Shot in and around Santa Cruz, Calif., "The Tripper" is a slasher movie produced by the stars of Wes Craven's "Scream" – David Arquette and his wife Courtney Cox. It isn't very subtle about its political leanings: The film's axe-wielding slasher is a guy in a suit, wearing a lifelike Ronald Reagan mask.
The film's opening delivers absurd horror and demonstrates that the movie is not going to take itself seriously – not even pretend to for a second. Things get homicidal sometime in the 1960s when a right-wing logger brings his son to confront protesters that are blocking a tree. The ultra-Republican boy goes nuts and kills the protesters with a chainsaw. Fast forward to the present.
A group of hippies head to the same woods for a miniature Woodstock-style concert. Naturally, murders start happening. We know it's the kid in the first scene all grown up. But what really makes the film shine is when we see the killer in costume – wearing a lifelike Ronald Reagan mask and cracking one-liners like "There you go again." There are references to trickle-down economics and one scene where Ronnie screams out, "Nancy!", after a kill in the woods. It's surreal and it saves "The Tripper" from ever being a forgettable horror film. Especially amusing was a scene where the town policeman finds the killer's Jason-like shelter in the woods, where he's erected a shrine to the Gipper.
Turns out that Governor Ronald Reagan (yes, he was governor of California before he was president) emptied the insane asylums (yes, he actually did do that when he was governor) and the killer who eventually became obsessed with him was set free. The climax of the film is an assault by the axe-wielding Reagan on a rave / drug fest, cracking lines like "It's morning in America."
Hard to say what the Arquettes were smoking when they concocted this movie, but it had to be good. Although this is a must-see slasher movie if you are in your 30s or older – and remember the Reagan era – if you were just a baby in 1984, most of the jokes won't have any meaning to you. In fact, you may not even recognize who the killer is supposed to be. This was probably every hippie's dream horror movie -- but it came out 20 years too late.
Here's hoping they make a sequel with a killer in a Dick Cheney mask.
Glad to see I'm not the only one who noticed Bruce in the Tron treilar. Even my mother, who is also a big B5 fan, didn't notice.I also enjoyed the Common Ground comic. Scientology: A religion made 60 years ago on a bet by a (bad) sci-fi author trying to prove that making your own religion is how you get rich quick. I think he later admitted to it, too. Funny.And the Reagan thing? Yeah, that's one more reason I don't like Republicans. Not too fond of Democrats either. Heck, the two-party system is choking America, and we'll be corporate-run in 10 years if we're not already.Being poor has one perk: Doesn't matter how screwed up the government is, it'll barely affect you, if it affects you at all.