90 min., 1979
Written by David Schmoeller/J. Larry Carroll
Directed by David Schmoeller
My rating: ★★★★
Mix a bit Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Carrie and weird mannequins and you have Tourist Trap.
* * *
We begin with a man, Woody (Keith McDermott), walking with a flat tire. He walks into a gas station/bar looking for help. He hears something from the backroom and goes to check it out. While back there mannequins start popping out of everywhere and laughing at him. The door is locked and as he is trying to get out things start flying at him, including a pipe which impales him. We then switch to a woman, Eileen (Robin Sherwood), sitting at the car waiting for Woody to get back. A car pulls up with her friends, Jerry (Jon Van Ness), Molly (Jocelyn Jones) and Becky (Tanya Roberts). After a little talking they decide to move ahead where they bump into Mr. Slausen (Chuck Connors). He takes them to his place and shows them his “collection” of mannequins. After some more talking Mr. Slausen takes Jerry to help him and Eileen doesn’t listen to Mr. Slausen to not go to the nearby house. What will Eileen find in the house and who is this brother that Mr. Slausen keeps talking about?
The biggest surprise for me is that the acting is weakest part about this movie. I was expecting the effects to have aged extremely poorly, but it’s the acting that suffers the most from age, and just poor acting/dialogue to begin with. The only one that really stands out is Chuck Connors. He plays his role very well being kind but very awkward at the same time. You never really know what’s going through his head, but that is a really good thing. Now the rest of the cast really leaves a whole lot to be desired. Jocelyn Jones looks, most of the time, like a deer caught in headlights and even when she doesn’t look that way she just looks lost. Jon Van Ness and Tanya Roberts both do passable jobs, but like Jocelyn they seem very lost most of the time.
Like I said in the last paragraph, I was expecting the effects to be the most painful thing about the movie, but to my surprise they are one of the best things about it. Now I don’t have a fear of mannequins, but I can understand how this movie may create those fears in a younger audience. Those fucking mannequins can be quite creepy and made me question if I should ever trust one again. Other than that the effects are pretty mediocre and really left no impression on me. But those mannequins really do a number.
From the beginning of the movie it’s pretty hard to take very seriously, with the silly dialogue, the decisions that the characters make are very by the numbers and you can kinda figure out what is going on pretty early on, but as it moves along the use of mannequins and the madness the comes out in some of the characters really makes it very enjoyable, both in the joking way and in the creepy movie way. If you can get past the poor acting/dialogue you can find a great movie here with some really messed up mannequin use and the cracker scene is just fucking awesome.Have You Read...?