[Quick Summary: A Harvard physician experiments with an isolation tank and a little known drug that regresses him into a primitive state.]
If The Hospital was a crazy script in a good way, Altered States was crazy in a bad way for me.
Dr. Jessup has a deep need to ferret out the science behind altered states of consciousness. [Fair enough.]
He seeks out a Mexican drug that regresses him into an ape, and even into goo. [Ok, I can buy that.]
I could stomach the extreme, far out psychological visions.
I managed the bizarre physical transformations
However, no amount of flash, sparkle, SFX, & violence in the script could make up for the fact that Jessup has little emotional change until the end.
I soon got tired of the spectacle because I felt very far from Jessup.
He does not regret eliminating everything in his life - wife, daughters, friendships.
He is so focused on his experiments that there is less and less story.
As the experiments got wilder and weirder, I cared less and less. Yikes.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: The difference between The Hospital (great) vs. Altered States (so-so) was emotional change vs. less emotional change.
Altered States (1980)
by Paddy Chayefsky