6.9/10
27,819
136 user 86 critic

Altered States (1980)

Trailer
2:03 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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

Director:

Writers:

(written for the screen by) (as Sidney Aaron), (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
2,458 ( 1,888)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Eddie Jessup
... Emily Jessup
... Arthur Rosenberg
... Mason Parrish
... Eccheverria
Miguel Godreau ... Primal Man
Dori Brenner ... Sylvia Rosenberg
Peter Brandon ... Hobart
Charles White-Eagle ... The Brujo
... Margaret Jessup
Megan Jeffers ... Grace Jessup
Jack Murdock ... Hector Orteco
... Obispo (as Frank McCarthy)
Deborah Baltzell ... Schizophrenic Patient
... Young Rosenberg
Edit

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:

In the basement of a university medical school Dr . Jessup floats naked in total darkness. The most terrifying experiment in the history of science is out of control... and the subject is himself See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

25 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Estados alterados  »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$174,650, 28 December 1980, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$19,853,892
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (MegaSound encoding)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Author Paddy Chayefsky disowned this movie. Even though the dialogue in the screenplay was almost verbatim from his novel he reportedly objected to the general tone of the film and the shouting of his precious words by the actors, this conflicting with Ken Russell's typical style of wanting heightened performances. Paddy Chayefsky had not seen the film before he took his name off the credits, the script being credited to "Sidney Aaron", a pseudonym for Chayefsky, the two names being Chayefsky's real first and middle names. Director Ken Russell and Chayefsky fought constantly during production, Russell maintaining that almost nothing was changed from Chayefsky's script and stating that he was "impossible to please." See more »

Goofs

While Arthur takes Eddie's blood and Mason is yelling at him, the position of the bloody rag used to wipe Eddie's face clean as well as the EEG wiring changes positions between shots. See more »

Quotes

Emily Jessup: [crying] He doesn't love me. He never loved me. I was never real to him. Nothing in the human experience is real to him.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Roll Call: Looking Back on Hill Street Blues (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Voile d'Orphee
by Pierre Henry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Surreal and intelligent sci-fi.
26 May 2008 | by See all my reviews

This is William Hurt's debut, and there's much to praise about it. Firstly, outstanding performance. The kind that lasts an impression and is thought of every time "William Hurt" is pronounced out loud. The film, in a nutshell could be summed up as a man's obsessive quest for the "truth". Truth about life, and the universe, why we're here, who created us? These are the core questions Ken Russel - more fairly, the original author Paddy Chayefsky - asks. All of that, is assisted by insane hallucinatory and downright horrifying visual sequences and music, which when combined, literally gave me goosebumps when I saw it all on screen. They take you on a surreal 'trip' and are a way for the viewer to experience what Hurt's character undergoes when he is in the isolation chamber. On another note, the pacing is a little slow in the first act, but sudden outbursts of surreal visual sequences get you back up in form.

If you're a thinker, this one's for you.


11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 136 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed