When Scream veteran David Arquette steps into the directorial chair to make a horror movie, you might be forgiven for expecting more of the same. But you would be wrong.
The opening sequence has news footage of nameless war dead, inhumanely thrown together like so much butcher meat. A voice-over says how there is nothing glamorous about war. The image is uncomfortably mirrored later in scenes of carnage and mass-murder. No shortage of gore, but it is the political overtones that make the movie stand out and also invite forgiveness for the appreciably low budget.
The story follows a bunch of hippies having a love festival in the woods, much to the annoyance of local hicks. They are stalked by a psychopath in a realistic Ronald Reagan mask who starts chopping them up. Of those that are left, most are too stoned on ecstasy and LSD ('trippers' - geddit?) to want to believe anything very terrible is happening or that they could do anything about it anyway. The suggestion is obvious: you are living in happy oblivion while your political leaders wreak havoc in the world. Vietnam is neatly linked to Iraq, and 'Reagan' has a pig named George W that seems to be fed on severed limbs. This is no gentle analogy - it is served up with a sledgehammer (or rather an axe in most cases). Ill-gotten gains fly in the air as a body is cut in half with a chainsaw. "No daughter of mine is going to be hooked on drugs," says the killer tenderly, advancing with murderous intent. Better off dead, obviously.
The humour is sparse enough to lend only light relief. With the lifelike Reagan towering over him, axe in hand, one victim pleads, "But I'm a Republican!" The killer dog Nancy is particularly nasty.
And there's another layer . . . When Ronald Reagan was governor of California, he famously released a record number of mental health patients back into the community to save costs. (In case you didn't know this before seeing the film, you will before the end.) Arquette says he was inspired to make the film by growing up in Los Angeles during the Reagan years. Overtly political, B-movie blood-and-gore effects that are nevertheless stomach-churning, lots of nudity and some nice cinematography that mimics the drug experience, The Tripper even has pictures of all the politicians it hates in the credits.
The Tripper may be for horror fans only, but it is an unpretentiously daring attempt to launch a broadside at a morally righteous right-wing establishment that is ankle deep in dead bodies of political making.
Reviewed by claudio_carvalho4 / 10
Bad Trip & Ax Reagan
In the 80's, after seeing his father and lumberjack foreman being hit by a protester against the deforesting and arrested by the police, the boy Gus kills the protester with a chainsaw. In the present days, Samantha (Jamie King), who is traumatized after being abused by her former boyfriend Jimmy (Balthazar Getty), travels with her pothead friends in a van to the American Free Love Festival, a rock-and-roll concert in the woods. Near the location, they are assaulted by three local hillbillies, but they succeed to arrive in the festival. Meanwhile, Mayor Hal Burton (Rick Overton) and Deputy Buzz Hall (Thomas Jane) try to give a minimum of organization to the event. However, a deranged psychopath serial-killer wearing a mask of Ronald Reagan uses an ax to kill the pacific stoned hippies.
The slasher "The Tripper" is a great disappointment. David Arquette certainly had the intention of making a cult-movie and was supported by a good cast (probably his friends) including a cameo appearance of his wife and a great cinematography and lightening, but unfortunately the story never works. Jason Mewes is comfortable performing his traditional role of pothead; the sexy Jaime King has a good performance in the role of Samantha but the good actor Thomas Jane is displaced in his silly role. Further, the political anti-war jokes and speeches of the Republicans and Ronald Reagan are boring. In a cheap manipulation, the Brazilian DVD highlights the name of Courtney Cox-Arquette in the movie, misleading her fans. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Perseguição Assassina" ("Assassin Pursue")
Reviewed by slake094 / 10
It's a short trip without Silent Bob
This hippie slasher movie from director David Arquette is a mildly amusing satire on other slasher movies that does nothing new with the genre but is entirely watchable. You can watch it, even enjoy it, but there's nothing different from the last satire of slasher movies you saw.
Production values are high, this isn't some cheaply done indie movie, there are actual actors/actresses pretending to be stoned hippies, and the camera work is up to par. It's not particularly funny, though, and the only amusement worth mentioning comes from Jason Mewes, busily playing his Jay character without the benefit of Silent Bob. He could have used the backup in this one.
There is some brief nudity and a lot of swearing and drug usage, but it's not shocking or even particularly interesting. It fits into the story line, so it's not gratuitous. There are some gratuitous gross out moments involving gore and fecal matter, but they are the kind you would expect in this genre.
Every character is a stereotype of one kind or another, from the fascist small town sheriff to the greedy concert promoter. No one steps out of their stereotype, the dialog is competent but not terribly exciting, and the villain himself is only distinct from other slashers because he wears a Reagan mask.
This isn't one to go out and look for, but if it's all that's left at the movie rental place on the tail end of a Saturday night, with a bunch of friends in your living room - you can watch it without being sorry. You probably should break into your stash first, just to be on the safe side.