Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Altered States [Blu-ray]


(Ken Russell, 1980)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Warner Bros. Pictures

Video: Warner



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:42:44.324 

Disc Size: 20,779,915,363 bytes

Feature Size: 20,594,067,456 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.59 Mbps

Chapters: 31

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 10th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4037 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4037 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



Trailer (2:15 in 480i)





Description: In this 1980 sci-fi horror film, William Hurt plays Eddie Jessup, a scientist obsessed with discovering mankind's true role in the universe. To this end, he submits himself to a series of mind-expanding experiments. By enclosing himself in a sensory-deprivation chamber and taking hallucinogenic drugs, Jessup hopes to explore different levels of human consciousness, but instead is devolved into an apelike monster. Director Ken Russell helmed Altered States from a script by Paddy Chayefsky, who adapted his own novel of the same name. Unhappy with the finished product, Chayefsky had his name replaced with his pseudonym Sydney Aaron.



The Film:

Harvard professor Eddie Jessup (William Hurt) experiments with a peyote-like drug and an isolation tank. Interestingly, everyone who takes the drug experiences the same vision. Jessup theorises that this vision might be part of our collective unconscious, a sort of species memory. Intrigued by this prospect he continues his experiments, but pushes things too far, physically regressing into an ape-man and running amok.

Altered States is the sort of movie that a short plot synopsis cannot really hope to do justice to. No simple description could ever manage to convey the sheer visual assault of the film. It's a movie that has to be seen, experienced.

Excerpt from the Keith Brown of Edinburgh U Film Society located HERE

The movie itself has many of the qualities of its chief character, who is obsessive, exciting, scary, wildly energetic, and a very odd bird indeed. Actually his leanings are more to the ape-like than the birdlike, and to call them leanings is to put it very mildly. This is a movie with a hero who looks down, while taking a shower, to discover that he has grown hairy feet with thumbs on them. That's not the last of it, either.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Altered States seems to really benefit from Warner's Blu-ray transfer. The image is crisp, clean, depth is apparent and the multiple effects look more supportive and less 'goofy in 1080P.  Contrast is strong and there is no noise on the many darker sequences.  This is only single-layered but handles the colors well and provides an excellent presentation. This Blu-ray has a consistent appearance and it advances beyond the last DVD editions in several key areas - notably detail and contrast.

















Audio :

Audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master surround at 4037 kbps. This robust transfer handles the multiple effect sounds and John Corigliano's supportive score without issue. I can only suspect that this is a strong representation of the original. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Nothing but a trailer which is a shame because I think there are thing about Altered States worth discussing.



Altered States is a highly interesting film - especially on the visual-front. Russell adds his own inventive touch to the effects... and it works very well. The bare-bones Blu-ray is a good one and we can easily recommend at the reasonable price offered at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

June 23rd, 2012


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






Hit Counter












DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!