10th Apr2014

‘Tourist Trap’ Blu-ray Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Chuck Connors, Jocelyn Jones, Jon Van Ness, Robin Sherwood, Tanya Roberts, Dawn Jeffory | Written by David Schmoeller, J. Larry Carroll | Directed by David Schmoeller


The slasher film does not have that much of a history of being scary. Mostly it’s about some psychopathic killer who easily stalks down his/her victim while they run for their lives but never quite manage to escape. This is of course unless they are pure and virginal deeming them the one to survive for moralistic value. I find that it’s quite rare to find a truly creepy slasher, which is why it was so nice to finally discover Tourist Trap.

In the middle of nowhere on a road that has been made redundant by a new highway is a little museum made up of mannequins and run by a seemingly nice man known as Mr. Slausen. When tourists turn up he’s happy to show them around and help them in any way he can, but of course this is a horror film there must be a secret. Mr. Slausen has a brother who is quite special, he has telekinetic powers and is the creator of the mannequins that fill the museum, all of which seems surprisingly human. When a group of teenagers are stranded there little do they know that they will not only find out the secret of the museum itself but also the truth about Mr. Slausen, his brother and of course the mannequins.

When watching Tourist Trap you will realise most of the secrets it holds quite quickly, these may have been twists that worked at the time the film was made but now we live in a cynical age where we’ve seen it all before. I’m not going to say the secret of course that would just be spoiling the fun of being able to think “I so knew it”. The fact is, yes it’s obvious but it’s also fun.Tourist Trap does manage to be creepy, surprisingly so and that is down to the use of telekinetic powers as a tool for horror. It’s not just about throwing things around the room and being all dramatic, the creepy element is that the mannequins that happen to be in every room are used by the killer and these inanimate creatures are seen to blink, turn their head and even get involved in the death scenes, so as the watcher it puts us on edge as we don’t really know what to expect next; it’s quite a unique trick, especially in the way it’s used.

Chuck Connors as the museum owner is probably stand out actor of the film, he seems to fully understand his character and know just how to play him. Mr. Slausen is a man on the edge, but he’s also just a nice man that’s trying to help people who turn up at his museum. There is always that feel of danger about him though as it’s obvious that he’s either blind to what is going on around him or he just can’t be trusted. The “teenage” victims are typical cannon fodder for the killer and play their roles adequately, it’s quite refreshing though to have characters that are quite likable, you’d not mind them surviving for once. They are just looking for a good time, and in the typical slasher way they get more trouble than they deserve.

As a fan of the slasher sub-genre it’s actually quite nice to be able to find older films that I’ve not yet seen and actually manage to give a more unique slant on what is basically a sequence of kill scenes stuck together with a plot created to give it some narrative structure. The killer is quite memorable and intriguing and the finale is one of the creepiest I’ve seen – which all adds up to me being able to recommend it as a film to track down if you are a horror fan.

This remastered Blu-ray release of Tourist Trap from 88 Films features a new HD Transfer in 1.85:1, DTS-HD MA Remixed 5.1 soundtrack and LPCM Stereo 2.0 soundtrack, audio commentary by director David Schmoeller, interview with David Schmoeller, original trailer, booklet notes by Calum Waddell; and the usual reversible Sleeve incorporating original art.

Tourist Trap is released on Blu-ray on April 21st. The film is out now on DVD.


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