Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tourist Trap (1979)

Tourist Trap (or as I like to call it, When Mannequins Attack!) is a creepy movie about a group of 20-somethings that get stranded at an old fashioned "tourist trap." This particular tourist trap is a museum that features lots and lots of realistic mannequins, lovingly tended to by the charming Mr. Slausen.

After getting a flat tire on an old highway, Woody heads off to get help, leaving his girlfriend Eileen behind to wait for their friends to catch up. He finds a seemingly abandoned gas station, until he is locked in a room with laughing mannequins. Knives, vases, and other various sharp objects start whizzing by poor Woody, until he is finally shish-kabobed by a steel pipe through his back.

Back at the car, Eileen is working on her tan until her friends Becky, Jerry and Molly pull up in their car. They decide to go look for Woody in Jerry's car, and end up near a tourist spot called Slausen's Lost Oasis. Suddenly the car dies, and while Jerry attempts to fix it, the girls go skinny dipping in a lagoon. Mr. Slausen shows up shotgun in hand, but he is very charming and friendly. Molly is soon smitten with him. Mr. Slausen offers to fix their car if they will come back to his place while he fetches some tools. They agree and soon they are admiring his mannequin museum at his Oasis.

Jerry and Mr. Slausen go back to try and fix the car, but not before Mr. Slausen firmly suggests the girls sit tight. Eileen is creeped out and takes off to go look for Woody. Bad choice, Eileen...she is soon turned into a creepy mannequin by a masked killer.

Back at Slausen's, Becky and Molly worry about Eileen and about Mr. Slausen's reaction when he finds her gone. Sure enough, Mr. Slausen returns and is a little peeved to find Eileen missing. He goes out to look for her, telling the girls that Jerry has taken his truck into town so they are to stay put and wait. Mr. Slausen finds Eileen the Mannequin in his house, but lies to Becky and Molly, saying he couldn't find her. He leaves again, explaining he will go look for Eileen some more.

Becky finds Mr. Slausen's mausoleum of mannequins disturbing, so she convinces Molly to go down to the house with her to look for Eileen. Once there, they think they hear Eileen and Woody in an upstairs bedroom. Becky naturally wants to give them a good scare, but Molly goes back to the museum to wait for Mr. Slausen.

Becky winds up coming face to face with a masked weirdo as he makes his mannequins attack her. The mannequins surround Becky, moving their eyes and mouths, singing in high pitched voices. Becky is knocked out and ends up waking up in the basement. Jerry is also down there, as is a hitchhiker named Tina. They are all tied up, except Tina is a little worse off than Becky or Jerry because she is tied down to a table. Looks like our Masked Mannequin Man is planning on having some fun with her! He arrives in yet another creepy mask and proceeds to pour plaster over Tina's face, explaining to her that when her mouth and nose are covered up and she can no longer breathe, she will panic and her heart will explode. Well, he was right...

People start getting axed by the masked weirdo left and right...will anyone ever escape the Tourist Trap?

You know, I wasn't really into this movie the first time watching it, but thinking about it more and more, it's pretty frickin' sweet. When the mannequins start moving around, it is pretty eerie. Slausen's mask choices are also very creepy. They are completely expressionless but made-up to the nines. This movie has tones of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Friday the 13th and Carrie (the whole moving-objects-with-the-mind angle).

Tourist Trap is a hidden gem that's well worth seeking out!

Order it on Amazon!

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