We started out searching for an old horror movie, maybe a Vincent Price movie we hadn’t seen. Some of the best of those were directed by Roger Corman and his name led us to “The Trip,” his 1967 movie written by Jack Nicholson, starring Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern and Dennis Hopper. Not exactly horror but close (39% “Rotten” score) and neither one of us could remember seeing the movie.
I didn’t have any experience with psychedelics until 1969 but this movie from two years earlier already looked like a cliche Hollywood version of a cool thing. Like wealthy people today Peter Fonda took his LSD in the home office of a guide, Bruce Dean. And when he started tripping he was shown running around in billowy sleeves. Peggi said Peter Fonda reminded her of Dave Mahoney. His buddy, Dennis Hopper’s character, looked like he went “hippie” to pick up chicks. The actors looked like people we called “weekend hippies” in 1969, the ones Poly Styrene called “poseurs” in the 70s. But again, this movie is from’67.
Psychedelics, of course, are older than the hills. Peggi read “How to Change Your Mind” and we watched Michael Pollen’s four part Netflix show. Bob and Liz recommended “Fantastic Fungi” and all those lay out out the long history of mind opening drugs.
Maybe a guide is a good idea. A group us us walked halfway across town looking for Thorazine but Andy, who eventually died from overdose of Valium and alcohol, was not home. We were only able to talk to one another for fleeting moments between astonishing hallucinations and what can only be described as wide-awake nightmares. Later that night I found myself in an elevator in the IU Health Center with a nurse who had her hands on my shoulders while she repeated “What is your name?” over and over. I had no idea. I had other things on my mind. I woke up in the morning with a hospital gown on. Apparently I had gotten my Thorazine. I walked to the window and looked out at cars swimming around in the parking lot. I stopped tripping after that but am thankful for the many extraordinarily beautiful experiences.