Directed by Ken Russell • 1980 • United States
Starring William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban
With its totally unrestrained, mind-bending use of special effects, Ken Russell’s visionary first foray into Hollywood filmmaking is one of the most intense, exhilarating stylistic achievements of the 1980s. Using a sensory deprivation tank, psychophysiologist Edward Jessup (William Hurt) conducts experiments involving human consciousness—using himself as the subject. His research intensifies when hallucinogenic compounds make him regress to primitive stages of human evolution, where he transforms into an ape-like monster that stalks the city. As Jessup’s dangerous quest carries him back to the origins of life, only the strong-willed love of his devoted anthropologist wife (Blair Brown) can save him.