It’s difficult for me to reflect on filmmaker Ken Russell’s career without recounting my own personal relationship to his work. When I was a junior in college, an uncensored 35mm print of his mad and magnificent The Devils (1971) was screened on my university campus. The film is unavailable in the US in its original widescreen, X-rated form in any home video format, so that experience for me remains one of the singular theatrical viewings of my life. Since then, I’ve been hooked on his work. Perhaps more than any director, I’ve felt a habitual need to share Russell’s work with friends. Sometimes they reject his challenging and decidedly non-subtle, often hyperkinetic visions, but it’s always rewarding when I show one of his films to somebody who confirms that I’m not crazy – that there is a brilliant method underlying the batshit madness of the work helmed by this eccentric British director. I recently hosted a Halloween screening of his enduringly fascinating 1980 sci-fi film Altered States (1980) genuinely afraid that the audience would respond negatively to the film’s abject body transformation narrative and overall tonal strangeness, but the end credits were met with a warm round of applause. Russell was certainly one of the most bizarre directors that Britain has ever housed, but he was hardly only that.