Altered States ()

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A psycho-physiologist experiments with drugs and a sensory-deprivation tank and has visions he believes are genetic memories.

  • Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations.
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Cast verified as complete

Eddie Jessup
Emily Jessup
Arthur Rosenberg
Mason Parrish
Miguel Godreau ...
Primal Man
Dori Brenner ...
Sylvia Rosenberg
Peter Brandon ...
The Brujo
Margaret Jessup
Megan Jeffers ...
Grace Jessup
Hector Orteco
Obispo (as Frank McCarthy)
Deborah Baltzell ...
Schizophrenic Patient
Young Rosenberg
Endocrinology Fellow
John Walter Davis ...
Medical Technician
Cynthia Burr ...
Parrish's Girl
Susan Bredhoff ...
Eccheverria's Girl
X-Ray Technician
Dr. Wissenschaft
Ora Rubinstein ...
Young Medical Student
Charlie Thomas
Eric Forst ...
Adriana Shaw ...
Dr. Antonini
Martin Fiscoe ...
Graduate Student
Olivia Michelle ...

Directed by

Ken Russell

Written by

Paddy Chayefsky ... (written for the screen by) (as Sidney Aaron)
Paddy Chayefsky ... (novel)

Produced by

Stuart Baird ... associate producer
Howard Gottfried ... producer
Daniel Melnick ... executive producer

Music by

John Corigliano

Cinematography by

Jordan Cronenweth

Film Editing by

Eric Jenkins
Jack Harnish ... (uncredited)

Editorial Department

Cari Coughlin ... apprentice editor
Arthur W. Forney ... assistant editor
Paul Hamill ... post-production assistant: Cinema Research Corp.
Thomas Penick ... assistant editor
William J. Meshover ... second assistant editor (uncredited)

Casting By

Howard Feuer
Jeremy Ritzer

Production Design by

Richard Macdonald ... (as Richard McDonald)

Set Decoration by

Thomas L. Roysden ... (as Thomas Roysden)

Costume Design by

Ruth Myers

Makeup Department

Carl Fullerton ... special makeup assistant
Michael Hancock ... makeup artist
Craig Reardon ... special makeup assistant
Dick Smith ... special makeup
Dione Taylor ... hair stylist (as Dione Taylor-Demsky)
Rick Baker ... special makeup artist (uncredited)

Production Management

David Silver ... unit production manager (as Dave Silver)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Gary Daigler ... assistant director
Peter Schindler ... second assistant director

Art Department

Gary Clark ... head paint foreman
Stan Cockerell ... assistant props
Tony Dyson ... props
Sidney H. Greenwood ... property master (as Syd Greenwood)
Jeff Howard ... assistant art director
Joseph Hurley ... illustrator (as Joe Hurley)
Bill Iiams ... general foreman
Roger Irvin ... construction coordinator
Ronald C. Jacobs ... lead man (as Ron Jacobs)
Stephane Goulet ... property supervisor (uncredited)
William Hams ... construction foreman (uncredited)
Richard M. Kristy ... set dresser (uncredited)

Sound Department

Willie D. Burton ... sound mixer (as Willie Burton)
Michael Colgan ... supervising sound editor
Laurey Condon ... assistant sound editor
Les Fresholtz ... re-recording mixer
Don Higgins ... sound editor
Jerry Jacobson ... adr editor
Stephen Katz ... sound consultant
Marvin E. Lewis ... boom operator (as Marvin Lewis)
Michael Minkler ... re-recording mixer
Arthur Piantadosi ... re-recording mixer
Fred Stafford ... sound editor
Colin Waddy ... sound editor
Jay Wertz ... sound editor
Robert W. Harris ... cableman (uncredited)

Special Effects by

David Domeyer ... special effects
Larry L. Fuentes ... assistant special effects (as Larry Fuentes)
Chuck Gaspar ... special effects
James Kagel ... sculptor
Kevin Pike ... special effects technician
Jeffrey A. Wischnack ... special effects technician
Ted Koerner ... special effects (uncredited)
Woody Omens ... director of photography: special effects (uncredited)

Visual Effects by

Robert Blalack ... special optical effects (as Robbie Blalack)
Bran Ferren ... special visual effects
Louie Schwartzberg ... time lapse photography (as Lou Schwartzberg)
Jamie Shourt ... special optical effects
Max W. Anderson ... visual effects (uncredited)


M. James Arnett ... stunts (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

Garrett Brown ... steadicam operator
James Glennon ... camera operator
Adam Glick ... set lighting technician
Barbara Hanania ... additional assistant camera: Boston
Gary Holt ... gaffer
Johnny E. Jensen ... first assistant camera (as John Jensen)
Carey Jones ... second assistant camera
Sal Martorano ... electrician
Mark Ratering ... camera operator: intern
Morgan Renard ... still photographer
Bob Rose ... key grip (as Bobby Rose)
Chris Strong ... electrician
John Burrell ... electrician (uncredited)
Carl R. Gibson Jr. ... second grip (uncredited)
Larry Lydia ... company grip (uncredited)
Walter Nichols ... best boy (uncredited)
A.J. Robicheau ... electrician (uncredited)
Eric Smith ... electrician (uncredited)
Lynn Troupe ... company grip (uncredited)
Don Whipple ... dolly grip (uncredited)

Casting Department

Stephen Kolzak ... additional casting (as Steve Kolzak)
Joel Thurm ... additional casting

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Darryl M. Athons ... costumer: men (as Darryl Athons)
Shanan Harrell ... costumer: women

Location Management

Paul Pav ... location manager

Music Department

John David Earnest ... orchestrator
Donald Harris ... music editor (as Don Harris)
Pierre Henry ... music excerpt: Voile d'Orphee
Christopher Keene ... conductor
Charles Morrow ... composer: additional music
Sheldon Shkolnik ... assistant to composer
John David Earnest ... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Brian L. McCarty ... music playback (uncredited)
Dan Wallin ... scoring mixer (uncredited)

Script and Continuity Department

Carline Davis-Dyer ... script supervisor (as Cariline Davis-Dyer)

Transportation Department

Gina August ... driver
John M. Woodward ... transportation coordinator (as John Woodward)
Anthony Ardito ... driver: honeywagon (uncredited)
Ed Golab ... driver (uncredited)
Vern Jacobs ... driver (uncredited)
Charles Misere ... transportation captain (uncredited)
Fred Moshier ... driver (uncredited)
Ron Riner ... driver (uncredited)

Additional Crew

Scott Bartlett ... technical advisor
Richard Clark ... technical advisor
Jimsie Eason ... production associate
Richard Greenberg ... title designer
Christina Lear ... assistant to producer
Vivian Russell ... assistant: Mr. Russell (as Vivian Jolly)
David Sadava ... scientific advisor
Alan Shapiro ... production intern
Lee Stitch ... production secretary
Susan Tarr ... research assistant
Bill Iiams ... general foreman (uncredited)
George Leslie ... production auditor (uncredited)
John C. Lilly ... scientific researcher (uncredited)
Craig Miller ... marketing consultant (uncredited)
Philip Sharpe ... effects technician (uncredited)

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot Summary

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 his 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 Eddie's well being. However, if Eddie's claims are indeed true, he could do irreparable harm to himself and others around him, especially if his altered states are uncontrollable. Written by Huggo

Plot Keywords
Taglines When he heard his cry for help it wasn't human See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Au-delà du réel (France)
  • Der Höllentrip (Germany)
  • Un viaje alucinante al fondo de la mente (Spain)
  • アルタード・ステーツ/未知への挑戦 (Japan, Japanese title)
  • Estados alterados (Argentina)
  • See more »
  • 102 min
Official Sites
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Opening Weekend United States $174,650, 28 Dec 1980

Did You Know?

Trivia Ken Russell has alleged in interviews that he was the 27th choice for director, stating that Warner Bros. only hired him after 26 other directors had passed on the project. 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 »
Movie Connections Edited into 365 Days, also Known as a Year (2019). See more »
Soundtracks Voile d'Orphee See more »
Quotes Mason Parrish: [as they examine an X-ray taken of Eddie during a "tank trip"] It looks to me like the architecture is slightly abnormal.
Dr. Wissenschaft: Somewhat? This guy's a fucking gorilla!
See more »

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