In anticipation of the film Crystal Fairy, which recounts American twentysomething Jamie (Michael Cera) and his hallucinogen-fueled “trip” to Chile, we’ve rounded up our favorite psychedelic scenes in movie history. From floating bowling alleys to dancing pink elephants, these mind-blowing moments are freak-outs to remember.
In this haunting scene from Disney’s 1941 classic, pink elephants appear in front of our hero, fueled by his accidental ingestion of champagne. While a bit of the bubbly may not be your run of the mill hallucinogen, these devious, colorful mammals – and their eerie theme song – are the definition of tripping, 1941-style.
Alice in Wonderland
From the hookah-smoking caterpillar and cigar-smoking Walrus, to the disappearing, grinning Chesire Cat and tea party-throwing Hatter, this 1951 classic, based on Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel of the same name, is infamous for it’s – intentional or not – drug references and psychedelic moments. Take this scene, in which a talking doorknob tells young Alice to drink a bottle labeled “DRINK ME” and eat cookies labeled “EAT ME.” She subsequently grows, shrinks and causes a flood with her tears when she can’t fit through a door to follow the white rabbit. Luckily, she eventually does, and her adventures officially begin.
As if the title of this 1967 cult film wasn’t enough, Peter Fonda, the protagonist, introduces the trailer with the following: “I’m Peter Fonda. We’ve just finished making a movie dealing with the most talked about subject of the day: LSD.” Directed by Roger Corman and written by Jack Nicholson, The Trip, which also features Dennis Hopper as a drug dealer, portrays Fonda in various states of an LSD trip in and around Los Angeles. Corman, who took LSD as “research,” created a psychedelic atmosphere using swirly, colored lights, improvisational jazz, and midgets and merry-go-rounds that appear out of nowhere.
Another picture starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, but this time, the two also wrote (along with Terry Southern) and produced the film (Hopper also directed it). The film examines the culture of drug use in the sixties, along with other aspects of the then-burgeoning hippie movement. The actors’ drug-induced behavior is unsurprising, given their use of actual drugs in the movie.
In his big-screen debut, William Hurt plays a Harvard psychology professor experimenting with sensory deprivation. In this clip, he travels to Mexico, where he ingests a mixture prepared by an indigenous tribesman. The film, as well as Paddy Chayefsky’s source novel, were based on neuroscientist John C. Lilly and his experimentations with Ketamine and LSD.
The Big Lebowski
Lebowski exhibits Jeff Bridges as “The Dude” in the throes of a euphoric, trip-like dream. A black-and-white checkered staircase in the sky, a golden-clad Viking vixen, a giant wall of bowling shoes, and thirty seconds where The Dude floats straight down a celestial bowling alley (and in-between the legs of bowling-themed Rockettes) appears to be the ultimate hallucination fantasy for the eccentric bowling enthusiast.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Based on Hunter S. Thompson‘s 1971 novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 118-minute long trip. Journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his crazy lawyer Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro), on their way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for a magazine assignment, ingest some “Sunshine Acid”; by the time they get to the hotel to check in, Duke has begun hallucinating: people turn into giant, lizard-like monsters, the floor of the hotel bar appears to be covered in blood, and the vines on the carpet start to move and climb.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
“I can’t believe this shit,” whines Jay to Silent Bob in this 2001 American comedy. “Every day people hitch to Hollywood to stop studios from making films about ’em, but when you and me try it, it’s like we’re trapped in a fucking cartoon.” Suddenly, the Mystery Machine van from Scooby Doo appears, and the duo rush in. They offer the Scooby cast some joints (ehem, “Doobie Snacks”), and things start to get wild (cue Steppenwolf‘s “Magic Carpet Ride”). It might only be marijuana, but a real life talking dog is pretty trippy if you ask us.
In the opening scene of this 2001 stoner comedy, Geoffrey Arend (credited as “College Boy 3”) eats a bag of weed (and a bag of mushrooms!) when two cops pull his friend over somewhere near the Canadian border. When the troopers pull them over again – apparently forgetting they had stopped them moments before – Arend infamously declares, “I’m freakin’ out, man,” as he begins to seriously trip. At least he enjoys his ride in the back of the squad car: “the snozberries taste like snozberries!” he says after licking the divider glass, a brilliant reference to 1971’s Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
“Have the mushrooms kicked in yet?” Seth Rogan asks co-star Paul Rudd in this 2007 comedy. The buddies have decided to go to a Cirque de Soleil show whilst tripping – a genius move, really. But Rogan, like Arend in Super Troopers, becomes overwhelmed: “I’m freaking out right now, man,” he says, an obvious Arend echo, “the mushrooms are turning on me!”