Tourist Trap

Tourist Trap (1979)
Full Moon Pictures
Cast: Chuck Connors, Tanya Roberts
Extras: Audio Commentary, Filmographies, Trailers, Interview

You often hear people say that they don’t make them like they used to, and that’s certainly the case with the psychopathic killer film. In the 70’s and early 80’s, some of the sickest psychos ever graced the screen. These villains carried out acts of depravity that wouldn’t come close to making it to the screen today. A great example of this is the psycho played by Chuck Connors in “Tourist Trap.” Connors plays Mr. Slaussen, who owns a run-down roadside attraction. When a group of teenagers have car trouble, they are forced to seek shelter at Slaussens“ place and a night of terror begins. They soon find themselves being pursued by a killer with psychic powers through a house full of lifelike mannequins.
The easiest way to describe ”Tourist Trap“ is ”Texas Chainsaw Massacre“ meets ”Psycho“ meets ”Carrie“ meets ”Mannequin“ (minus Meshach Taylor). Despite the film’s PG rating (!), it is very intense at times and contains some disturbing scenes. The mannequins are creepy and give the film an added layer of spookiness. However, some of the scenes are poorly paced (killing some of the suspense) and the film comes across as cheesy at times. But, the surprise ending is effective. Tanya Roberts does a great job of running around in a tube top (try saying ”Tanya’s Tourist Trap Tube Top“ five times fast!) and Connors is very effective as the creepy Slaussen. With it’s bizarre imagery and violent edge, it is easy to see why Stephen King has referred to ”Tourist Trap“ as his favorite film.
”Tourist Trap“ is presented in an anamorphic widescreen, and is letterboxed at 1.85:1. The picture is clear, but there are many obvious defects (scratches and dirt) on the source print. There is also some heavy graininess at times. However, some scenes (such as the nudity-less skinny dipping scene) are very clear and defect free.
The audio on ”Tourist Trap“ is a Dolby Digital 2 channel. The audio works quite well, and there is limited surround sound action during the attack scenes. The audio is well-balanced for the most part, with the dialogue clear and audible.
There are several extras on the DVD, like an audio commentary by director David Schmoeller who tells some nice anecdotes about the production, but comes across as bored and has some long periods of silence. It also features a short interview with Schmoeller, where he rehashes most of the stories from the commentary, and a commercial of the line of Full Moon action figures
While ”Tourist Trap’ certainly isn’t the best example of a 70’s psycho on the loose film, I was pleasantly surprised by it. If you like rural psycho movies, or if you find mannequins to be scary, then check it out.