6.9/10
25,804
131 user 83 critic

Altered States (1980)

A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically.

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Writers:

(written for the screen by) (as Sidney Aaron), (novel)
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ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
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Miguel Godreau ...
Primal Man
Dori Brenner ...
Peter Brandon ...
Charles White-Eagle ...
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Megan Jeffers ...
Grace Jessup
Jack Murdock ...
Hector Orteco
...
Obispo (as Frank McCarthy)
Deborah Baltzell ...
Schizophrenic Patient
...
Young Rosenberg
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Storyline

It's the late 1960's. Just for a lark, graduate student Eddie Jessup, known for being unconventional, brilliant and slightly mad, conducts experiments with an isolation chamber, using himself as the subject. His experiences in the chamber cause him to hallucinate, much of the imagery being religious-based despite he not being a religious man. Seven years later, he is a respected full professor in the Harvard Medical School. Believing he has lost his edge and has fallen into an unwanted state of respectability, Eddie decides to resume his work with sensory deprivation, this time using hallucinogens, specifically untested ones used in mystical Mexican rituals, to enhance the experience of being in the isolation tank. After initial tests, he claims he entered an alternate physical and mental state. Although unbelieving of Eddie's claims, his colleagues Arthur Rosenberg and Mason Parrish, as well as Eddie's wife, Emily, who is in her own right a respected academic, are concerned for ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When he heard his cry for help it wasn't human See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

25 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Estados alterados  »

Box Office

Gross:

$25,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (MegaSound encoding)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a 1981 interview with 'The New York Times', actress Blair Brown said many of the actors and crew tried out the isolation tank. William Hurt actually hallucinated, while Brown found it very peaceful. See more »

Goofs

When the Brujo tells Eccheverria that he'll allow Eddie to participate in the ceremony he walks off. Although in only a matter of seconds he's far enough away that they have to run quite a distance to catch up to him to ask him some further questions, this is consistent with other literary and screen depictions of shamans having "spooky" abilities, sure-footedness and being surprisingly limber for their age. Rather than an error in continuity, this seems to be a dramatic device. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Jessup: What dignifies the Yogic practices is that the belief system itself is not truly religious. There is no Buddhist God per se. It is the Self, the individual Mind, that contains immortality and ultimate truth.
Emily Jessup: What the hell is not religious about that? You've simply replaced God with the Original Self.
Eddie Jessup: Yes, but we've localized it. Now I know where the Self is. It's in our own minds. It's a form of human energy. Our atoms are six billion years old. We've got six billion years of memory in our ...
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Connections

Referenced in Bad Movie Beatdown: Darkness Falls (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Light My Fire
(uncredited)
Written by Robby Krieger, Jim Morrison, John Densmore and Ray Manzarek
Performed by The Doors
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User Reviews

 
One of Ken Russell's best films
11 October 1998 | by (Sweden) – See all my reviews

This is one of Ken Russell's best films. He manages to balance plot and wild visuals as never before. The acting is also first rate. I watched it again recently I think it still holds up surprisingly well compared to many modern sci-fi movies. The plot is intriguing, I keep thinking that there might be some truth to the concepts presented, and the fact is that our own brains are still largely unexplored territory. A special mention to the extraordinary music written by John Corigliano, and for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. It dares to be loud and violent, and complements the visuals extremely well. This is a wild, original movie unlike any other.


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