The Tripper (2006)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
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Overall Rating 54%
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Ranked #4,093
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Connections: After Dark Horrorfest

A Ronald Reagan-obsessed serial killer targets a bunch of hippies who are heading to a weekend-long concert. --IMDb
David Arquette
David Arquette
Richmond Arquette
Richmond Arquette
Courteney Cox
Courteney Cox
China Crawford
China Crawford
Paz de la Huerta
Paz de la Huerta
Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 26, 2007
It's official -- the last film associated with the After Dark Horrorfest 2006 has made its way to DVD. "The Tripper" showed in select cities around the country as part of the event. It did so well there that 20th Century Fox picked it up and gave it a very slight limited release. Now, it finally comes to DVD for the rest of the world to see. And, if you want my honest opinion -- I don't understand what all the fuss was about. "The Tripper" is not a bad film, and it's actually quite entertaining, but it is not nearly as intelligent and creative as it should have been. I watched the film and thought about all the missed opportunities and all the gold that could have been mined from the idea.

The premise is simple -- "The Tripper" is a slasher film about a group of young people who are headed to the Free Love Festival, a music festival akin to Woodstock that is all about sex, drugs and rock and roll -- in that order. The bad news for the horny druggies is that there is a killer on the loose, who dresses like Ronald Reagan and is hell bent on bringing his conservative ax into their liberal abdomens. The group of young'uns consists of Jaime King, Lukas Haas, Jason Mewes, Marsha Thomas, Stephen Heath and Paz de la Huerta. The concert is being run by the seedy and profane Frank Baker (Paul Reubens) and secured by the town sheriff, Buzz Hall (Thomas Jane). The meat of the film deals with the various ways President Reagan dispatches these hippie bastards. As the sheriff tries to track him down and as Baker tries to count his money, the body count rises to staggering levels.

This is such a neat premise. The whole idea of a killer hating and targeting hippies is hysterical, and director David Arquette plays that up quite a bit -- just not as much as I think he should have. I was also disappointed with how little we see of Ronald Reagan. Maybe it's the fact that Reagan probably wasn't the best choice for a President to mock in this way. Nixon would have given them far better fodder for jokes and inside references. One of the best scenes comes when Balthazar Getty is about to bite it. The only thing he can say -- "But I'm a Republican!" But, some of the death scenes are just pedestrian and the blood effects are very low budget and don't look realistic at all. Some of the blood even looks orange. But the original score, littered with excerpts from "Hail to the Chief", is brilliant and really adds to the ridiculous nature of the plot line. And the best cameo in the film comes from a very blonde Courteney Cox-Arquette as an animal lover who just doesn't know when to shut the hell up.

Like I said, the idea was there and the film worked -- just not as well as it could have. By the end of the film, I was so tired of hearing -- "Hey, let's do acid" and "Hey, let's smoke some pot" and "Hey, let's have sex". It was funny the first few times, but got very tired. I also thought Thomas Jane was too over-the-top and staged for a lot of what he was doing and it didn't work. Paul Reubens was hysterical because he was just being himself and very goofy and not taking anything seriously. In contrast, Jamie King and Lukas Haas took the material far more seriously than it should have been taken -- this was supposed to be more comedy than horror. I loved the opening scene and the closing scene very much -- I just wish the innards had been more solid.

With all of that out there, I do recommend "The Tripper". It's very creative and entertaining and Arquette has some definitely strong ideas when it comes to camera work and technical specifications. He is less apt with the story progression and character development. Of course, this is a goofy comedy/horror film, so I guess I really shouldn't expect perfection. And I didn't -- I just expected more creativity with an idea this good. "The Tripper" works well, but not as well as it could. For that reason, I couldn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. "But what does he want? Who is he after?" ------------------ "Hippies." 7/10.
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 10/27/2007, 12:19 AM
If this wasn't $34.99 I would have grabbed it. Hopefully it comes down in price so I can pick it up soon, I've always wanted to see this one.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 10/27/2007, 11:33 AM
Wasn't Captivity a part of the After Dark Horrorfest? If so, that would make it the last of the releases.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 10/27/2007, 10:53 PM
I'm pretty positive "Captivity" was not. It was just produced by After Dark Films.
Tristan #4: Tristan - added 10/27/2007, 11:04 PM
grain of sand #5: grain of sand - added 10/30/2007, 03:59 AM
loved this one, I was into the gore.. cheesy and cool... drug depictions were fun.. my favorite of the AD series, but that's not saying much
Christopher #6: Christopher - added 11/01/2007, 08:32 AM
I was very disappointed in this film. The trailer looked promising from all the murders that took place, even though they cut away before you saw anything. But I figured it was to save everything for the movie itself. Boy, was I wrong. Every time someone got killed, there would be a little bloodshed before the cut scene. Or the person dying would be a silhouette. The two attacks with the chainsaw at the very beginning and the very end were very sweet. I can't understand why they didn't make the entire film like that. It turned out to be your every day average horror film. Had they set out to make an average horror film, my view on everything would have been completely different. But the whole movie was focused on the gore aspect, the gore that was not there. Kids running away from the masked murderer. Not to mention the big suspense behind unmasking him. It was like watching an R rated Scooby Doo epiosde. Arquette needs to stick to sucking in someone else's films, not making his own.
Chad #7: Chad - added 11/11/2007, 07:04 PM
I didn't even realize that was Pee-wee until I read this, but he was definitely great. Yeah, pretty much agreed with this review, so 7/10.
Tristan #8: Tristan - added 02/07/2009, 01:20 PM
This movie was great up until the last 10 minutes or so. I felt it kind of ran out of steam. Other than that, it was a lot of fun.

missbexxie #9: missbexxie - added 09/05/2009, 02:08 PM
I enjoyed this one a lot, purely in an "it's a slasher film that're pretty well done, and it's quite a decent way to waste an hour or two" kind of way. It's a bit cheesy, and very cliched, but pretty entertaining nonetheless.

As for Captivity, yep, different thing from the horrorfest (but also worth watching).
Lucid Dreams #10: Lucid Dreams - added 06/15/2010, 02:08 PM
Pretty good movie and I knew it was Pee-wee myself, but no one believed me until after the credits. I think the only reason why I knew it was him was becaues he looked like the same character he did in Blow. 7/10
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