Tourist Trap- Horror Movie Review (Day 19 of 31)- October Massacre

Tourist Trap- Horror Movie Review (Day 19 of 31)- October Massacre
7 10

PLOT: A group of teens break down in the middle of nowhere with only a rundown tourist museum nearby to take shelter. The owner of the museum, Mr. Slausen, still lives there. They don’t heed his warnings of the house next door, where his warped brother, Davey lives and they wind up being turned into mannequins. What could possibly go wrong? What are the odds they'd come across a telekinetic psychopath with a fetish for mannequins?

REVIEW: Okay, so this is weird movie that is creepy enough to warrant your attention. A good friend of mine showed it to me during a random horror movie evening, and I remember thinking it was going to be brutal. I often find that those mass-produced 80s slasher flicks tend to blend together, and while they can be overly hilarious due to their brutal acting and plot, they're rarely unsettling.

The whole things starts promisingly. One of the teenagers walks to a gas station after they break down. Once inside he takes forever to figure out that the place has been deserted for a while but goes out back after hearing a noise. He becomes locked in the room and is attacked by an unseen force that throws objects at him, playing with him, until he’s impaled by a metal pipe. He's being taunted by the dummies, and stuff is flying off the shelves. It's a cool opening sequence.

I can easily say that Tourist Trap is unquestionably a bit unsettling. The use of the "old tourist attraction" setting is really quite effective. Making it an old tourist attraction filled with old mechanical mannequins? Okay, now we're getting somewhere. An insane psychopath who manages to have the power to turn people into mannequins simply so he can have someone to keep him company? Creepy stuff, man. It's also cool that they use this 'telekinetic/psychic' angle without beating it into the ground or making it too silly to hang on to.

Don't misunderstand me though, because there are some unquestionably stupid aspects to the movie, with some awful acting and wasted time throughout the runtime (Though Chuck Connors is actually pretty darn good as Mr. Slausen). There's a lot of clear influences from better movies like Halloween, TCM or Psycho. Still though, there's just something so off-putting about the mannequin angle- scary humanlike masks, off-putting vocal distortion, stuff like that. Enough to give you the willies. Pino Donaggio turns in a harrowing score that packs a punch as well, though it can be way off-kilter at times.

If you're quick on your feet, you might even appreciate that the film tries to throw out a final scare near the end in the form of a pretty bold twist. I won't spoil it, but it's a neat inclusion. If you're like me and missed this one in years past, I'm on board to let you know that this is a trap worth getting caught up in, at least once.

BEST TNA SCENE: Absolutely none, besides a super-pg skinny dipping scene that winds up disappointing.

BEST GORE BIT: I'll have to go with Becky's death scene. She's traumatized and laid down on the bed by Slausen (who's off to get his "doctoring kit") and left to lay on a bed. She starts hearing noises and whispers from the terrifying dummies in the room, until she gets up to investigate and they all begin coming to life. General Custer starts shooting pistols and breaking things within the room (what the hell?) while Slausen laughs in his seat. Then, a Native American statue begins throwing tomahawks. He misses one, then drills Becky right in the back of the head. She slowly slinks down, while one of the mannequins tips his hat, celebrating a job well done.

Oh, and just for the record, this one was featured as a Kill of the Day on this very site!

HALLOWEEN DRINKING GAME:- Take a shot (or sip of your beverage of choice) when:

-If something moves by itself, have a sip
-If a mannequin opens its mouth, take a shot (more than one? take a double shot, ya wuss)
-If someone says the name of the museum owner, "Mr. Slausen," take a nice, long drink (if repeated in succession, finish it)
-If the movie title is mentioned, take a shot
-If one of the heroes screams "No" or "Stop it," chug your beverage
-If the killer calls someone "pretty," take a shot



Extra Tidbit: Stephen King praised the film (especially the opening scene) in his book Danse Macabre.



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