Starring Jaime King, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Lukas Haas
Written By: David Arquette, Joe Harris
Directed By: David Arquette
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Buy on Amazon.com link
Have you ever watched one of those horror movies that amuses you, but you’re not quite sure if the humor is intentional? That’s exactly how I felt watching The Tripper. After finishing, I looked up some info on the internets and discovered that it was, indeed, intended to be a comedic horror film. I wasn’t sure because, on the one hand, it seemed to take itself pretty seriously both in the random horrible murder department and the random political message department. But on the other hand, is there anything more inherently funny than a stoner getting his hand chopped off by an ax-wielding nutcase in a Ronald Regan mask?
Okay, so the movie starts off with a kind of Halloween-esque prologue (the original Halloween, not the remake) of a seemingly normal kid randomly going bonkers and killing some dude with a chainsaw. Then it jumps ahead, again like Halloween, to when the kid is a grown-up murderous madman. Only this murderous madman likes to hang out in the forests of California wearing a Regan mask and killing hippies. Go figure.
I think the film was trying to get some political messages across, but it got kind of muddled and all I really got out of it was “Drugs are bad. So are budget cuts to mental institutions.” But maybe it’s just one of those “let’s make fun of everyone and everything” movies? I don’t know, it was kind of hard to tell. And there are some things about this movie that really annoyed me, at least stylistically, particularly the amateurish direction. And by amateurish, I mean there’s a lot of overly-fancy tricks and camera movements that me and my friends thought were totally impressive when we used them in movies we made back in high school. The Tripper is, incidentally, the directorial debut of actor (and “Scream” co-star) David Arquette, who also plays a random redneck jerk.
It’s not a bad movie, but not great either. Most of the characters and actors are really bland and uninteresting, but there are a few standouts, notably Thomas Jane as the exasperated sheriff and a nearly unrecognizable Paul Reubens as a sleazy concert promoter. There are some cheesy psychedelic drug scenes which are presumably parodies of 60s drug movies, but they’re more annoying than anything. The movie does have some gore but not the absolutely repulsive extended loving close-ups of human entrails that are so inexplicably popular these days. So there are good elements and bad elements. All in all, I’d say it’s definitely worthy of a rental if you’re looking for a bizarre slasher movie, but I don’t know if I’d recommend dropping twenty bucks on it.
Making Of featurettes
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
1.85:1 widescreen (color)
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: Pretty much all the scenes with Paul Reubens, actually. He was pretty awesome in this.
Running Time: 97 minutes