5 psychedelic films to see for a cinematic ''bad trip''

A journey into cinema with a psychedelic flavor for a strange film trip

There is a type of cinema that tells about drug experiences, and there is cinema enjoyed as an amazing experience. So there are real psychedelic films that allow the viewer to enjoy a real "bad trip" while watching the work or entire sequences within it. Let's discover those 5 psychedelic films that absolutely deserve a look to experience a hallucinating and perhaps particularly bizarre vision to share with friends.

1. Altered States (1980)

Image Credit: Warner Bros

Professor of psychophysiology in search of extrasensory experiences, carrying out studies on the primordiality of man and religion, he takes hallucinogenic substances that cause biological and genetic mutations, inside a cryogenic capsule. Inspired by the novel of the same name by Paddy Chayefski who disowned Ken Russell's film, it is a sort of revision of the myth of Jekyll and Hyde, with some (sketched) religious echoes and a love story thrown in the middle. With a massive use of analog and computerized special effects, it is an interesting and evocative film for its staging, rather than for its writing and its evolution, with a somewhat questionable epilogue, but with flashes of great visionaryness ( the scene of Christ on the cross with the goat's head is memorable) which makes it among the first great legacies of psychedelic cinema.

2. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

One of the great cult films on the theme of the lysergic effect, this late 90s film directed by the brilliant Terry Gilliam, a former member of Monty Python, is a comical and grotesque road movie that offers several moments worthy of a bad trip. Exuberant and delirious, baroque and funny (more than anything amused), it is an ironic and hallucinatory film, whose central focus revolves around drugs and its backdrop is post-Vietnam America, in which the bizarre (and over-the-top) performances of the two protagonists (Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro) and the virtuosic photography help to support the "game", always on the edge between the caricatural sketch and a "crazy" cartoon in the flesh, whose narrative substance wanders a bit empty, in favor of an always "excited" visual trip.

3. Paprika (2007)

Image Credit: Madhouse

Paprika is a detective who, thanks to the means provided to her by the association to which she belongs, investigates dreams. A new case sees her involved with a group of people "prisoners of remote-controlled dreams". An Anime based on a fairly complex manga in terms of narrative material, a little ambitious, decidedly enchanting, at times overwhelming, and all in all fun, although some pieces may not be easily put into place.

And it is precisely in this difficult to decipherable aspect, with explosions of great bizarreness and kaleidoscopic colors that Paprika absolutely belongs to the register of psychedelic films not to be missed. A psychedelic and somewhat carnival science fiction which in its subject seems similar to that of Nightmare Detective by Shinya Tsukamoto and in some ways draws its reminiscences from the cyber anime Ghost in the Shell, but which is best known for having most likely inspired the script of Inception by Christopher Nolan.

4. A Field in England (2013)

Image Credit: Picturehouse Entertainment

England, around 1600, in a vast and boundless wheat field, men led by an alchemist who has captured them must look for a treasure. The excellent Ben Wheatley (director of the excellent Kill List and Killer in Journey) stages, in a gaudy and twilight black and white, a film based on a theatrical play (and you can see it from the narrative structure) with good stylistic care and a lot of desire to amaze (and above all confuse), playing "pranks" on the protagonists and the spectator, dilating the times, intensifying the sounds, making some moments hallucinating and also creating a stroboscopic sequence (not recommended for epileptics) to simulate the effect of hallucinogenic mushrooms assumed by the characters.

Achieving the effect of a truly visionary "bad trip".

5. Climax (2018)

Image Credit: Wild Bunch

A party turns into a game of slaughter, due to a mysterious substance in the sangria.

The film by the provocative Gaspar Noé hinges on a plot to build a really bad trip to the rhythm of electro-disco music and dizzying camera movements and stroboscopic lights. Rightfully included in those psychedelic films that manage to be enveloping and disturbing.