Directed by David Arquette
Released by Fox Home Entertainment
The long wait for this to finally come home sure isn’t for lack of trying on director David Arquette’s part; between his constant connection to the fans to keep us updated about The Tripper, his city-to-city tour and the fact that he was personally running the film’s MySpace page, updating us every step of the way down the film’s long, hard road to distribution, it’s really amazing it took so long for this to finally get out to the masses.
Why? While it’s not a crowning achievement in horror, it’s not a bad little horror/comedy flick at all and with all the shit out there that’s not worth even watching once, why did this have such a struggle?
The story follows a group of “professional drug takers” as they head out to the Redwood forests in Northern California for a music festival, aka an excuse to party all weekend and recklessly take as many drugs as possible. What they don’t know is that a local Ronald Regan-obsessed serial killer has also chosen this festival to go on his long-awaited killing spree, bringing his axe along to take down all those filthy, smelly hippies once and for all.
Yeah, the concept is a bit out there, but Arquette does a good job of actually making it make as much sense as it can in the context of the film, giving the right amount of backstory to the character and enough history on Regan and his viewpoints (for those who didn’t grow up in the 8 years he was in office) to give it some contextual significance.
It’s hard to tell if The Tripper is actually making a political statement or not, that is until you listen to the commentary in which Arquette mentions many time what his motivations were in making the film. Don’t worry; it’s more fun than it is anything else so you’re not going to be beaten over the head with long-winded statements about how wrong the government is or anything like that. You will, however, get some good gore and more comedy than political subtext.
Enough about the movie, though; you can read my original Tripper review here for more about that. Let’s move on to the disc…
David and Richmond Arquette, Thomas Jane and Paul Reubens all sit down with one another for the commentary track, which is slow at first but picks up as the film gets moving. What struck me most odd about it is how quiet Jane is for the most part, almost sounding like he wished he were elsewhere, as well as just how much thought David put into almost every single scene in the symbolism and conveying some sort of message, though most of it’s so subtle you won’t notice it until he points it out.
There’s a surprisingly short “Making of The Tripper” featurette that, while it doesn’t stink of EPK like so many other ridiculously abbreviated making-ofs do, still feels like a lot is missing from it. It’s entertaining for the sole reason that everyone who made the movie is entertaining, and it sure won’t take up a lot of your time.
Shorter than that, though, is “The Making of Ronald Regan”, which clocks in at just over a minute and consists of actor/makeup artist C.A. Nelson discussing how long it take to be the man behind the axe. Following that you have “The Missing Finger Incident”, which details the day that an actual human finger was found on the set. Then you get to see Paul Reubens covered in (fake) shit in “A Shitty Situation”. Neither of these last two are over five minutes.
The twelve-minute “The Tripper Presidential Tour Campaign” gets the longest featurette award and a special mention because it features our own Uncle Creepy introducing Arquette at Fear Fest (though they called it Fright Fest, of course). That’s the screen grab you see here. Just the back of Arquette, but Creepy’s in full effect! The featurette itself shows Arquette’s countrywide tour to promote the movie, from the most empty of venues to sold out theaters.
Following that is a selection of deleted scenes, a few of which reveal a subplot featuring Jason Mewes actually living to the end sans a hand (too bad they got rid of it) and some other drug bits that they had to cut, according to Arquette. Finally there are a genuinely funny blooper reel and some trailers to round out the disc. Not too shabby!
The Tripper isn’t a masterpiece, but it is a lot of fun and a good throwback to slasher films with a healthy dash of tongue in cheek and a political message to give it a unique feel. Though the DVD isn’t stacked, the features are pleasingly well rounded, and you can tell Arquette and crew had a hand in making them just right.
The Making of The Tripper
The Making of Ronald Regan
The Missing Finger Incident
A Shitty Situation
The Tripper Presidential Campaign Tour & Photo Gallery
Goodtimes Blooper Reel
4 out of 5
4 out of 5