Altered States Reviews
The viewer wants this film to be good, but the plot and story are too silly to hold up. The special effects get worse. If Scott would have stuck with the quality of the protagonist's early visions, this film may have become a classic. Worth watching. Check the VHS bin of Wal-Mart for this one.
Gorgeous and freaky visuals are the big selling point here, and I would say that might honestly be enough for the casual viewer, so I say give it a spin and see how much it expands your mind.
I enjoyed seeing him in his prime surrounded by character actors. The movie, hum, it made me think of other shows and movies. I imagine it was groundbreaking then. Now, it seems a bit sentimental. Love conquers all, and all that.
Besides William, I enjoyed most the originality of this movie. It was - and I believe still is - unique.
Watched this on 23/5/16
Despite some excessive religious crap, Altered States is a sound sci-fi film coming from the otherwise silly list of 80s Hollywood sci-fi. The visual techniques in the final demonstration are simply mind blowing. The film is well paced, tensed and the huminoid scenes are far better than what The Fly could offer.
Ken Russell has always been known for movies out of the ordinary with added shock value, nudity and violence. By looking into the unexplored territory of the brain and how you can expand it with drugs and other means to have mental and physical experiences you simply can´t have otherwise is intriguing. I remember when "Altered States" came out, but I didn´t actually see it until last week, which is strange in many ways. The script was written by Paddy Chayefsky, based on his own novel which in return was partially based on the work of neuroscientist and dolphin researcher John Cunningham Lilly, who invented the isolation tank, and first started taking drugs while "tanking". Russell manages to create eerie and frightening vibes/visuals and with a superb William Hurt in the lead (his breakthrough role) the film has solid grounds. Yet, Russell ends up in some drug infused psycho babble that isn´t really coherent nor clear. The primal state of mind and Jessup´s sudden transformations makes you wonder what the hell is going on as Russell fails to deliver something that makes a bit more sense despite the fact that he is moving around in uncharted territories. I admit that there´s something interesting in "Altered States", but there´s too many things that needs more meat on the bones to satisfy me at least. Trivia: The film's box office failure and Ken Russell's onset behaviour, including a row with Paddy Chayefsky led to the director becoming a virtual pariah in Hollywood.