Altered States

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Altered States ★★★ 1980 (R)

Obsessed with the task of discovering the inner man, Hurt's ambitious researcher ignores his family while consuming hallucinogenic drugs and floating in an immersion tank. He gets too deep inside, slipping way back through the evolutionary order and becoming a menace in the process. Confusing script based upon Chayefsky's (alias Sidney Aaron) confusing novel is supported by great special effects and the usual self-indulgent and provocative Russell direction. Chayefsky eventually washed his hands of the project after artistic differences with the producers. Others who departed from the film include initial director William Penn and special effects genius John Dykstra (relieved ably by Bran Ferren). Hurt's a solemn hoot in his first starring role. 103m/C VHS, DVD . William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban, Charles Haid, Dori Brenner, Drew Barrymore, Miguel Godreau, Thaao Penghlis, Peter Brandon, Charles White Eagle, Meghan Jeffers, Jack Murdock, John Larroquette; D: Ken Russell; W: Paddy Chayefsky, Sidney Aaron; C: Jordan Cronenweth; M: John Corigliano.