Tourist Trap (1979)
What’s It About: A group of twentysomethings runs afoul of Chuck Connors and his unnecessary psychic abilities. Based on true events.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- Why is this guy rolling the tire to the gas station? He’s rolling the spare tire, which didn’t have air in it. What are they going to do with that tire without his car?
- Gas Eats – Ahead. Who is Gas and what does he eat?
- Hmm, a young Tanya Roberts. Disgusting.
- $3.30 for a six pack? That will get you half a beer ’round these 2017 parts!
- 55 cents for the boys CAN’S and the girls too? I don’t get it. Is that a tit joke?
- A bunch of creepy mannequins are laughing at this guy and he’s terrified. I think I’d be more puzzled than anything.
- Now a bunch of bottles and cans are flying at him. Maybe that’s what that sign meant.
- Man these mannequins are having a fucking blast.
- A pipe goes through his back and his blood slowly trickles out of it. That was actually some really cool sound design.
- I thought this movie was going to be about Holy Land experience in Orlando. So the tire guy’s friends are out looking for him. Tanya Roberts is part of this group.
- Car won’t start. I hate horror movies.
- Whoever designed Tanya Roberts’ costume should’ve won an Oscar and AVN Award that year.
- SKINNY DIPPING!!
- Chuck Connors! And he has a rifle, man! Well, it’s a shotgun, but it will still serve his purposes against Tanya Roberts and her two skinny dipping lady friends.
- The tire guy’s name was Woody. They must have called him that after he met Tanya Roberts.
- Slausen brings the group back to his Lost Oasis, which, aside from the skinny dipping pond, is just a bunch of random shit covered in dust and cobwebs and probably Slauson’s semen. It’s basically an episode of Hoarders. Does it fit the definition of a “tourist trap” if no one would ever want to see it?
- “These are so lifelike!” They’re regular department store mannequins. Have you never been to JCPenney?
- This group seems completely unconcerned about their friend Woody and are instead fascinated by mannequins and old soda bottles.
- These kids are ridiculous. Eileen, who I think is Woody’s girlfriend, goes looking for him at the house next to the museum. It’s full of more mannequins, and suddenly she starts hearing a voice calling her name, so she goes into a room full of more mannequins, and then she takes a scarf off of one of them and tries it on in front of the mirror, completely forgetting about Woody and the voice calling her name. I’ll have to assume that this entire group is on angel dust, much like I am right now.
- Telekinetic Leatherface! That mask is actually pretty creepy. When was the last time you saw a legitimately creepy mask in a horror movie?
- Ok, so Telekinetic Leatherface (TL) is telekinetically choking Eileen with the scarf while also breaking a bunch of shit in the room. Why is he breaking his own possessions?
- The mannequin skin feels like flesh. We’ll have to more closely compare it to Tanya Roberts to be sure.
- Slausen apparently taxidermied his dead wife into a mannequin and explains that that’s what wax museums are for, to keep people’s memories alive. I thought it was to rip off idiots.
- So Tanya goes slow motion searching for her friend at the house and runs afoul of TL, who telekinetically dumps a bunch of mannequins on her. Not the worst orgy he’s been in.
- She knocks him out with a small mannequin arm. What is she Tommy “Hitman” Hearns? (That’s two different Hitman references in two posts!)
- TL has an entirely different girl tied up in his basement, where he brings Tanya and her man friend Jerry. TL wants to party and even brings some wine, but these flatliners don’t want it!
- TL spreads plaster on the girl’s face, painstakingly explaining that she won’t suffocate but her heart will burst from fright first. How can he be so sure of that?
- Jerry breaks free and does the weakest and shittiest sneak attack since the last time a Steve Miller song came on my Pandora.
- TL explains that his brother makes him wear masks just because he’s too fucking handsome. Man, I feel you. Some days it feels like I’m still wearing a mask, and it’s suffocating me…
- How did TL get from the basement to where Molly was walking outside so quickly? And he has a different mask and wig on? Actually that could have been hours, Molly wasn’t too concerned about finding her friends.
- Slausen finds Molly, he goes back inside the museum to make a call, and she’s scared of TL so she… stays outside?
- Oh hey, the creepy masked creep turns out to actually be Slausen, the creepy creepy flesh mannequin museum owner. Who would have thought?
- Slausen seriously can’t tell the difference between the mannequins and Tanya and Jerry standing there?
- Hey someone just jumped through a window to avoid a psycho killer in a mask. A movie first!
- Run, Tanya, run! Keep running! Run more!
- Slausen lays Tanya on the bed and goes to get his “doctorin’ kit.” Maybe he’s not crazy after all.
- This movie basically takes place over a couple hours. When did Slausen have time to make Woody into a mannequin?
- Tanya gets a knife thrown into the back of her head by a Native Amannequin.
- What happened to Jerry?
- Not sure what the real point of having Slausen be telekinetic was. He could have just been a psycho with some weird animatronic shit.
- Slausen wants to turn Molly into a replacement for his dead wife. She should probably take that deal.
- Slausen says if a man finds his wife cheating on him he’s got a legal right to kill them both. I’ll check with my lawyer…
- Slausen made a living automaton of Jerry? When??
- Slausen definitely screwed these mannequins, right?
- Molly sinks an axe into Slausen’s neck as he’s dancing with his mannequin wife. Then she loads up her mannequin friends and drives off in the previously broken car to start a new mannequin lifestyle, in which her little brother, who wants to design fashion window displays in New York, will be very interested.
Scare Level: If you hate creepy dolls and doll-like things this movie would be a total frightfest for you.
Gore Level: Virtually none, just a little blood.
Nudity Level: It seemed like if Tanya Roberts leaned the right way there would be more popping out than a closeted guy at a New Year’s Eve party but nothin’.
Best Line: I honestly don’t recall any good lines, but I’ll never forget what Slausen said about a man’s rights…
Best Scene: Woody’s death with the silent scream and his blood trickling through the pipe was great.
Worst Scene: Probably the short comedy break when Slausen eats crackers with one of the mannequins.
Overall: I’ve actually seen this picture before a few years ago but didn’t remember much about it, just that I thought it was pretty good, and every single thing I’ve watched this year has been totally mediocre, so I wanted to end with something that possibly wasn’t. And guess what? It was above mediocre! It’s not amazing or anything and is basically The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and House of Wax telekintetically bound together with plaster, but it’s fun, well done, and hung. Chuck Connors does an excellent job, and Jocelyn Jones, who plays Molly, is a great final girl, and Tanya Roberts also lends it a certain kind of credibility. It probably could have been better if you can one iota of a shit about any of the characters other than Slausen. Like eight minutes of backstory or conversation about something between them to give them a little life before their death would have been nice. But other than that, very solid and recommended, just try to find a Groupon before you buy a ticket to this tourist trap.
Score: 6.75 Instant Automaton-making Machines (out of 10)
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I’ve always wanted to see this one. You’ve actually managed to not talk me out of it. 👍
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