The forgotten: Horror/sci-fi classics you may have missed

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Horror- William Hurt – Altered States – Courtesy of Warner Brothers

4. Altered States (1980)

I read Paddy Chayefsky’s novel, Altered States and loved it. Admittedly though, it isn’t for everyone. The movie starring William Hurt and Blair Brown and directed by Ken Russell is extraordinary.

Hurt plays Eddie Jessup, an academic who is somewhat estranged from his wife (Brown). Thoroughly obsessed with his career, he decides to revisit experiments that he conducted with a sensory deprivation tank while he was a Harvard graduate student.

This time, he ups the ante by taking hallucinogens that he obtained while hanging out with a Mexican tribe in the desert. Since Russell was an artist with images, Hurt’s drug fueled trip is the stuff of legendary nightmares.

However, when he is back on campus, he starts dropping the drugs while in the deprivation tank. What happens to Eddie is terrifying. He finds that he is actually altering his very being. In fact, he is regressing.

One of the most horrific scenes is when he watches his arm start to morph into a pre-historic limb. You can feel Jessup’s inability to control what is happening to him. Now, instead of initiating his transmutations, they start occurring of their own accord.

Can Eddie be saved or is he so far gone that he will just regress into primordial ooze? Trust me, go find this one on DVD or Blu-ray, turn your lights off and lose yourself for 2 hours. You will thank me later.