|release date||October 30 2007|
|writer||Joe Harris, David Arquette|
|starring||David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Jamie King, Thomas Jane, Lukas Haas, Jason Mewes, Balthazar Getty, Paul Reubens|
|trailer 1||Trailer #1|
Thanks to David Arquette and the good folks over at myspace, I was able to catch an advance screening of ‘THE TRIPPER’. This film, Arquettes’ directorial debut, definitely did not disappoint the capacity crowd that showed up. This gathering was all about sex, drugs, and a killer in a Reagan mask.
David Arquette was in attendance along with Thomas Jane and Lukas Haas. The Limos arrive, and the fanfare begins. It is at this point that I notice Dave’s hairdo. He is sporting a wicked fade, right out of the Fresh Prince days. Only his fade has THE TRIPPER carved into the back of his head. Shameless promotion? Or stamp of self-congratulatory? Either way the fans noticed, and people were talking about it. The crowd makes it’s way into the theatre and sees that the auditorium is one of those brew & view establishments, with a full bar and restaurant menu. Many of the folks waiting outside were quite vocal about their level of intoxication and now they can continue the festivities while never leaving the film. As the cast and crew stated during their brief introduction “this is the perfect place to see THE TRIPPER”. I’m not gonna lie, although it is certainly not necessary, a little intoxication does add to the enjoyment of this movie.
The film begins. It is one of those protests from decades ago, where a group of hippies has chained themselves to a bunch of trees. The foreman shows up with his young son, and starts arguing with the hippies. Things get a little heated and the foreman gets arrested for losing his cool. Then, the boy lunges out of nowhere and issues some much deserved chainsaw death. If you have ever seen the movie PIECES, you know exactly the type of opening I am talking about. It happens quickly, but sets the tone for the rest of the film.
Now we are at the present, joining a group of 20-something miscreants for a weekend jamfest full of drugs and debauchery. In the van we have Lukas Haas and Jason Mewes who really add a lot of humor to the film. They are also joined by a few other friends, some more straight-laced than the others. They are basically harmless; they just enjoy the drug scene a bit too much. In fact their repertoire is stacked with enough shit to keep that festival alive for weeks. My friend, who also attended the film, used to be into the hippie scene and said that he wished they could have partied like that, but most of the people at these concerts are “fuckin’ broke”. I try to never confuse the art with the artist, but could this a glimpse of how an actor would “get down” at a jamfest? You be the judge, it just made me a little curious.
So things get underway, and one by one hippies start meeting their demise, and some rather unpleasant endings they are. The perpetrator behind the killings is of course dressed from head to toe as Ronald Reagan. And what a terrific impression of The Gipper it is. Complete with Jelly beans at the crime scene, and quotes from the Reagan era.
Paul Reubens is the festival organizer, and has some very funny moments on screen as well. He is a sleazy business type under the guise of an ex-hippie. He really doesn’t care what happens as long as he gets paid. Now we are introduced to the small town cop named Buzz Hall, kinda close to sounding like Buzzkill isn’t it? This is expertly played by Thomas Jane. His performance as Buzz Hall really stole the show in my opinion, and he also added an immense level of humor to the film as well. His bad-ass small town cop persona is spot on.
In fact, this film has a lot of comedy elements, some will say too much. I found it to be on par with a film like SLITHER, only a little more tongue-in-cheek at times. It walks a fine line between the two genres, but never fully commits itself to one side. It is pretty original in that respect. However, it does stick closely to the rules of the slasher film. The formula has been in place since before the FRIDAY THE 13th days, and THE TRIPPER makes no attempt to change it up. This is not a complaint, formulas work for a reason. The originality comes from the blending humor into the slasher sub-genre.
THE TRIPPER has a lot to offer, but it is not for everyone. The trend of comedy/horror films is certainly nothing new, but this does offer a fresh take on things. This film has a great deal of political humor, but it also has geeky stoner jokes as well. On the same token it also offers some brutal violence. Although not as gory as I would have liked, there is plenty of red stuff throughout then film. People that have serious objections to genre blending will see a lot of issues with THE TRIPPER. I personally had a great time. I laughed my ass off, and cheered with everyone else in the theatre. Plus, how often do you get to see Ronald Reagan hacking up hippies?