Altered States

Altered States ★★★★½

I can't believe it took me so long to get round to this one. On paper, it should be right up my alley - tripped out, Cronenberg-channeling body horror - and sure enough, it is!

I'm not sure I totally followed everything, but who cares when you have multi-eyed goats, distorted lava women, and visceral, pulsating practical effects. Some of the video sequences from the flotation tank trip outs look a bit dated, obviously, but like 2001's Beyond the Infinite sequence, that just makes it exponentially cooler in a kind of retro psychedelic way.

William Hurt delivers a hell of a performance here, foreshadowing Goldblum's maverick genius Seth Brundle in The Fly. He combines irresistible charm with a passion for his work that crosses over into mania, threatening to destroy his mind and body and tear his marriage apart. This was actually made prior to a lot of Cronenberg's best work, but it mines the same vein of beautiful wrongness.

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