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The Definitive ‘What the F**k?’ Movies: 10-1

23 September 2014 8:26 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

10. Altered States (1980)

Directed by: Ken Russell

Is it a horror film? Many of Ken Russell’s films could be argued as such, but there’s enough in Altered States that makes it less horror and more science fiction/psychological thriller. Based on the novel by Paddy Chayefsky, Altered States introduced the world to William Hurt (and also featured the film debut of Drew Barrymore). Edward Jessup (Hurt) is studying schizophrenia, but branches out into sensory deprivation experimentation with a floating tank. Eventually, he travels to Mexico to visit a tribe that provides him with an extract which he begins to take before his trips into the flotation tank, resulting in bizarre imagery and eventual physical devolution, once to a primitive man and to a near primordial blob. Side effects start to occur, causing Edward to suffer from episodes of partial regression even without the hallucinogenic drug. Russell’s direction shifts »

- Joshua Gaul

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