Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tourist Trap (1979)

A group of young friends' car breaks down outside a secluded oasis/roadside museum attraction. Naturally, the ladies decide to skinny dip to pass the time (even the prudish, Little House on the Prairie extra...which when compared with the other halter topped, short shorts wearing girls makes for the easiest game of 'Guess the Final Girl' ever), but alas, in a stunning reversal of the expected, they all remain underwater up to the neck the whole time. Don't worry, it gets stranger. Meanwhile, the proprietor comes along to run them off his property, but then ends up insisting that they take his truck up to the main grounds when he learns that they are stranded.

Once within the museum, the kids learn that their friendly host is also a bit of an odd duck. Not to mention that they should have been at least a bit suspicious about his propensity for trying to separate them. While the owner and the only male traveler go back to work on the car (you know, the place they just left), one of the girls decides to check out the old manor behind the shop that the owner specifically told them to stay away from (so, yeah, she's dead). It turns out that there may be someone else on the property with a penchant for creepy masks that remind of Leatherface's cross-dressing and makeup fiasco from TCM: The Next Generation. He also has the ability to psychically manipulate his surroundings, including the dozens of mannequins in every room of the manor.

This is where Tourist Trap excels. Mannequins are inherently creepy, but this is all amplified here by some great staging and stellar use of sound effects. Take the opening death scene of the first character who broke off from the group (and who is seldom mentioned of again...guess they weren't much of friends). He finds himself locked within a room with some truly ghastly mannequins popping out of closets and bursting through windows, all laughing maniacally. He runs back to the door he came through where he is bombarded by flying objects littered throughout the room including a jagged lead pipe that rips into his stomach. At this point, the movie goes silent as he reels in pain until a dripping sound slowly builds of his blood draining through the pipe. There are a number of eclectic choices like this made throughout Tourist Trap setting it apart from your more standard slasher or supernatural (or both) flicks.

I feel like my reviews are always better when the movie is bad. Maybe next time.


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