Tourist Trap Film Review (1979)

August 14, 2018

Tourist Trap Film Review (1979)

The typical California girl looks forward to summer for tanning at the beach or road trips with their girlfriends to wine country.  And if you know anything about me--I look forward to none of those.  I develop an intimate relationship with my air conditioner while the sweat drips down my back making me stick to my couch.  I'm in hell and I need cold air to survive!

But this California born and raised girl enjoys revisiting some classic 'summer vacation' horror movies.  A particular flick that embodies a dangerous summer filled with carefree, clueless and free spirited teenagers that are about to get slaughtered by a maniac brings me ridiculous amounts of joy.  There are many films that house that archetype; Friday the 13th, the Final Girls, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.

70's Horror has a soft spot in my heart.  This time frame was the birth period for films such as; Halloween, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (my personal favorite), the Exorcist, Phantasm, etc.  These films all follow a common theme--teens doing dumb shit and they're unaware that they're actually a target because they're consumed with sexual energy while indulging in colorful substances. But I think everyone slightly overlooks one film in particular--Tourist Trap.

 

Synopsis: A group of stranded teenagers falls prey to the demented owner of a roadside museum and his army of evil mannequins. 

 While driving through the desert, Ellen and Woody experience a flat tire--Woody sets out to find a gas station.  Eileen waits with the car until Woody returns.  Their friends show up in the second vehicle, pick up Eileen and set off to find Woody.  

 The gas station that Woody finds looks abandoned which is already a huge red flag in my book.  Every horror film that involves something that appears abandoned is never a good sign.  And whenever someone goes to investigate such a place--they end up dead.  If you disagree with me--name ONE horror film that doesn't end in someone dying after they wander off.  I'll wait.

The group pull over and decide to take a dip in a nearby lake.  This part of the film confused the hell out of me, but in some odd ball horror movies--semi nudity is almost always involved.  As the girls chit-chat, they are approached by a mysterious man.

 There's nothing creepier than having a mysterious man visit you while your swimming in a lake.  Don't mind me creeper, I'm just covering myself while you ramble on about nothing.  Once the gang are finished swimming, they come upon the mysterious man again who offers them a ride back to his museum until their car gets fixed.  Nowadays--if I was in that kind of situation, I don't think I would have taken that opportunity.  I would have taken my chances and walked somewhere--and also, why don't any of these people carry a weapon with them?  But since they have nothing to protect them and are practically stranded in an unknown area, the gang head back with the stranger to his museum.  And this is where I start screaming internally.

Didn't your mother teach you anything about strangers?!

When I was kid, my parents were educating me on the golden rule of never talking to strangers.  They gave me a safe word just in case someone tried to tell me that they knew my parents and I needed to come with them because of an 'emergency.'  So after having this huge sit down with them, they quizzed me.

"Okay Megan, now, if someone comes up offering you candy, what are you gonna say?"
"Please?"

I'm honestly surprised that I wasn't kidnapped when I was a kid.  I was eager as hell to get some candy from a stranger because candy and cartoons were my life.  

 

I'm not sure if it was because these tourists were at the mercy of their surroundings and really needed assistance once their car broke down--or if they were completely oblivious to all the signs that were in front of them.  This stranger was downright creepy, and they walked right into his web.

Let me just pause for a second.  I have a weird phobia when it comes to dolls--especially with their eyes being retractable.  It's unsettling.  But it's entirely different when there are creepy, life-like mannequins involved that have the skin of an actual human-being.  And I think it's by far--the creepiest part of this film.  I'd lose my shit if I realized that these mannequins were covered in HUMAN skin...  The whole thing makes me cringe and reminds me of the 1953 classic, House of Wax.  Slausen's Lost Oasis is about to claim new mannequins for its' display.

I think the strongest parts of this film are the build-ups.  Your ears are filled with silence wondering which mannequin is going to spring to life and stab you to death.  There is definitely an element of surprise that I thoroughly enjoy throughout this movie when it comes to the scares.  Another great addition to this flick is the music.  The song that plays throughout certain scenes gives me the creeps.  This film leaves a different mark on you after you watch it.  You become unsure of what's real and what isn't.  Or maybe it's all real?  I cringe silently whenever I see a set of mannequins just chilling out in a group with one another.  Call me ridiculous, but I can't help it.  Mannequins are just plain creepy.  Dolls are scary.  They are just waiting to kill me and wear my skin.  Thanks Tourist Trap...

 In my opinion, it was fairly obvious from the beginning who was behind all the killings.  It even says it in the synopsis!  But even if the synopsis was phrased differently, you would have a pretty easy time putting the pieces together and to find out who the killer is especially if you watch horror films as a hobby.  You pick up on their odd ball traits and their motives.  You see the signs.  Sadly, there wasn't a surprise factor when it came to identifying the killer.  But to play devil's advocate--a lot of horror films are severely lacking with that element of surprise.

Tourist Trap isn't one of my favorite films but its' worth the watch especially if you have a friend with you who is terrified of dolls.  If you're looking to get the creeps, I recommend Tourist Trap as your next watch.  This is available on Shudder for any of you who are interested in streaming it.

 

Does anyone make it out alive?  How are these mannequins coming to life?  Would you ever visit Slausen's Lost Oasis?  In your opinion, what's the creepiest part of this film?  I want to know YOUR thoughts.  Leave a comment below!

 

Wondering what's next?

Maskfest is next weekend and we're super excited to attend!  This event will be celebrating its' 10 year anniversary in Indianapolis, August 24th-26th!  Maskfest will host some of the most epic legends in horror; Robert Englund, Bruce Campbell, Nick Castle, Kane Hodder, and more.  This event will showcase unbelievable masks, makeup fx, and other pieces of artwork!   Saturday is already sold out but there are still tickets available up for purchase (here).

 

We will have a limited amount of Tourist Trap inspired masks at our booth during Maskfest! 

Be sure to snag this especially if you're a fan of this film!

Mask by Ryan Ward

Picture by @srgreenhaw 

 

If you're going to Maskfest, be sure to stop by our booth and say hi!

 

 As always, be sure to follow us at @littleshopofgore for any shop updates!

 

xx

Meg 

 




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