Easily brushed off as unscientific mumbo jumbo, the intellectual explorations are pretty cool and offer quite the philosophical treat. There's plenty of other things to be doubtful about though, such as the extremity of reversion, first with the ape on the loose, and later at the end with that kind of pure energy shape. Meanwhile, the romance becomes cheesier, yet with some meaning somewhere too. Mixed feelings.
I mean...it's very Ken-Russell-does-sci-fi. At times it's so existential that it's nearly untouchable, and at others so overly dramatic that it's laughable. Overall it's decent for its genre; there was legitimate tension and a few scenes that made me jump or squirm. Also WOW William Hurt is so hot lol.
Great topics and uniqueness that combines scientifically driven screenplay with neuroticism and body horror make this an oddball of sci-fi/horror genre. Although it's intriguing piece to explore, it's too frantic at times. And the final result boils down to nonsensical conclusion that leaves the viewer betrayed - as if the entire story was just a tool for cheap resolve that goes against the characters and themes.
Ken Russell's notoriety should be secondary to his talent. 'Altered States' is a provocative vision of the dangers of scientific genius - in a world where advancement takes precedent and the negligence of risk is a vital variable in the single-minded ambition of an innovator.
Ken Russell climaxes all over the mainstream psychological thriller with insane, inspired, hallucinatory, manic, schizophrenic, visual fireworks! Russell and Chayefsky get up to all kinds of original sin and monkey man shenanigans. The movie is so beyond the pale of good taste or refined aesthetics that it becomes a kind of pretentiously compelling, intellectual, orgiastic trip. Russell is a visually ravenous madman!