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  • Altered States [DVD] [1980] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Altered States [DVD] [1980] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

34 customer reviews

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305133131
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,998 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By db73 on 4 May 2005
Format: DVD
William Hurt is fantastic in this film as the brilliant scientist (Dr. Eddie Jessup) who is disillusioned with 'normal' life & seeking a greater truth beyond the boundaries of science & religion. The supporting cast are also brilliant. Blair Brown as Jessup's long suffering & concerned wife, Bob Balaban as his friend & colleague, Arthur (a familiar face from films such as close Encounters of the third kind & 2010) & Charles Haid as the highrate a initially highly sceptical (and it his to be said hugely entertaining) Mason Parish.
Often these types of films can come across as cheesy & more comical than frightening. This is more often than not accompanied by poor acting, which doesn't help matters as the actors rarely come across as convincing given the situations they find themselves in. No such problems with Altered States. I think it's a classic example of the genre & demonstrates that as weird & unlikely as a plot might be it can still come across as convincing genuinely eerie if handled right i.e. good acting, good script, compelling story line & maybe some decent special FX. All to often these days the special FX seem to be put before everything else & as such films of this genre lack substance & usually don't amount to much outside of the box office. For me the special FX in this film still stand up & look good. They are of the kind that's become something of a lost art in the world of digital CGI FX overkill! The trip sequences are extremely surreal & somewhat disturbing in parts but there are some great sequences that definitely start to mess with your head! The part where Dr.Jessup regresses into primitive man is very eerie & convincing.
IMO a classic of the genre. They simply don't make them like this anymore. I'd give this film 4 stars overall but I'm stretching to a 5 because it's a personal favourite.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 27 April 2015
Format: Blu-ray
Home video doesn’t do Altered States any favours. In the cinema, particularly from the front row in 70mm with six-track stereo, it’s stunning (so stunning, in fact, that when I saw the film at a preview at the old Warner West End’s biggest screen, Ken Russell was urging everyone there to move back, telling them “You’ll be sorry”). It’s diminished even on the largest of small screens, where it seems less of an all-encompassing trip and more of a Ken Russell film (when you hear a zonked-out William Hurt screaming, “It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen! I’m witnessing the birth agonies of a nun!” you know our Ken’s calling the shots). Much of it is still effective as Hurt’s experiments with sensory deprivation and mind-expanding drugs cause him to revert to earlier evolutionary life forms, but on the small screen it’s the framing sequences and Jekyll and Hyde plot rather than the intense psychedelic imagery that tend to work best – unless, of course, you’ve dropped a few tabs yourself, in which case you probably won’t need it anyway.

Warner’s Blu-ray relelease is a major improvement over the previous DVD, with an excellent transfer that handles the shifts from darkness to overexposed light equally well and a very decent sound mix that can’t quite replicate the original ‘Megasound’ mix that was also used on Wolfen, but handles both the impressive sound effects that at times mesh seamlessly with John Corigliano’s jabbing score as well as the dialogue quite impressively. Sadly the disc comes up short on extras – just the original trailer – which is a shame considering the film’s contentious production history: the film had a false start at Columbia with Arthur Penn directing and John Dyskstra providing the special effects before Warner Bros.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By pleeb on 8 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Altered States [Blu-ray] [1980] [US Import]When I first saw this in the cinema I staggered outside in a state of total bewilderment/bliss. Without doubt Ken Russell's most out there (like pluto) production and coming from the man who brought you The Devils,Tommy and Lair of the White Worm that's really saying something. The story concerns the efforts of an experimental (mostly on himself) scientist to try and link the effects of strong psychotropic drugs to physical regression into a primordial state. Sounds a bit highbrow? Don't worry, this is Ken Russell, so there's lashings of kinky sex, weird religious imagery and some of the best visual interpretations of tripping off your tits you'll ever see. Oh, and William Hurt is fantastic in what was his first major role.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rob KB on 8 Jan. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film first scared me about 12 months before I saw it - there was an article in OMNI magazine featuring a selection of stills, which freaked me out.
It was, therefore, with some trepidation that I approached a chance to see it at the cinema. I have it at home now and it really is so well-made that it still "does it to me" even after all this time. This is largely due to the marvellous score by John Corigliano.
I think that Blair Brown's performance as the hapless wife is hugely underrated. The FX were groundbreaking then and still highly effective now.
My personal scariest moment is the one where one of Jessup's subjects "trips out". Her facial expression and the words of the script conspire to make me uneasy even now.
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