Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"The Trip"(1967)d/Roger Corman

Inverse to the producers' warning that precedes tonight's review, a Hollywood flirtation with head-freakin' hallucinogenics as penned by no less than Jack Nicholson, is a short disclaimer from this guy over here:Ah, glorious lysergic acid diethylamide.Where does a guy like me begin to write about our many mind-blowing escapades together over the years.Without your entheogenic pleasures, I might not have ever mooned state troopers from a van window, shouting:"Behold! The fancy ass of the DEVIL!", I might not have been bitten by a pissed off African baboon spider that I thought I was communicating with, I might not have stopped my vehicle in courthouse traffic, worried that the front of the car, engine and all, had just dissolved into liquid metal and poured onto the asphalt.I might never have played naked hide n' seek with my girlfriend all over my apartment, culminating in a vista-revealing bathtub fuck that unlocked the secrets of the universe to me.Oh, you get the idea, already.Potent acid is tits, dudeskis.Tonight's feature focuses on some hip cats of the day and just such a journey to the center of the mind, as portrayed by genre faces Peter Fonda, Susan Strasberg, Bruce Dern, and Dennis Hopper, among others, and as directed by the original Motor City Madman and B-Movie Bishop, Roger Corman, in between his uncredited work in the director's chair on A Time for Killing(1967) and 1968's The Wild Racers.Semi-corny in its posi-delivery of the microgram-laden mirth; it's always a good time to viddy when you're in an altered state yourself.Diiiig...
"Yeah, I was Babalugats in 'Cool Hand Luke', maaann, I'll bogart this spleefie if I want to..."
Paul Groves(Peter Fonda) is a mild-mannered director of television commercials in the midst of a heavy divorce from his unfaithful wife, Sally(Susan Strasberg), a chick who's not opposed to rocking a salmon polyester pantsuit out in public just for kicks.Is it any wonder he's looking for some introspective on his own successes and failures in one o' them there acid trips all them youngins seem to be poppin' off on, in between their flower power and their Lothar and the Hand People records.He enlists his buddy, John(Bruce Dern), as a chaperone for his twelve hour mental vacation, as provided by Max(Dennis Hopper), a babbling, reef-tokin' white Navajo wanna-be in leather dungarees, who owns the local psychedelically painted drug spot frequented by the upper eschelon of turn-onners, tune-inners, and obligatory drop outs.A hot young blonde tells him that she thinks "acid-takers are groovy."Paul retreats upstairs with John and drops with some apple juice, while Max passes around a hog's leg downstairs and mumbles incoherently.John tells his soon-to-be-soaring associate that he probably won't wanna eff with all the recording equipment he's laid out for himself once he's on his trip.Before you can say, "Down on Phillip's Escalator", Paul's starting to see some things over there.John, guarding against a possible freakout, tells him, "I'm gonna be here, man, trust me.", as Paul starts getting into some beautiful stuff, like holding the sun in his hands, and swimming bare-assed and free.He imagines bedding the hot blonde from earlier and his soon-to-be ex-wife at the same time in a groovy ménage à trois until he's being chased on the beach by Templar-esque knights on horseback.Then he's on a merry-go-round with midgets being forced to watch his spouse share adulterous kisses with another man on a big screen, while Max appears and passes hippie judgement upon him for working for a living.John! John, where's that thorazine, maaaaaan!I wanna get off!
Would you let this man chaperone your first acid trip? Me neither.
John pulls the incoherent naked wreck out of the pool and towels him off, then does exactly what he promised he wouldn't do, in leaving Paul alone while he's gone to score some more juice.Paul imagines John is slumped dead in a chair with a paintified headwound, and slips out into the street in the middle of the night, peaking his nuts off.He lets himself into a strange household, rousing the resident little girl from her sleep, watching television with her and getting her a drink until her father wakes up and scares him off.He grooves on the washing machines at a laundromat and suggests to a spinster-in-curlers that they communicate with each other using only their minds, before running off when she calls the police as he tries to free the girl he imagines he sees spinning in a dryer full of the woman's clothes.He snags a table at a psychedelic club on Sunset Strip, but splits prematurely when the cops make the scene, somehow making his way back to Max's place to come down in the process.After he tells the drug dealer he may have led the cops to his doorstep, he's told to head back to the strip where John, who isn't dead afterall, can collect him again.This time, he bumps into the aforementioned hot blonde who speeds off with him in her convertible sports car to her place, where they have all kinds of trippy sex, while he hallucinates about the hooded knights, only they're Sally and the blonde in disguise.The next morning, she asks him whether his trip was a good one or not, and he remarks that though he found love, he may need another day to reflect upon the turn of events, as the screen freeze-frames on his face, then cracks like glass, Fulci-style.Roll credits...
Sex whilst trippin' face? L.S.D.elicious!
As you might have guessed, the flagrant use of boring jazz in the soundtrack was a big red light for me.I'm thinking Corman should have scored some genuine psych rock instead, a la Pink Floyd or the Amboy Dukes, for authenticity's sake, I dunno.You can see Henry Fonda's rebellious son, who's experienced a sort of cinematic renaissance of late, in a treasure trove of genre cult classics;The Wild Angels(1966), Spirits of the Dead(1967), Easy Rider(1969), Spasms(1983), and even the crappy remake of Escape From New York, 1996's Escape From LA.Dern, a premier psycho in television and movies dating back to 1960, was at his genre best in the late sixties/early seventies, scoring credits in everything from Bloody Mama(1970) and The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant(1971) to Black Sunday(1976) and Hitchcock's Family Plot(1976).The curler-coiffed Barboura Morris dates back to early Corman, appearing in The Wasp Woman(1959) and The Haunted Palace(1960).Judy Lang, who plays Fonda's blonde sex-interest, can also be spotted in The Psycho Lovers and Count Yorga, Vampire.Curiously, LSD-25 was last completely legal in the United States in 1966, but you don't have to be a hardcore blotterhead to enjoy the cultish charm of Trip, which earns two double-dipped wops on the ratings scale.Add it to your collection.
Woooooooooow, maaaaahnnnn...


Gary said...

Great review. now I am going to have to rent this to check it out.

beedubelhue said...


Give it a shot and let me know what you think, dude.


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