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Altered States [Blu-ray]

 R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
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Altered States [Blu-ray] + In the Mouth of Madness (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
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Product Description


The main problem with this 1980 science fiction drama is that it is oh-so derivative. However, it is classier than your average Wolf Man rip-off, as Ken Russell directed it and the screenplay it is based on the 1978 novel by Paddy Chayefsky. However, Chayefsky so disliked the finished version of the film, with its preposterous ending, that he asked to have his name removed, with the credit for the screenplay attributed to his pseudonym, Sidney Aaron.

William Hurt, in his screen debut, plays the mad scientist who develops a kind of think tank that regresses him to a primal state. In other words, he enters a meek scientist, but emerges a hairy ape. The film's pacing is part of the problem, as it talks us to death in the beginning, than lapses into more typical fare, disregarding the intellectual aspects of the original material. This film marks the screen debut of Drew Barrymore. --Rochelle O'Gorman

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow June 28 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This originally was one of those "Wow, it's on sale so why not?" deals but I was so surprised to take this home and marvel at the effects and the surprisingly complex plotlines.
I was just speechless afterwards.
Not only did it combine elements of romanticism while also appealing to horror and sci-fi movie fans but the fast pace and the characters are just so out of the ordinary that you can't help but become entranced by them. Just when you think you have the movie figured out, it spins you in the complete opposite direction and then takes you to places you never thought existed.
An especially memorable scene is one of the hallucination scenes in which everyone just turns to sand. Remarkable. I would highly recomend this movie to anyone even slightly interested in things such as philosophy, religion or even just interested in watching a good movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first experience with drugs and movies... Dec 28 2003
Okay I know I am going to get a little more than my fair share of wacking for this but I want to relate my experience of watching this film while smoking a bit of pot the first time and then doing some mushrooms for the second. I have to say the mushrooms where a bit much but this is one of the best movies to watch if you like to vaporize on a bit of pot because this movie is all about ethogens and how mankind has developed through a synthesis of using drugs as part of its cultural evolution. This film is all about the opposite of that as William Hurt plays a doctor researching psychic connections with his own mind's past and he believes that ethogens will help him devolve into a primordial state of awareness in conjunction with using an isolation tank!
I highly recommend this movie, bar the last 10 minutes which is just your typical Hollywood control ending to help keep the masses happy, but if you want to see a film that THINKS and has it fair share of trippy moments then this will bend your mind for all that it is worth. If you like cultural films, ethogens and directors that can create some remarkable imagery then this is well worth watching. For the doubters who think that drugs+films have nothing to do with movies then I will only point you in the direction of Kubrick and Clarke with their production of 2001 and the ending that was designed for the 60s trippers and what do you get? Probably one of the best sci-fi movies ever made and an instant classic! So put that in your pipe and smoke it! (wink)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining visual extravaganza... April 19 2004
By A Customer
... with a rather interesting, engaging plot and a liberal dash of mysticism. I have to wonder about some of the other reviewers who've commented on this film... they seem to me to be about at the level of the ape-creature halfway through the film. That's not even touching on the great unwashed masses who are unable to comprehend a film like this on *any* level, let alone those people with an ability to write an amazon review (or perhaps spell correctly -- and those who cannot crawl forth from underneath the proverbial rock). At what evolutionary level are they? Whether we ever find out or not, this classic film will continue to engage and entertain those have dared questioned the meaning of existence, asked themselves "who am I?" or pondered anything deeper than a McChicken sandwich or beer & a football game.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing albeit silly at times June 27 2004
My mother recommended this film to me and I found it was definitely worth watching at least once. The premise is that a brillant scientist desires to transcend our human limitations and conducts experiements using himself as the subject in isolation chambers. He visits a Spanish speaking tribe who offer him a potent drink that has halluncinatory side effects and it is extremely freaky to see the healthy, tan tribe members turn to ghost white ash when the scientist glances at them under the influence of the drink. The visual assault certainly is stunning and I thoroughly enjoyed explosions of fire, religious scenes, crazy images a wild imagination would reel out. I found it diffuclt to sympathize with the scientist because his desire to pursue his experiments overrides his commitmment to traditional values such as family. He does manage to change into a fierce, primitive creature that reminded me of a cross between a rabid wolf and a prehistoric caveman. The change lasts a short while before he reverts to his human form, however, his skin tends to shudder and undulate helplessly after his first regression and he watches in interest. It's a good movie to see at least once because it explores a realm not dealt with often and the often outright silliness of the film downplays any terror one might be consumed by otherwise.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Think twice before you eat magic mushrooms... Dec 5 2003
This is not for everyone; it's also one of those movies that you'll probably either love or hate (don't rely on reviews -- just watch). Its biggest fault is that a wild crescendo gives way to a less-than-dazzling finale. I was hoping for less of the typical Hollywood Happy Ending, since Altered States covers ground that most other films don't dare walk a mile near.
The psychedelic theme of the film is amusing, especially for those of us who have had some experience in that realm. While William Hurt's hallucinations are sometimes over the top, the imagery is nonetheless disturbing (almost frightening) at times. I don't know if the anthropologically diverse mishmash of the Mexican scene was intentional (or if they just thought nobody would notice), but at least it made for parts of the soundtrack being intriguing, such as the use of a European remix of a Tibetan Buddhist Evening Ritual (which probably would never be otherwise heard by most of us).
When I played this film for a friend, she really hated William Hurt's cocky, selfish character; regardless of which ones you like or dislike, you can rest assured that they are well portrayed by an outstanding cast. One of the fun things about this flick is that it all of a sudden becomes a sci-fi film somewhere in the middle -- with a truly original plot. Sure, it's a little bit silly, and it's too far out to really be believable, but so what? Even if sci-fi is not your thing, most film enthusiasts will enjoy this one if for no other reason than its thought-provoking script.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting journey
i found this sci-fi fantasy/horror film to be interesting.it has all the earmarks of a David Cronenberg film,but it isn't a Cronenberg film. Read more
Published on March 15 2010 by falcon
3.0 out of 5 stars A most bizarre, strange film, but somehow worth watching...
Altered States is an extremely bizarre movie that should ideally be watched in an altered state. Strange religious and evolutionist imagery, cut scenes that set the standard for... Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2009 by E. Lalonde
5.0 out of 5 stars Altered states!!!
I guess you will either love this movie or hate it. For me i loved it, trippy scenes, and rad story line.
Published on May 20 2006 by Anthony Bucci
1.0 out of 5 stars Dont Believe The Hype!!!!
I'd happily soak up endless gallons of SWAK with my tongue, rather than watch this festering pile of crappola ever again!!!
Published on July 6 2004 by JASON HRICAK
3.0 out of 5 stars Alterations
The sci-fi film Altered States, is on the one hand, a landmark for the genre, while at the same time, it's not quite a classic either... Read more
Published on June 18 2004 by T. Lobascio
2.0 out of 5 stars Something you should know about Altered States
by most reviews on here, i bought this DVD thinking it was some movie about the psychedelic trip of an experimental scientist and all the good fun he had with going back in time. Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by [inactive user]
2.0 out of 5 stars Deplorable Main Character Gives Nobody to Root For
The main protagonist of this movie (Hurt) is so extremely selfish that it is impossible to root for him; thus, at the end, in the semi-famous climax scene which inspired nothing... Read more
Published on March 27 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Put down the camera, Mr. Russell....
...and no one will get hurt.
How anyone gives Ken Russell the money to make a film is beyond me. I guess stranger things do happen in the world of film beyond Hollywood. Read more
Published on Dec 14 2003 by halda
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