Actor David Arquette has fought off murderers and giant spiders, but recently he faced a new challenge: writing, directing, and staring in his own feature length film. His debut is The Tripper, a slasher film where a killer in a Regan masks terrorizes a group of hippies. Gothamist sat down with David to ask him a few questions as he promotes his film in the Big Apple.
The movie's a horror movie but it also makes a political statement. What is that statement?
There's a reason why the killer's so obsessed and in love with Ronald Reagan: his decisions had a direct effect on his life and Reagan hated hippies, which I found funny. It's the extreme left against the extreme right, but ultimately the statement is that the true killers in this world are the leaders who sign pieces of paper that allow us to blow each other's brains out. It never made sense to me that way is acceptable in any form unless it's in self-defense.
Where do you place yourself on the political spectrum?
I'm a degenerate. Ultimately, I'm a liberal and I'm not ashamed to admit it, but I don't like labels and how polarizing it is. I think we can all work toward a common goal. But, I'm an actor. I don't have any political clout and I don't want any. I wanted to make an anti-war statement and anti-killing statement that only uses corn syrup.
How many gallons of corn syrup did you use to make this movie?
We were pretty liberal with the corn syrup. Tubs and tubs of it. There are a few scenes where there's real gushing.
How did you decide on how the blood should exit the wound?
There's a lot of campy elements in this film. When a hand gets cut off, the spurting is very over the top, but I don't know how a real hand would react to being cut off. Ultimately, it's a party movie. It has fun with the horror genre and a throw back to the slasher films. It's a fun movie with a lot of gore and violence. My favorite thing is when an audience laughs and then jumps out of their seats.
So people should hold onto their popcorn?
Yeah. I'm not sure how it compares to Hostel or Saw, but it does have some jumps, tension, intrigue, and psychedelic scenes as well.
And there's also going to be a comic version of The Tripper?
Yes, it's coming out in the next few months.
Do you plan on making any more films?
I have an idea for a sequel if the response merits one and I'm currently writing a different script with a friend that's in a completely different subject. There's violence in it, but it's more of a Braveheart type than anything else.
I read that your father converted to Islam and that your mother was Jewish, which struck me as interesting. What sort of role did religion play in your life growing up?
I was born on a commune that was based around a spiritual philosophy called Subud, which was a philosophy that a man in Indonesia came up with. It has its roots in Islam, Hindu, and Buddhism. You can be any religion and be a part of it. It's about bringing God into your life and making the world a better place, by serving God, which a lot of other religions preach as well. At their roots, I think a lot of religions are great but they're used for purposes that are contrary to what they stand for in the first place. My father converted to Islam and went on the Hajj and, as kids, we'd often celebrate Ramadan and fast for Yom Kippur. My father was born Christian and so we celebrated Christmas and believed in Jesus. Ultimately, I think that there's some beautiful things about all of these religions and figure out what the common thread is rather than alienating each other. At some point, we're all going to have to figure out that we're all people living on this planet together and figure out how we're going to live together with respect and admiration rather than what we're doing now.