Directed by Roger Corman, written by Jack Nicholson and released by American-International Pictures, The Trip cost $100,000 to make and brought in $6 million dollars. Hollywood was listening, because within the next year, movies for the love generation were all over the place*.
In fact, seven years after this movie, AIP’s Samuel Z. Arkoff said, “Everybody else picked it up; and as late as last year they were still coming out with dope pictures. And there isn’t one single company that made a buck on dope pictures. The young people had turned off.”
You know what makes Paul Groves (Peter Fonda) try LSD? He gets his heart broken by his wife (Susan Strasberg) and joins John (Bruce Dern) to take his first trip. He runs in fear from John as the trip over takes him, wandering through a nightmare world of sex, death, commercialism and mental transformation.
Corman took LSD himself to understand what it should look like on film, which ends up being quick edits, paint on nude women and small people trying to frighten the viewer.
While you can see the International Submarine Band, with Gram Parsons on vocals, the music in the movie comes from The Electric Flag. Music is a big part of this movie, as Dern’s line “Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream” comes directly from The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
Other folks to look out for include Salli Sachse (How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, Wild in the Streets), Judy Lang (Count Yorga), Luana Anders (The Pit and the Pendulum), Dick Miller (I mean, it is a Corman movie after all), Michael Nader (so many beach movies), Michael Blodgett (Lance Rock from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls), Sunset Strip tastemake and KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, Peter Bogdanovich, Randee Lynne Jensen (so many bikers movies), Joyce Mandel (Return of the Ultra Vixens) and Angelo Rossitto (everything from Freaks to playing The Master in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome).
The Trip attempts to film the unfilmable and for that, we should celebrate it.
*For example, the next year, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson and Luana Anders would all appear in Easy Rider.