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by John Reha, Guest Writer
Posted: July 25, 2006
David Arquette opened the panel on his movie "The Tripper," at Comic-Con International in San Diego, by introducing his fellow panelists: co-producer Steve Niles ("30 Days of Night"), co-writer Joe Harris, and star Chris Nelson. He then apologized profusely, explaining that he lost the tape of the footage en route to the panel. "It'll probably be on the internet tonight."

Without the film footage, the panel turned into a description of the movie, Arquette poking fun at himself and praising his creative team, movie-specific and general Q&A, and lots of autographed pictures, t-shirts, and hugs.

"This is my directorial debut. It's pretty much gone like this since the beginning."

According to Arquette, "The Tripper" is "a political horror film about a person obsessed with Ronald Reagan." He attacks hippies at an outdoor music festival while they're all kind of wasted on drugs in the Redwood forest. "That's the basic [premise] and we have great people in it. too, who you'd be able to see... Paul Rubens is in it, he plays the guy who's throwing the festival." Which Arueqtte described as a Deadhead-type "Reggae-on-the-river" type festival. Jason Mewes, known for being one half of the Jay and Silent Bob duo featured in Kevin Smith's films, is in it as well playing a character that's a complete degenerate, but very different from his Jay character. "A different kind of degenerate," said Arquette. Lucas Haas, plays the caring hippie who goes down the wrong road and "pays deeply because of it."

Jamie King is our heroine in the film. Chris Nelson, he's the local who sees these hippies and "even though they're hippies he wants to protect them," explained Arquette. "Thomas Jane plays Buzz, the hometown sheriff who's not into this festival, but he doesn't want people getting hacked up either."

"I think I'll put it on a website," Arquette said, referring to the trailer we didn't see. He offered the 1968 Ford Econo Line van used in the film as a reward if someone found the tape. He was obviously torn up about this. "I think it's right up your alley. Knowing the sensibilities of this convention. It's got everything you want, naked hippies getting murdered." then Arquette added, "Naked redheaded hippies.

"I've always loved horror films, but it's a well known fact that it's a nice bankable market as far as the fan base goes," continued Arquette. "I love the fact that the boundaries are completely skewed when it comes to horror films; they kinda get into sex and drugs and rock and roll more than other mediums." When asked about his inspiration to direct a horror film, Arquette replied, "I was at a party, in the more hippie moment, I thought, wow this'd make a great horror movie."

Arquette plays one of the redneck locals. "My name's Muff. That's taken from an actual guy in Northern California, named Muff, that had it tattooed on his arm."

Courtney Cox-Arquette is also in the film, he laughed, and dies "…rather violently. Quickly. Sadly."

At the suggestion of a fan, David seriously considers reenacting pieces of the movie. Instead, he throws out a couple of funny lines of dialogue:

"At one point, Thomas Jane approaches the villain, and..." Arquette lapses into a Ronald Reagan impression, "Is this what you call compassionate conservativism?"

And, a hippie: "Come back here Sam, I'm not fucked up, I'm just a little...fucked up."

On Reagan as the inspiration of the film, Arquette stated, "I love Ronald Reagan. Not crazy about many of his policies, but I liked his voice. That's really the inspiration of the humor/horror of it."

When an actual attendee of Woodstock asked a question, Arquette was quick to point out that "It's nothing like Woodstock. No peace involved at all." In fact, it's kind of like the anti-Woodstock. "There are hippies, and you think hippies are about peace, but these hippies are about obliterating their minds."
As the questioner quipped, "that's not much different than what happened at Woodstock."

Regarding rumors of a "Scream 4," Arquette said he hasn't heard anything, but he's "not sure he'd be invited back." There isn't any bad blood, but they'd find someone they didn't have to pay too much. "Typical hollywood moops."

When asked, "What's your favorite part about playing a redneck," Arquette replied simply, "The beer."

At this point, someone asked Niles a question about the "30 Days of Night" film. "They start the film in August. Josh Harnett was cast." Niles later added they'll be shooting in New Zealand with Sam Raimi producing and David Slade directing.

Asked how he hooked up with Arquette, Niles replied that he's business partners with Thomas Jane. He also slipped up and mentioned that Image would be doing a comic based on the movie, "which we'll be announcing...tomorrow. Now." For a full report on Image's announcements during the show, click here

Chris Nelson joined the conversation, saying he thought Arquette has done a great job. "He knew what he was doing, he had a very clear vision," said Nelson. "That's most of the battle. I think he's going to make a great director."

Arquette hopes to bring a lesson Jason Mewes taught him into his own acting. "An actor makes whatever situation they're in real. Jason does that innately. It's amazing quality," said Arquette

A fan asked what the panelists favorite horror movies were. Arquette loved "The Shining" and "Rosemary's Baby." Chris Nelson is a self professed huge horror movie fan, but the first one that came to mind was "Halloween." Joe Harris chose "The Omen" "Friday the 13th Part 2." Steve Niles said the original "Friday the 13th" and, naturally, "The Tripper."

If the movie gets sold, Arquette said there's definitely a sequel and it involves another president. When asking about the rating he expected the movie to receive, he said quickly, "Let's hope it's just R." The groundbreaking band Fishbone will be providing the soundtrack.

Arquette talked about how acting "is a luxury" compared to directing. Except when you have to bring up all the horrible things in your life. "Directing has it's own amazing qualities...just being part of the whole experience."

Finally, when Arquette was asked "How awesome is it being married to Courtney Cox-Arquette," he replied, "It's pretty awesome."
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