Monday, September 10, 2018

Short Attention Span Review: Tourist Trap (1979)

Short Attention Span Review: Tourist Trap (1979)

This is one of those older horror films with a woefully misleading PG rating.  Seriously, I have no idea what the MPAA was thinking.  It isn't all that gory, true, but it is bloody, and the movie is very dark and very intense, with at least one deeply traumatizing death scene.  It is also sadistic and incredibly creepy, and anyone who is bothered by mannequins should steer clear of this ghoulish sleeper from 1979.  The premise is kooky and there are a few flaws in the execution, but it is easy to forgive any shortcomings in light of the dreadful atmosphere and the eerie tone of Tourist Trap.  Chuck Connors did a fine job anchoring the piece, and he got a big assist from a young cast of unknowns that included the gorgeous Tanya Roberts and established Jocelyn Jones as a legitimate talent.  The direction from David Schmoeller and the effects work serve as the backbone of the ghastly affair, and the picture gets a boost from the malicious tone that keeps the viewer riveted for the duration of the show.  This is more in the vein of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre than a slasher flick, but the supernatural element really sets it apart.  All things considered, Tourist Trap is wildly unique and decidedly grim, and it is a shame that it doesn't enjoy the fanfare it rightfully deserves.  While it has a modest cult following, it is quite the low-budget powerhouse, generating big scares and growing stranger and more frightful with every minute that passes.  An unnerving script, fine direction, some quality performances, and a nerve-jangling descent into terror?  You know this one is a hit in my book.

Final Grade: B

Tourist Trap is a real oddity, and it is creepy as hell.  People who are unnerved by mannequins will be scarred for life after a single viewing.

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