The Trip (1967) Drug of choice: LSD Acid was the subject of the moment for B movies in the late ’60s — in fact, we could devote a list to those alone — but only one of those films was written by Jack Nicholson and directed by Roger Corman, starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Bruce Dern. As its title suggests, Fonda’s semi-straight-laced character spends practically the entire 85-minute movie in the throes of his first trip. But it’s this early sequence, in the eerie carnival world of Fonda’s own personal acid-land, that we couldn’t get out of head for days after watching it.
Easy Rider (1969) Drug of choice: LSD Of course, two years later, Fonda, Hopper, and Nicholson co-starred in Easy Rider, one of film’s classic countercultural documents. In perhaps the most notorious drug-trip scene of all time, Fonda, Hopper, and their newfound lady friends drop acid in a beautiful New Orleans cemetery. With religious symbols everywhere, the trip takes a spiritual turn, the freaky camera lenses come out, and then it gets really, really dark.
Party Monster (2003) Drug of choice: Pretty much all of them In perhaps the strangest casting choice ever made, Macaulay Culkin portrays real-life club-kid killer Michael Alig in this adaptation of Alig’s (former) buddy James St. James’ true-crime novel. Although drugs figure into just about every scene, implicitly or explicitly, it is this sequence — which finds Alig making a quick escape from the hospital, where he was treated for a very real overdose, to an over-the-top, hospital-themed party, with drugs in cups and the IV still stuck in his arm.
Liquid Sky (1983) Drug of choice: Heroin, cocaine It’s hard to explain what actually happens in Liquid Sky. Suffice it to say it involves a male and a female model played by the same person (Anne Carlisle), an alien invasion, casual rape, and a thrilling, orgasm-related plot twist. But the real reason to watch the film is because it features some incredibly strange, lo-fi, ’80s drug-trip visuals — like the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, only 100 times weirder.
Requiem for a Dream (2000) Drug of choice: Amphetamines Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn), mother of heroin addict Harry (Jared Leto), is just your typical Brighton Beach Jewish mother… except for a little addiction to prescription diet pills. At the height of her drug abuse, Sara imagines she’s been invited to be a glamorous contestant on her favorite game show. It’s all a dream come true, until the beautiful TV people invade her living room and the trip goes bad. Click here to watch the clip.
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968) Drug of choice: Pot brownies Everything changes for straight-laced lawyer Harold Fine (Peter Sellers) when his hippie brother introduces him to a gal who makes the world’s best special brownies. By the end, he’s living in a psychedelic apartment, throwing the weirdest party you’ve ever seen, featuring his gaggle of neglected Mexican clients. And who’s that old lady passing out brownies? Why, it’s his prim and proper elderly mother, of course!
Smiley Face (2007) Drug of choice: Marijuana You don’t generally think of weed as a “trip” drug, but when you devour a tray full of your roommate’s pot-laced cupcakes, you better believe that trip is exactly what you’re going to do. In Smiley Face, Anna Faris is hilarious as a stoner named Jane who does just that. The wild ride that follows comprises most of the film, but we are partial to Jane’s moment of reckoning on a ferris wheel. Watch this marvel of stoner logic here (begins about three minutes in).