Altered States

Altered States

Altered States

A sensory deprivation tank and shamanic drugs combine to take a psychology professor (William Hurt) to some unexpected states of consciousness in this mind-bending drama by Ken Russell (Tommy, The Lair of the White Worm).

Edward Jessup (Hurt) hypothesises that hallucinatory perception may be as real as humans’ waking state, a theory that captivates his fellow researchers (Bob Balaban and Charles Haid) as well as his eventual wife Emily (Blair Brown). With his team in awe of his theories, Jessup uses himself as a guinea pig in experiments that test threaten to test the bounds of safety, ethics, and humanity as he experiences drug-induced visions in a flotation tank.

1980Rating: R16103 minsUSA
DramaFantasyHorrorScience FictionThriller
Director:
Ken Russell ('Tommy', 'The Lair of the White Worm', 'The Devils')
Writer:
Paddy Chayefsky
Cast:
William HurtBlair BrownBob BalabanCharles HaidThaao Penghlis

Streaming (2 Providers)

Altered States / Reviews

Variety

Variety

Direction by Ken Russell has energy to spare, with appropriate match-up of his baroque visual style to special effects intensive material.

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Total Film

Total Film

It's by turns pseudo-analytical head-twister and skull-pounding monster romp, including glorious whip-crack dialogue ("I feel like I'm being lampooned by a raging monk in the act of receiving God!").

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The New York Times

The New York Times

Dependably -- even exhilaratingly -- bizarre. Its strangeness, which borders cheerfully on the ridiculous, is its most enjoyable feature.

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Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

A superbly silly movie, a magnificent entertainment, and a clever and brilliant machine for making us feel awe, fear, and humor.

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Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

It's got Russell's trademark eccentricity (read: slight bonkers-ness) all over it, which you may take as a warning or a recommendation.

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