Viper: Hollywood’s Favorite Coaster

For about as long as Six Flags Magic Mountain has been in operation, nearby Hollywood has frequently mined the park for on-location filming of amusement park scenes for feature films, television, advertisements, and more. Classic sequences, like National Lampoon’s Vacation at “Walley World”, remain cultural iconography.

In 1990 the opening of Viper (and the advent of a professional camera rig that could be mounted to the nose of the train) catapulted Magic Mountain even further into Hollywood notoriety, with major productions now having utilized the enormous Arrow Looper countless times over the last 3 decades. Let’s take a look at some, shall we?

Encino Man (1992)

One of the earliest Viper features would but the goofy-yet-charming high school drama Encino Man, starting Sean Astin, Pauly Shore, and highlighted by a delightful early-career performance by Brendan Frasier as the titular character. Frasier’s character is a caveman thawed from a block of ice that, among other adventures, enjoys a ride on Viper at the nearby “Mega Mountain” theme park.

True Romance (1993)

The Quentin Tarantino / Tony Scott cult classic True Romance remains one of Viper’s most high profile features, wherein a drug deal is discussed between the film’s stars. Bronson Pinchot and Michael Rappaport both hate roller coasters and suffer from motion sickness, which led to some very convincing scenes of their characters, Dick and Alabama, either straight-up not having a good time or high on quaaludes.

Space Cowboys (2000)

For this NASA-flavored drama, four retired stunt pilots are enlisted to fix a damaged Soviet satellite. Where does Viper come in? A retired Air Force member played by Donald Sutherland now enjoys his days as a roller coaster designer, an occupation we’re introduced to via a scene where he “test rides” his newest creation.

Lucifer (2016-2020)

The Season 3 episode “Boo Normal” shows extensive B-roll footage of Six Flags Magic Mountain (wherein the park is mentioned by name as a sort of product placement). Tom Ellis’s character, the titular Lucifer, tricks a colleague into riding Viper against his will while hunting down a crime suspect.

Glee (2009-2015)

In the season 3 episode “Big Brother,” the New Directions show choir partake in the annual “Senior Ditch Day” at Six Flags. Despite the show being set in Lima, Ohio (complete with occasional references to nearby Cedar Point), Six Flags and Viper take center stage in all of their North-LA glory.

We hope you enjoyed all this star-studded Viper goodness. This isn’t even all of the media credits Viper has to its name, and there’s sure to be more in the future. If you like our content and are looking to support our website, consider shopping on Shop Coaster Kings! If you want to join the conversation, be part of the Coaster Kings Discord server!

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