21 Amazing Psychedelic Horror Films

Altered States (1980)

Ken Russel's "Altered States" (1980) is based in part on the real-life LSD isolation tank experiments of John C. Lilly. While Lilly sought astral communication with dolphin kind, the fictional Dr. Edward Jessup (William Hurt) seeks to understand the link between altered states of consciousness and physical reality. So he takes psychoactive mushrooms, climbs into an isolation tank and experiences wild, cinematic hallucinations full of explosions and a seven-eyed goat-Christ. Most notably, however, Jessup also experiences physical changes, first into a caveman and finally into some manner of glowing primordial goo-man.

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.