Altered States (1980 film)
"When they heard his cry for help, it wasn't human." A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically.
- Release Date: 1980
- Country/Language: US, English
- Genres/Technical: Science Fiction, Horror, Thriller
- Runtime: 1 hr 42 min
- Starring: William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban
- Director: Ken Russell
- Writer: Paddy Chayefsky (as Sidney Aaron)
- Producer/Production Co: Warner Bros.
- View Trailer: (link)
- TVTropes: (link)
- Wikipedia Page: (link)
- IMDB Page: (link)
- Rated: R (Violence, Profanity, Nudity, Sexual Situations, Adult Content)
A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:
- Ss___ (One and a Half Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian)
The content isn't very Lovecraftian, though the various hallucinations, mostly charged with bizarre, primeval religious and sexual imagery, may strike a vaguely "Lovecraftian" note in some viewers; the hallucinogenic experiences in the isolation chamber apparently allow the main character to regress along his genetic lines, allowing him to transform into an ape-thing and a shapeless protoplasmic mass, a theme that would require little effort to rewrite into a more Lovecraftian adaptation as a Call of Cthulhu RPG scenario.
Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.
- Review by Graeme Clark at The Spinning Image (6/10) (link)
- Review by Roger Ebert at RogerEbertdotcom (3 Stars) (link)
- Review by Mark Hodgson at Black Hole Reviews (link)
- Review by Mitch Lovell at The Video Vacuum (3.5 Stars) (link)
- Review by Richard Scheib (4/5 Stars) (link)
- Review by Richard Winters at Scopophilia Movies of the 60's, 70's, 80's (5/10) (link)
Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
Respected scientist and psychology professor Edward Jessup decides to combine his experiments in sensory deprivation tanks with powerful hallucinogenic drugs, convinced that it may help him unlock different states of consciousness. The experiments are a success at first, but as Jessup continues his work, he begins to experience altered mental and also physical states. As he spends more time in sensory deprivation, his grip on reality begins to slip away.
Comments, Trivia, Dedication
Associated Mythos Elements
- TO DO
- A bizarre experiment (in hallucinogenics, sleep deprivation, hypnotism, isolation, etc.) sparks bizarre religious hallucinations in some of the subjects. Perhaps unknown to the scientists conducting the experiment, one of the subjects is not completely human, in the strictest Lovecraftian sense of the word, and begins to revert into a monstrous form (a savage Ape-Thing, Deep One, Ghoul, Faerie, Serpent Folk...)