A modern slasher with a heavy dose of political commentary, "The Tripper" was the brainchild of actor / co-writer / director David Arquette (whom you probably know best as the dopey Deputy Dewey from the "Scream" franchise). It's got plenty of gore, and a fair amount of sex, but it's noteworthy more for its satirical approach, as it skewers the entire hippie generation and conservative Americas' response to it.The plot is nothing special. You have an air headed gaggle of kids - played by, among others, Lukas Haas and Jaime King - heading for the woods to attend a "Woodstock" type rock festival organized by Frank Baker (Paul Reubens). Everybody's good time is ruined by the appearance of a savage psychopath who clearly admires Ronald Reagan, and who even keeps a pack of nasty dogs, the worst one being named Nancy.Arquette does have some cutting things to say about his targets; he refers to the fact that a bunch of mental inmates had once been unleashed upon the world due to budgetary cutbacks engineered by Reagan. Overall, one would have to say that his commentary is heavy handed, but it does make this grind house-style horror picture a cut above a lot of other current genre fare.Moodily shot by Bobby Bukowski, "The Tripper" is not totally without humour, but plays itself straight a good deal of the time. Since so many of the characters are not really fleshed out, you don't much care for them and will likely cheer when they meet their demise.Some of the cast give it 100%. It's fun to watch "Pee-wee Herman" actor Reubens drop tons of F bombs and play a generally sleazy moron. Thomas Jane is also pretty amusing as a local yokel cop. Other familiar faces include Jason "Jay" Mewes, Rick Overton, and Balthazar Getty. Arquettes' brother Richmond plays the police officer Cooper; his then-wife Courtney Cox produced the film with him and has a cameo as an animal-loving hippie.Definitely worth at least one look for genre fans.Seven out of 10.
The Tripper is set in Northern California where six doped up tree loving hippie friends make their way to the Free Love Festival in the middle of some woods just outside a small town. There they intend to dance, smoke some weed, make love & generally have some fun. However their plans are slightly thrown out of kilter when a Ronald Reagan mask wearing psycho killer turns up & starts killing all the hippies & guests. Personally I would give the guy a medal but you can't just go around killing people no matter how annoying they are so local cop's & surviving hippies team up to put an end to the Ronald Reagan killer once & for all...Co-written, co-produced, directed by & starring David Arquette I am yet again amazed by all the positive comments this piece of crap film has, where has people's taste in films gone where they can rave about a piece of turgid crap such as The Tripper which offers zero entertainment value as far as I am concerned? I keep reading & hearing about how clever The Tripper is, how relevant it is, the fact that it's a knowing satire of American culture & has something socially relevant to say & get across. Did I just see the same film? Where is all this social commentary & satire then? There's a conversation between the hippies talking about George W. Bush but the most intelligent thing said is that he 'has Texan sized balls' which just about sums up how clever & thoughtful The Tripper is. There seems to be a quick anti war message thing going on at the start but then is completely forgotten about as none of it's ideas or themes are carried through with an conviction. Even the hippies are shown as stereotypical tree huggers who are always stoned, boring & it's been done to death plenty of times before. There is nothing thought provoking, clever or relevant in The Tripper & I found it one long bore. So the social commentary sucks & doesn't work what about the horror & slasher content? Well that sucks too, the pace is mind numbingly slow, the kills are tame & few & far between, the killers motives are again meant to be clever but they don't work & I don't really see why he dresses up as Ronald Reagan, maybe it's an American thing & being British I don't get it but I got it enough to know it sucks. So as a horror film it sucks, as a comedy it's not funny in the slightest & as a film that tries to be meaningful it fails completely on all fronts. One to avoid I think.I must admit that The Tripper does seem to have a budget & it actually has good production values but the film still sucks balls though. The gore levels are disappointing, there's an off screen decapitation, there are a few dead bodies seen, someones hand is chopped off (to which the stoned one handed kid says 'what's your f%^&ing problem?), the killer stabs a couple of people, he uses an axe at the end to kill hippies in a rather bloodless way, someone is sliced in half with a chainsaw & a guy is seen with a chainsaw stuck in his neck but it's all pretty tame actually. There's no build-up to any of the kills, there's no tension & while the woods provides a decent yet clichéd location there's not too much of an atmosphere either. I am really struggling to find one single positive thing to say about The Tripper, I just thought it was moronic & unfunny rubbish of the highest order that doesn't satisfy on any level whether your looking for horror or comedy or satire.To give The Tripper some credit it does look quite nice with above average production values but as I said the film is still terrible. Apparently shot in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California. I found the entire cast grated on my nerves, David Arquette's wife Courtney Cox appears although I didn't recognise her.The Tripper is a truly terrible film that I hated, I keep seeing & reading about how good this is but I just didn't see it at all & I really do wonder if I saw the same film. Absolute total & utter crap from start to finish & that's my opinion.
Roland E. Zwick
In "The Tripper," a slasher movie with a political conscience, a serial killer wearing a Ronald Reagan mask stalks a group of anachronistic hippies (so anachronistic they have cell phones along with their tie dye t-shirts and psychedelic van) who have come to the forests of Northern California to celebrate free love and partake in unlimited drug use at a Woodstock-type outdoor event.The Red State/Blue State divide is never far from the filmmakers' minds as a bunch of gun-toting rednecks go up against a group of Flower Power love children who suddenly descend on the area. The saving grace, if indeed there is one, of this gory, but not particularly disturbing, splatter-fest is the tongue-in-cheek humor it manages to display from time to time. Otherwise, this odd little mixture of horror movie clichés and outdated political satire (does anybody really care about the Reagan administration any more?) falls strangely flat.
That so many prominent actors would collude to produce this piece of crap saddens me. Sophomoric would be an aspiration for this film but The Tripper can't reach that bar. The crudity of the political impetus to this film is not just simplistic, it's severely retarded. To draw characters of such stunted stereotypicality is an insult to any prospective viewer. There isn't one role that isn't appallingly encumbered by the nature of their shallowness of type. The sheriff (Jane), while chasing the killer's father, comes across the lair of the psychopath , papered with newsclippings about Reagan, and is scared when the (venal, crooked and meddling) roughed up mayor steps out of the shadows blubbering. This causes the sheriff to not only lose his hat but drop on the floor the shotgun that had been his main weapon while in pursuit. Does he stoop to pick it up? No, and of course as soon as the sheriff helps the mayor out of the shack, the shotgun becomes an immediate need when dogs attack the mayor. Does the sheriff take out handgun on his hip to take care of the dogs? No, he runs like a scared rabbit. Courtney Cox, Paul Reubens, Jaime King, David Arquette, Thomas Jane, Lukas Haas and Balthezar Getty-- you'd think acouple of them would have called for a rewrite to the crapulous script,but again, no. What a terrible waste of money (because the production values are of a professional caliber). Better that the celluloid wasted on this film had been used to make guitar picks.