Blu-ray Review: TOURIST TRAP (1979)

PrintE-mail Written by Julian White

Tourist Trap Review

REVIEW: TOURIST TRAP / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DAVID SCHMOELLER / SCREENPLAY: DAVID SCHMOELLE, J. LARRY CARROLL / STARRING: CHUCK CONNORS, TANYA ROBERTS, JOCELYN JONES / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 21st

Since its release in 1979, this film has garnered a small but devoted cult following, with none other than Stephen King himself as number one fan, and it's easy to see why. For starters, there's the glorious unlikelihood of the casting, which sees granite-jawed Western legend Chuck Connors (The Big Country) and Bond girl Tanya Roberts gathered together under one rickety roof.

Then there's the story. Admittedly, this might, at first glance, seem a little humdrum. When a group of kids on a road trip suffer a mysterious mechanical failure, kindly old Mr Slausen (Connors) is on hand to invite them back to his dusty roadside museum in a right neighbourly fashion. But before he can break out the Dr Pepper, their numbers are being thinned by a mysterious villain who wants to turn them into waxworks. Well, now that you mention it, Mr Slausen does happen to have a crazy brother – maybe he's got something to do with it…

So far, so ordinary. But this is to reckon without the aforementioned villain, who has to rank as one of the most bizarre in what was a very good decade for cinematic monsters. Massive, masked, but also nattily suited and elaborately coiffed, with a sideline in crossdressing, he's like a camp, Liberace-ish version of Leatherface. Like Leatherface, he's superhumanly strong, but he also has telekinetic powers which he uses to control (and have long, whimsical tea parties with) the waxworks he creates.

Although delivering a relatively restrained movie by the standards of co-producer Charles Band, director David Schmoeller makes the most of this weird baddie's constantly jarring presence to create a sense of mounting insanity. The mannequins, some with glowing eyes, some with clacking jaws, are very creepy too. Chuck Connors – always a very endearing character throughout his long career – gets plenty of screen time and gives a tour de force performance. As for Tanya Roberts, she trots around gracefully in a tube top and cut off jeans which look spray-painted on, and that's about all there is to be said about her.

True, Tourist Trap is rather rough around the edges, and the storyline has a bad habit of tying itself – or rather its young cast – in near-inextricable knots. But it's engaging, unexpected and memorable. This is risky, seat-of-the-pants filmmaking the way they used to do it back in the '70s, and you'd be a dummy to miss it. The HD transfer is a little soft and grainy, but shows some improvement in vividness and clarity over the DVD release. Extras include a glossy new 25-minute interview with the director packed full of interesting trivia about the movie.

Extras: Audio commentary / The Making of Tourist Trap / Stills trailer

 


Suggested Articles:
Justin Barber uses the world famous Phoenix UFO incident, when literally thousands of people saw a t
1931’s The Public Enemy is still at this stage one of the best gangster films ever made. James Cag
Although this collection is entitled Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Season 1 Complete Collection it actually contai
Blade Runner has re-spawned quite a bit since it originally limped out to mixed reviews in 1982. Suc
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

PHOENIX FORGOTTEN 21 September 2017

THE PUBLIC ENEMY 20 September 2017

YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL SEASON 1 COMPLETE COLLECTION 20 September 2017

BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (4K ULTRA HD) 20 September 2017

KILL BABY KILL 20 September 2017

POWER RANGERS DINO CHARGE: RISE - VOLUME 4 20 September 2017

FOOD WARS! SEASON 1 18 September 2017

GUARDIANS 17 September 2017

THE DOCTORS: THE TOM BAKER YEARS 17 September 2017

GRANNY OF THE DEAD 16 September 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner