Everyone seems to be living just off the mainstream." - Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant.


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