i really enjoy ponderings on the idea of mind-altering drugs, hence why i wanted to watch this movie. i've often gone on and on about how i don't like movies with the "reality is subjective" or "someone else is shaping your reality, ha ha surprise" premise, but often i can overlook that particular predilection if themes are present that i enjoy. hence, i mostly enjoyed Altered States. of course, it had huge holes and is totally dated. some questions you ask when you finish watching this film:
1. why did dr. jessup turn into an ape, but you didn't see any "indians" turning into apes?
2. uh, what the hell was that supposed to be at the end when he touched blair brown and she apparently caught his bizarre-o unevolving disease?
i'm reading the original novel by paddy chayefsky now (out of print - i found a copy at second story books), and hoping it answers some of my questions, but thus far it's pretty faithful. chayefsky had his name pulled off the film, so i am thinking the two must diverge pretty significantly at some point. (much of the dialogue i heard in the film was lifted directly from the novel.) also, he's done a good job with describing the isolation tank experience from the point of view of the protagonist, something that probably couldn't be accomplished in the film. (you tell me how you'd film being in an isolation tank...) i can't contrast how the hallucinations are handled in the film vs. the movie, however i can say that i liked the cinematography and the way the images were presented. (actually, on second thought, the voiceover at the beginning with the image of hurt penned up in the initial, upright isolation tank is actually pretty effective. but still.)
the whole turning into the ape thing was a suspension of disbelief i was willing to make. which is a really, really big jump. enormous. however, the scenes where he was running around the streets as ape man were awful and boring and way, way too long, in my opinion. i know they were proud of their makeup effects, as well they should have been. but it went on for. fucking. ever.
note an excellent little essay on the special effects used:
the director, ken russell, you've probably heard of. i've seen Gothic and well, i only remember one thing from that movie, and it's the suit of armor. ow. i'd be interested in seeing Lair of the White Worm and The Devils at some point, to see his other work, but i'm not gonna go TOO far out of my way. unless msteleute and my other usual movie buddies are interested. :) those of you who are nicola tesla fans will be interested to know that he's working on a film about Tesla.
notable: drew barrymore's big screen debut. i knew it when i saw the kid flash across the screen! maybe it's because her face just never seems to change.
also notable: thaao penghlis of days of our lives fame is in it looking all young! no one cares about this but me.