The Tripper (2006)

Ugh, I’m just not sure where to start with David Arquette’s The Tripper except to say, well, yeah, it’s a David Arquette film. Somehow under some distant sun I felt that was not a deal breaker. Maybe I was swayed by the cast list: Balthazar Getty has that David Lynch connection, so that’s cool right? Lukas Haas has a weird face and was in Lady in White so like, those are promising things, yeah? My nose crinkled a bit at Jason Mewes, but having just watched the entirety of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil and loving everything about it, including Mewes, I thought maybe he offered potential. The deal was sealed probably though with the inclusion of Paul Reubens. I mean, it’s Paul Reubens, I feel like I should watch it on principle just because he’s in it.

Kids do the darndest things.

Kids do the darndest things.

Anyway, for some reason writers Arquette and Joe Harris thought it would be a great idea to make a film about a serial killer obsessed with… Ronald Reagan. Maybe because in 2006 we were in the thick of the Dubya presidency, they thought it would be like, smart or meaningful to remind us all that Ronnie happened or something? Huh.

Paul Reubens plays the patriotic capitalist greedy music guy!

Paul Reubens plays the patriotic capitalist greedy music guy!

So the movie starts off, oh, I don’t know, sometime in the 1970’s in rural Northern California. There’s an honest Scotsman who just wants to chop down enough redwoods to buy medicine for his dying wife, but those god damned tree-hugging hippies have a different plan! They’ll stop at nothing to save the trees, even if it means this guy’s wife dying, or maybe even sacrificing their own lives? Well, maybe they didn’t actually want to die for the trees, but one of them did anyway – at the hands of the Honest Scotsman’s son who gets his hand on a chainsaw and kills the shit out of that loudmouth hippie.

Jason Mewes finds his muse among the marijuana plants.

Jason Mewes finds his muse among the marijuana plants.

Fast forward to 2006, where money-grabbing concert promoter Frank Baker (Reubens) is throwing a music festival among the very same redwoods. Real, live, modern-day hippies show up to be naked and do drugs and shit like that. Ok, ok wait, real, live, modern-day hippies don’t really exist anymore. No, the folks at this gathering are just a bunch of kids interested in getting high, and the local law enforcement is none-too pleased to have to deal with this sort of riff-raff. Despite this, the mayor insists Officer Buzz and company play nice with Baker and the kids. After all, buttloads of money could be made if everything is handled right. The only problem is there seems to be someone out to get all the hippies! Efforts to turn the stinking hordes away from the site of several gruesome murders is futile, and the hippie blood flows.

Killer Ronnie

Killer Ronnie

The Tripper is little more than standard slasher fare, except perhaps slightly more confusing than most. Not that the plot is confusing, because it’s not; it’s pretty predictable in fact. I just can’t figure out its targets. Like, why hippies and Ronald Reagan? It’s like they decided to make a movie about irrelevant shit, while sort of trying to tie it to present-day woes, I guess? Maybe they just thought the idea of a conservative maniac wreaking havoc at a music festival was funny fodder for a horror movie?  Spoiler alert: it’s not. Or rather, perhaps it could be, but it isn’t here. The bottom line is, don’t let the cast list fool you. You can skip this movie and I promise you, you won’t be missing anything at all.


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