Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Trip (1967)

The Trip (1967)

Directed by Roger Corman
Written by Jack Nicholson
Starring: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Dern, Susan Strasberg
IMDB: The Trip

Why I wanted to watch it: While channel surfing a few months ago my brother came across this movie and wanted to see it since it looked good in High Definition. When I found out that The Trip was directed by Roger Corman I wanted to watch it too so we finally got around to seeing it today.

Plot Synopsis: Paul Graves (Peter Fonda) recently got a divorce from his wife, Sally (Susan Strasberg). In an attempt to sort out his emotions, he decides to take LSD thanks to help from his dealer (Dennis Hopper).

This is the fourth Roger Corman directed movie I have seen, all of which have been reviewed on this blog! The Trip was made one year after Corman's Wild Angels. Although that film was about bikers, both movies are centered on trends of youth in the 1960s. As such, we have a some hippie decorated homes which are quite colorful, as well as plenty of hip 60s lingo such as "boppers." It's quite groovy, man! The Trip reminds us that Corman was a talented director as the visuals and cinematography are excellent. I liked how the point of view shifts from what Paul is experiencing on his acid trip to the objective perspective of his sober guide (Bruce Dern). Despite the nice eye candy, there isn't much of a plot. However, The Trip is interesting to watch as an experimental film because you don't know what will happen next. While on his acid trip, Paul goes from a beach, to a cave to a haunted house to a desert, etc. The editing is very good, especially during the montage sequences. The music went well with the movie and it feels like a long music video at times. In this sense The Trip was pretty influential from a technical aspect with its quick cuts and stylish combination of music and images. The lighting, colors, sound effects, and camerawork all make for an interesting experience.

While the imagery is cool, it is mostly nonsensical. One example that really stood out was the dwarf on a merry-go-round who shouts "Bay of Pigs!" If you watch The Trip, be prepared to see plenty of Peter Fonda's ass! Oh, and how could I forget the woman with the pink, blue, and orange boobs during the club scene! While I did like The Trip for the overall experience, it is random and lacks focus. I did like the revelation of the two riders who follow Paul, although I wish there was more symbolism and less bizarre randomness. Here is my brother's description of The Trip: "its as if the nightmare sequence of the boat of horrors from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was expanded into an entire movie." I concur, although it surprisingly works! The movie is interesting to watch and not boring, even though some scenes do drag on a bit.

Trivia: Roger Corman claimed to have taken a "trip" of his own while doing research on the topic. Corman wasn't the only one involved with the film to take LSD, as Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson went on a "group trip" to prepare for the movie.
Jack Nicholson wrote the script which he based on his experiences with LSD as well as the end of his marriage to Sandra Knight. And just in case someone out there doesn't know, yes this is THAT Jack Nicholson!

Score: 6/10
Closing Thoughts: The Trip is a well made movie that was influential for its groundbreaking techniques as well as taking on a taboo subject matter. Just keep in mind that is is weird as hell and there isn't really a story. But its groovy, man!


  1. Wait...you mean that they actually took LSD to prepare for this movie?! Shocking!

    Just kidding. This was a very interesting film from a historical standpoint. But it doesn't hold up as well as other 60s LSD movies like "Head."

    Still worth a watch.

    Glad to see that you are watching more Corman!

  2. I haven't seen any other 60s LSD movies and don't really plan to. But I think there will be more Corman movies in this blog's future!