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73 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See my Friend! Molly!
One of the best horror films of the 1970's has finally been given a long overdue home video makeover. TOURIST TRAP is the most frightening movie ever made about mannequins, and a classic example that a low budget can be a horror film's greatest asset. In today's predictable, estrogen-driven MTV style of filmmaking wherein the writers believe that blood, gore, and...
Published on January 21, 2000 by TCG

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: Tourist Trap 1979 Full Moon Blu-Ray - DON'T BUY - EDITED VERSION
Don't buy the Full Moon Blu-Ray release of this film, look for an older DVD release. The movie itself is great, truly worth seeking out. A real treat for the seasoned or casual horror fan, but the Full Moon Blu-Ray version is horrible. The movie is missing 5 minutes! the run time on the Blu-Ray disc is exactly 85 minutes, although this is supposed to be a 90 minute film...
Published 7 months ago by Laura D.


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73 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See my Friend! Molly!, January 21, 2000
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This review is from: Tourist Trap (DVD)
One of the best horror films of the 1970's has finally been given a long overdue home video makeover. TOURIST TRAP is the most frightening movie ever made about mannequins, and a classic example that a low budget can be a horror film's greatest asset. In today's predictable, estrogen-driven MTV style of filmmaking wherein the writers believe that blood, gore, and throwaway lines are the ingredients necessary to make a horror film, TOURIST TRAP blows that notion out of the water. The film possesses an air of originality thanks to Nicholas Von Sternberg's beautiful visual style and superb editing by Ted Nicolaou. The story itself is similar to PSYCHO, but it's done with such pinache that one might not initially realize it. Brian DePalma's SISTERS (1973) is another great PSYCHO inspiration that you should check out if you already have not.
I first saw this movie one Saturday afternoon on TV in the mid-80's and it left one hell of an impression on me. It begins with what is unquestionably one of the most bizarre and frightening openings ever done in a horror film. A group of friends are on vacation when one of their tires blows out. Woody, the driver, walks to a gas station to get some help, but he finds himself in a situation that would give just about anyone a heart attack.
Enter Chuck Connors. He gives a wonderful and ultimately surprisingly sympathetic performance as Mr. Slausen, a congenial and charming gentleman who owns a now-defunct roadside souvenir shop/wax museum. When he meets up with Woody's friends who are concerned about Woody's whereabouts, Mr. Slausen comes to the rescue, but a series of horrendously bizarre events begin to transpire. As the story progresses, the natural inclination on the part of the viewer is to refute the plausibility of the bizarre set pieces that slowly mount. I find that if you watch it from the standpoint of falling asleep and having a nightmare about mannequins that come to life, this film is much more frightening and enjoyable.
When I was seven, I used to play in my grandmother's basement that was populated by some truly horrific dolls. One of them had outstretched hands with no hair that walked when you wound it up, and let me tell you - they were frightening. This film has that kind of effect.
This film inexplicably received a PG rating during its theatrical release which, the director states, killed it at the box office. I would have demanded an R rating if I were him! While the film contains no overt bloodshed, one of the murders is particularly gruesome and cruel (that's not counting the opening scene!)
The DVD transfer of this film is a revelation. Colors that were originally muted on the old 16mm faded prints that made the rounds on late night cable are now rich and vibrant. Pino Donaggio's score, which is one of the best elements in the film, comes through in full force. As a bonus, director David Schmoeller gives a running commentary throughout the film, though I wish he divulged more information than he actually does. Although he mentions TOURIST TRAP's origins - a film school thesis project called THE SPIDER WILL KILL YOU - he fails to disclose the film's budget. Disappointingly, why wasn't this thesis film included on the DVD? Why does the DVD state that it contains 40 trailers to other horror films when I can only access seven?
Despite my carpings, the DVD is well worth the asking price. The trailer for TOURIST TRAP is included.
For those of you who love gaffes, check out the left side of the screen at the 72:52 point during Tanya Robert's death scene. A stage hand can be seen behind a pane of glass.
Forget SCREAM and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. If you don't have a DVD player yet, this is one reason to purchase one. The film is currently out of print on VHS, but VHS stinks anyway!
Thank you, David Schmoeller, for making one of the best horror films EVER.
TOURIST TRAP is superb.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get Caught in the TRAP!, July 23, 2003
By 
Brett D. Cullum (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Tourist Trap (DVD)
THE TOURIST TRAP was mentioned by STEPHEN KING as one of his favorite movies. It was supposed to reinvent Chuck Connors as a Lon Chaney for the 1980s. It didn't do great at the box office, because ... well it was surrounded by other slasher flicks that were R-rated, and despite what it says on the box this only earned a PG. But it has endured to become a cult classic, largely due to the fact it was easily shown on television (don't have to cut much out!).
It's a creepy little story about a group of teens who get stranded on a lonely highway, and taken to a curious wax museum where they are picked off one by one in order of their sexual promiscuity. Sounds pretty typical for 80s horror, but this one has the killer having telekinetic powers so that objects fly, manequins scream, and mayhem breaks out. The climax is very different from its peer group! The last shot of the movie burns into your mind, and suddenly you realize ... TOURIST TRAP ain't a bad place to find some shivers! Kinda like CARRIE crossed with HALLOWEEN! Odd note is that Dino Pinaggio who scored CARRIE also worked on the music for this one.
This DVD version features a wide-screen transfer, and commentary by the director. And it's cheap! You get a lot of bang for the buck here. If you're a horror fan this is a must. If you don't like the gore in most horror movies this is a must! It's a creepy classic that should have everybody caught in its spell.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: Tourist Trap 1979 Full Moon Blu-Ray - DON'T BUY - EDITED VERSION, June 7, 2014
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This review is from: Tourist Trap [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Don't buy the Full Moon Blu-Ray release of this film, look for an older DVD release. The movie itself is great, truly worth seeking out. A real treat for the seasoned or casual horror fan, but the Full Moon Blu-Ray version is horrible. The movie is missing 5 minutes! the run time on the Blu-Ray disc is exactly 85 minutes, although this is supposed to be a 90 minute film! The picture and sound quality is terrible as well. I regret purchasing this Blu-Ray, and I wish I just stuck with my unedited DVD copy. Don't support Full Moon's garbage releases, or they will just keep taking advantage of their fans. I'll never buy another disc from Full Moon again.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disc is missing five minutes, has a terrible bitrate and has numerous frame rate problems, April 19, 2014
This review is from: Tourist Trap [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
There are five minutes mysteriously deleted from this edition of Tourist Trap, as well as several frame rate conversion errors. In addition the disc has a paltry file size of just over 9 GB for the film itself - barely better than a dual-layer DVD! - and a correspondingly anemic bitrate. Avoid this release at all costs, it is a typical Full Moon con job!
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an effective rip-off, May 27, 2001
This review is from: Tourist Trap (DVD)
Like many reviewers have already stated here, "Tourist Trap" is the kind of movie you see as a little kid and have horrifying flashbacks of, even years later. It's a testament to this film's intense settings and mounting suspense that it's still regarded so highly today, because not much of it is original.
Director David Schmoeller, who got a tour-de-force performance out of Klaus Kinski in "Crawlspace," does the same with aging rifleman Chuck Connors. He plays Slausen, a lonely yet kind man who runs a curio shop in the middle of nowhere. A group of teens show up quickly enough with the requisite car trouble, and Slausen shows hospitality but can't warn them enough about staying away from a nearby farmhouse. In typically predictable fashion (once night rolls around, of course) the teens start to disappear and will--at one point or another--come face to face with "Davey," Slausen's alleged brother who turns his unfortunate victims into mannequins.
Sound familiar? It goes without saying that a bulk of "Tourist Trap" is ripped directly from "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," but manages to stand on its own. The supporting actors make a genuine attempt to be more than one-dimensional mannequin fodder, Pino Donaggio's score is effectively creepy, and the settings are terrifying in their realism (the farmhouse populated with mannequins is the stuff nightmares are made of). Schmoeller builds suspense beautifully here, and for once makes the dead of night seem brilliantly unpredictable, instead of the opposite.
In short, "Tourist Trap" is as potent today as it was over 20 years ago. The remastered DVD looks great, has sufficient extras, and can be found pretty cheap (depending on where you look). This is a treat for genre fans--sure, it isn't very original, but you're not likely to see many films more intense than this.
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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Low budget creepfest, January 1, 2004
This review is from: Tourist Trap (DVD)
Ahhh, tourist traps! Those ramshackle buildings hugging the sides of state highways all across this great land of ours, places where you pay through the nose to see the world's biggest ball of used bubblegum, or sculptures of American presidents made out of navel lint. Who wouldn't want to shell out a few traveler's checks to see the only preserved Sasquatch in existence only to discover it looks like your rolled up entryway rug with a wig placed on top? No matter what your destination, whether a secluded little hideaway with your significant other or a march across the country with five kids in the backseat, the lure of the tourist trap is often too strong to resist. Especially for that one feebleminded passenger found on every lengthy trip, the one who messes with the radio stations and has to go to the bathroom every five minutes. If you anticipate problems in this area on your next vacation, pick up a copy of "The Tourist Trap" on DVD and show it to the family before backing the car out of the garage. I would be surprised if they still want to stop and see the largest collection of used cat litter after viewing this nightmarish movie.
To be fair, sometimes you cannot help but stumble over a tourist trap. What happens if you get a flat tire and the only place to phone for help turns out to be a museum full of odd mannequins? That is exactly what happens to the hapless travelers found in David Schmoeller's "The Tourist Trap." An unfortunate puncture at an inopportune time finds a gaggle of young people--the most noticeable being a very young and very curvy Tanya Roberts--rolling into Slausen's Museum, a boarded up tourist site presided over by the (who else) lumbering Mr. Slausen (Chuck Conners). Nothing seems amiss at first, as the owner of the tourist spot hands out drinks to the exhausted travelers and promises to help them fix their car. When several of the young people express interest in the mannequins, Slausen is only too happy to show them off. As he walks out the door with the only male member of the gang, he warns the ladies to wait for them to return. Moreover, he strongly advises the girls to stay inside since coyotes roam the area and he doesn't want anyone to get hurt. Predicatably, one of the girls almost immediately disobeys orders by heading over to a huge mansion behind the museum. Curiosity killed the cat, so to speak, and it might do the same to busty young ladies who don't keep their nose where it belongs.
When their inquisitive friend fails to return, Becky and Molly (Tanya Roberts and Jocelyn Jones, respectively) head over to the house to investigate. The house and museum sit in the middle of a heavily forested area, which looks mighty creepy late at night. Shrugging off the spooky surroundings, Becky enters the house in search of her friend despite Molly's whispered warnings. Molly reluctantly returns to the museum, thereby missing the unfolding horror in the seemingly abandoned mansion. It turns out that Slausen's crazy brother Dave lives there, a man who doesn't take kindly to strangers snooping around his mannequin-making factory. Dave Slausen has a penchant for wearing masks himself, as Becky soon discovers when the insane man captures her and ties her up in the basement (where Jerry, the aforementioned male member of the quartet, resides as well). Becky and Jerry soon discover that Slausen has telekinetic powers, which he uses to move objects and mannequins around at will, and they also notice he has a yearning to turn human beings into mannequins even if it means committing murder to do it. Things are not what they seem in this movie, with revelations occurring constantly against a backdrop of plot twists and turns. The conclusion alone makes picking up this DVD a necessity.
The performances, with the exception of Chuck Conners and Jocelyn Jones, are mostly forgettable. Jones as the goody-goody Molly and Conners as the omnipresent Slausen elevate "The Tourist Trap" above the run of the mill slasher/low budget horror flick. After seeing Jones shriek and scream through the last quarter of the movie, I wondered why she never attained the type of scream queen status accorded to the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis. She does a wonderful job here, neatly playing off of Conners's creepy turn as the enigmatic museum owner. Who knew Conners had it in him to play such a sick, offbeat role? Too bad he didn't follow this movie up with a few other equally deviant performances. As for Tanya Roberts, well, she does parade around through the woods in a pair of cut off shorts and a tube top, so I guess we cannot complain too much. She made this movie immediately before signing up for the last season of "Charlie's Angels," and the two projects couldn't be further apart in terms of subject matter.
I take exception with people who claim that the picture quality is great on this DVD. It isn't, not by a long shot, but for some reason this is one of the few times where a grainy hue helped give a movie great atmosphere. I'm not sure I would want to see this sleazy little gem with a crystal clear picture. Happily, the amazing score by Pino Donaggio sounds great, achieving as it does a spectacular mix of lazy whimsy and eerie sweep. The DVD itself sports an interview with director Schmoeller, a collection of schlock trailers, cast bios and filmographies, and a few other minor goodies. Note: don't watch the interview with the director before you watch the movie. It contains spoilers that will ruin the whole experience. If you like horror, be sure and check this little movie out as soon as possible.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, But No Masterpiece., October 27, 2005
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This review is from: Tourist Trap (DVD)
When you go into a movie, you can go in two different ways. You can go in to it not expecting too much or you can go into it expecting a lot. After reading reviews for "The Tourist Trap" I decided to check it out. While the movie wasn't the worst I've seen in that genre it's far from the best.

What you do expect from almost every horror movie made between 1978 and 1983 is delievered here, bad acting, cheesy effects and a trite story line.

Synopsis: Four young travelers come upon an old, abandoned gas station that turns out to be a creepy, deserted wax museum. When Mr. Slausen (Chuck Connors), the owner of the macabre museum, lures the tourists into what he calls Slausen's Lost Oasis, mannequins begin to come to life and one by one the tourists become victim to the killer.

The movie's strong point is that of the mannequins themsleves. Very creepy and lifelike which gives you an uneasy feeling throughout the film. Perhaps I went into the film expecting too much and therefore was a bit disappointed. I would recommend this film to lovers of the late 70's and early 80's cheesy slasher flicks that we all know and love. You'll most likely enjoy "The Tourist Trap" if you don't go in expecting too much. Worth an evening.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stop in at Slausen's for a Fun Ol' Time, February 14, 2008
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This review is from: Tourist Trap (DVD)
3.5 Stars.

Aaaah, the Seventies. Horror from this decade had such a particular 'vibe' to it. "Tourist Trap" is no exception. It oozes all the grand fun of a cheesy 1970's shockfest. And what's more, it's not completely bad. After a head-scratcher of an opening in which a poor lad is done in by objects that should be inanimate, we meet our group of happy travelers. The kids need help with their car, and the kindly proprietor of the old wax museum is glad to be of service. What follows is a blend of Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Carrie, and the original House of Wax.

There''s not much original material here but a few things elevate this above the usual slasher fare. Chuck Connors is enjoyable, with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. And Pino Donaggio's frenetic score is unsettling and appropriate (he had also scored Carrie, and his music seems like a cousin to Bernard Hermann's score for Psycho).

"Tourist Trap" plays by the rules of horror films: The kids poke their noses where they shouldn't, and pay the price. Nothing is what it seems. Strangers offering assistance can only lead to danger. Endings aren't always happy or tidy.
Maybe this film is cheesy and predictable, but there is something about it that makes it more enjoyable than many other horror features of the same era. Maybe it's the mannequins, or the horrible voice of brother Dave, or Chuck Connors. You either love it or loathe it, I guess.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars very odd, July 13, 2006
This review is from: Tourist Trap (DVD)
Tourist Trap is a fairly unusual film dressed up as a slasher flick, but in fact it's more imaginative than that. Sadly, it was not very successful at the time of it's release, but it might be the fact that it's hard to work out what's actually going on that works too much against it. It's also a bit hokey at times, but the overall feeeling is definitely creepy. The film centres around a very remote wax museum that a group of friends come across after getting lost on a long cross-country drive. The owner of the museum seems kindly, if a little weird. And the statues...why do they seem so lifelike?

Oh no, I'm sure you are saying, it's "House of Wax" all over again, but you'd be wrong. That's just one small influence that has been stirred together into a strange brew that makes for a pretty far-out movie. Right near the start of the film, as the group are driving along dusty roads in their jeep, you'll be treated to an amazingly weird scene when one of the friends gets trapped in a back room of a deserted gas station. This sequence involves seemingly paranormal attacks from lifeless objects and doors and windows that open and close of their own accord. But the oddest thing of all is that there are also two mannequins that seem to come to life and laugh crazily at the terrified man as he tries to escape the room. It's hard to describe this scene in writing and make it sound impressive, as it's a very ordinary room, and the mannequins are not even convincingly alive, more like rigged to move about like spook models in a cheap theme park's haunted house attraction. But the effect on screen is quite unsettling. Who would set up a booby trapped room like this in the middle of nowehere (and why), is the first question you will be asking yourself.

There are more moving mannequins later on in the film, but not until after the young group come across the museum, and they meet the owner, Mr Slausen. Chuck Conners plays the part of Slausen as someone holding onto sanity with only a very light grasp, and he makes a great contribution to the movie with his performance. He offers to help the group (lost, and with one of their number already missing), and tells them to wait at the museum while he goes home... but can he be trusted? Actually I mentioned the musuem with statues that look almost too real, but there's not really any big scenes set in the musuem itself. More importantly, the friends decide to visit Slausen's house when he does not come back, and in doing so they meet up with a hulking big attacker who wears a ghostlike face mask and a blonde curly ladies wig. He also does not speak any intelligent dialogue, so for a start you can see a direct inspiration from Leatherface out of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". But this bizarre character not only assaults the youngsters, but also seems capable of some kind of telekinetic powers - and able to make objects move by themselves. The characters who aren't ambushed by this weirdo manage to make it inside Slausen's house, only to find out that his home is odder than the actual museum, being stuffed full of even more mannequins which also seem to be able to move...

There's certainly plenty of variey of freaky things happening to the characters in "Tourist Trap". Unfortunately this has quite a disorienting affect on the viewer, as explanations or even clues towards what is happening are not this film's strong point. It also looks quite cheap, with little effort spent on animating the possessed mannequins, which are either moved via wires or jiggled about by off camera stagehands. At one point, in the scene showing the cowboy and indian statues coming to life in the museum, the dummies are actually live actors dressed in costumes and this method really doesn't work at all. But I think it's this low budget inventiveness that makes the film seem so bizarre. For example, I'm sure that it must have been too hard to make prop mannequin heads that could realistically open their mouths, so in any scenes where this happens, the bottom of the mannequins faces just drop open on a hinge leaving a giant black hole of a mouth - the effect is crude but still quite startling.

If you have a phobia about shop mannequins, then Tourist Trap will probably freak you out quite considerabley. Similarly, anyone with a fear of suffocation might want to avoid the scene in which a girl is tied down and then killed by having her face totally covered in plaster - a shocking sequence that happens all on camera and is far too realistic for my liking...I hope the actress got well-paid for it! Add to this a crazed ending and some really bonkers music (all punctated by toy workshop effects like clockwork wind-up noises and wooden clunks and pops), and you have a film of considerable originality. I can't guarantee it will appeal to all horror fans, but seek it out and you might be nicely surprised.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best horror films from the 70's & 80's, February 10, 2008
This review is from: Tourist Trap (DVD)
This was by far one of the best horror films from the late 70's. I can remember seeing this on TV on a program called "Friday Fright Night" on local television in the early 80's. Back then it scared the crap out of me and my sister. Now I look back and realize that it wasn't actually scary by today's standards, but it still has the ability to disturb and frighten like it did back then.
The horror films from this era (70's & 80's) always delivered the goods. For some reason no one can make a horror film today that compares to these gems. The acting wasn't always top notch, but if you were looking for oscar nominees you wouldn't be interested in the first place. I love this movie and would recommend it to anyone who loves horror films. Great movie!
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Tourist Trap
Tourist Trap by David Schmoeller (DVD - 1998)
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