#1 The Tripper (2007)
Yeah, ok, I had to end with that one…
If slasher films have any political message (besides the “conservative” “don’t have sex” one), it’s that “rightwingers are scary.” Conservatives aren’t necessarily the villains, but they’re often the victims, and usually comic relief to boot. (While I was watching this, one of the Friday the 13th sequels was airing a few feet away, and Jason promptly dispatches two bumbling “survivalist” hicks whose deaths the audience was clearly meant to cheer.
One exception is Uncle Sam (1997), clearly made by bitter lefties still smarting from the Reagan Revolution. The movie is about a Gulf War vet who rises from the dead on the Fourth of July, puts on an Uncle Sam costume, and goes on a killing spree.
And in an exception of another kind, Nathan Shumate penned a thoughtful essay in a hip, pop culture magazine that actually expressed some sympathy for the conservatives that Hollywood loves to target:
I think I could go out on a limb and guess who screenwriter Larry Cohen and director William Lustig (best known for the Maniac Cop trilogy) voted for in the last five Presidential elections. It’s not hard to guess; everyone and everything in the story which is even passingly pro-American, pro-military, patriotic, conservative, or in any other way flyover-countryesque is shown to be corrupted and hypocritical. (…)
I’m not saying that war isn’t hell, and that it shouldn’t be avoided whenever possible. But Messrs. Cohen and Lustig don’t seem to want to entertain the possibility that someone can believe in patriotism or American exceptionalism or the sacrifice of military service for reasons of good conscience, without any venal ulterior motive.
In other words, Cohen and Lustig strongly imply that they’re exactly the kind of people that Uncle Sam would label “unpatriotic cowards” and kill on principle.
But I don’t to wrap up this list on a heavy, or even scary, note.
So now: The Tripper.
If, like me, one of your favorite scenes in the history of cinema is the last five minutes of Easy Rider, you’ll get a kick out of The Tripper. (If you can find it — it was direct to DVD.)
That’s because that, in this slasher film, the killer targets hippies.
Oh, and he’s Ronald Reagan.
Tripper, Gipper, get it?
And, well, that’s it, really. (Although I’m not sure what more you could possibly want, except maybe a remake with George Bush as the slasher instead of Reagan, terrorizing a leftwing bloggers’ convention…)
So I don’t have anything deep and profound to say about The Tripper, and neither does J.T.Taylor, although he’s the one who introduced me to the film and has a wonderful synopsis.
If you can find a copy by this Sunday, why not prime yourself for this Tuesday’s electoral bloodbath with a wish-fulfilling cinematic one?