A Chat with David Arquette, ‘The Tripper’ a Gipper gripper

“The Tripper” is a satirical slasher film, similar in feel to John Gulager’s “Feast”, and was released on April 20, 2007.  The film is directed, produced, written by and stars David Arquette.

Arquette’s wife, Courteney Cox-Arquette, is also a producer and actor in the film.  The premiere was held in the Del Mar theater in Santa Cruz – the predominate location of the picture.

M&C got an opportunity today to sit down and chat with David about his clever little rip on Saint Ronnie and the genre’s excessive gore; his film is about drug-loving, modern day hippies who tool up the mountain to a capitalistic and bastardized version of Woodstock featuring a cracking cast of supporting players.

“I met Paul on Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” said Arquette, speaking of his ethically challenged concert promoter Frank, played by Paul Reubens.  Paul’s “Frank” and the always spot-on actor Rick Overton’s “Hal” together both steal the show with their scenes.
“Waylon too, he was so cool to do this, he’s a fantastic actor,” added Arquette about Dean, played by Waylon Payne, who electrified audiences in James Mangold’s “Walk the Line” as Jerry Lee Lewis.

“All of them are friends of mine, I had written the parts for them, and Johanna Ray came through and got Jason Mewes and Jaime King to round out the cast,” shared Arquette.

David is surrounded by strong creative female energy, the youngest in a family filled with great actors, and he took note of it. “I’m blessed, yeah, I am getting a chance to work with Patricia again on ‘Medium’ to direct an episode, and it’s really cool being able to produce and act simultaneously, I enjoy doing it all.”

“Just being able to work together is really great,” finished Arquette, as his daughter Coco was laughing nearby.

“The Tripper” is a play on the nickname of Ronald Reagan, “The Gipper,” and that was the kernel of inspiration that blew out Arquette’s tale of teens facing a psycho killer in the mountain.  The premise is an axe-wielding serial killer on the loose, who has an obsession with Ronald Reagan and hates hippies, just like the ol’ Gipper did.

“I went to this outdoor festival in Humboldt County, and I was sitting there when it was getting dark, and I was surrounded by these way tall redwood trees and I just thought it would be really crazy if a killer came out of the woods and started hacking up all these hippies. You know, peace love and happiness versus violence, the juxtaposition of it,” said Arquette. “Back in 2001 I saw this creepy mask of Reagan, and just listening to some of his personal political philosophies, on the lumber industry, hippies in general..it came together.”

Arquette picked an interesting cinematographer to help him bring the visual story alive and screaming, Bobby Bukowski, also a friend, shared an interesting perspective on film making.

“Bobby was friends with Patricia ever since “Ethan Frome”, I knew Bobby for quite a while. He’s a vegan, and just a really interesting person and he loves to shoot outdoors, in the forest,” shared Arquette.

“You know, the specific jobs of the crew, like the first AD’s job, it is just such a tough job. They’re in charge of everybody and everything. You really learn how important and how intensive each job is.

Bobby, the DP, they’ve got an amazingly difficult job. Just the crew, they work so hard, it gives you an idea. They convey your ideas through film. I’m just learning more and more as I direct.”

The makeup effects were also very campy and gore-ific, thanks to the wunderkinds at KNB Effects.

“Howard Berger helped me on a couple of things,” said Arquette.  “He gave me a list of mandatory films to watch before I made ‘The Tripper.’

I was told to watch some Dario Argento films, ‘The Last House on the Left,’ and weird ones like ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ I met Howard back on ‘Riding the Bullet,’ added Arquette.  

Arquette is busy these days.  I asked what he was working on currently.    “I have a little part in a movie called “Hamlet 2″ – it’s with Steve Coogan and Catherine Keener. I’m totally keeping my options open, I love directing and I love acting still.”
“The Tripper” is currently available on DVD from Fox Home Entertainment.


David Arquette as Muff
Courteney Cox Arquette as Cynthia
Richmond Arquette as Deputy Cooper
Paz de la Huerta as Jade
Ben Gardiner as Wilson
Balthazar Getty as Jimmy
Lukas Haas as Ivan
Josh Hammond as Tyler
Stephen Heath as Jack
Brad Hunt as Hank
Thomas Jane as Buzz Hall
Jaime King as Samantha
Bert Kinyon as Bert (Lumberjack Foreman)
Noah Maschan as Young Gus
Jason Mewes as Joey
Christopher Allen Nelson as Gus
Rick Overton as Mayor Hal Burton
Waylon Payne as Dean
Paul Reubens as Frank Baker
Michael X. Sommers as Trooper Neatnick
Marsha Thomason as Linda

The film’s DVD is set to be released by 20th Century Fox on October 23, 2007. The DVD will be released as Unrated and will run for 97 minutes, 4 minutes longer than the original cut.

The DVD will include 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format, an audio commentary by director David Arquette and stars Thomas Jane, Paul Reubens, and Richmond Arquette, deleted scenes, a blooper reel, a Behind the Spleens featurette, The Tripper Presidential Campaign Tour footage, and theatrical trailers.

The release date April 20, or 4/20 is a reference to 420, a number of prominence in cannabis culture.

The Tripper is now available at Amazon. As of yet, there is not a release date for the UK. Visit the DVD database for more information.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.