Ken is a nutjob, and when he was “on,” he was very good. When he’s bad, he’s pretty damn awful.
The Devils – Based on the Aldous Huxley novel. This one’s pretty famously controversial (from Ken Russell? Weird). Be warned, there is no re-mastered DVD of this one yet. The current version looks like ass. Start sending letters into Criterion.
Altered States – This is my favorite Ken Russell film (his best in my opinion). This was William Hurt’s debut, and what a debut it is. It’s based on the first and only novel by Paddy Chayefsky. Paddy did not like the deviations from his script so he had his name removed. I’ve read the novel, and the film is very faithful. Paddy was never able to come to grips with the fact that cinema and theater are different. In theater, the writer is king. In cinema, the writer is usually down there with the caterer (just kidding. sorry caterers). The Photography was by Jordan Cronenweth, who did this, then Cutter’s Way and then Blade Runner. Pretty friggin’ awesome.
The Lair of the White Worm – This one is tongue and cheek. It introduced us to Hugh Grant and the Scotsman who was Malkovich’s lackey in Dangerous Liasons. Has some hallucination scenes reminiscent of Altered States. Then there’s Amanda Donohoe who’s pretty smokin’ and not afraid to get nekkid (hubba hubba).