The Horror Honeys: Saturday Creature Feature with Suzanne!

Saturday Creature Feature with Suzanne!

Tourist Trap (1979)

We’re taking a road trip, my spooky darlings! I’m not sure where we’re headed, but on the way, we’ll stop and see Peavy’s Monster Mart, the World’s Largest Jack-in-the-Box, and Nicholas Cage’s Tombs for our Revenge Honey, Linnie. Yes, that’s a thing and no, he’s not dead. Maybe, if you behave in the car, we’ll stop at Slausen’s Lost Oasis. Mr. Slausen has an amazing array of life-like wax statues. I sure hope we don’t have car trouble though. Those wax figures are a little too life-like.

Five 70s attractive friends are driving to parts unknown. Eileen and Woody (Robin Sherwood and Keith McDermott), who are in their own vehicle, have a flat. Woody takes the tire to a nearby gas station and meets with a bizarre accident. Eileen gets picked up by the other three, Becky (Tanya Roberts), Jerry (Jon Van Ness), and Molly (Jocelyn Jones), and they drive off in search of Woody. What they find, after their car mysteriously stops running, is a little slice of heaven in the middle of the desert. The girls go skinny dipping as Jerry attempts to fix the car, but he’s a law student, guys, not a mechanic. 

As the ladies frolic naked in the pond, splashing each other, as we ladies tend to do, they encounter Mr. Slausen (Chuck Connors), owner of said pond. He comes bearing a shotgun and some friendly advice about trespassing, which the girls soon heed. He takes them all back to his wax museum where, along with some animatronic wild west figures, they also see the creepy visage of Slausen’s dead wife.

The whole more horror-appropriate car is a VW Bus...
Slausen claims his brother, Davey, created all of the figures, but is now working in the city, but is he really? As the friends stupidly explore on their own, they meet more of Slausen’s mannequins, who seem to be alive and murderous.

Those who initially get away are soon stalked by a large figure in a doll mask. This figure claims to be none other than Slausen’s brother. He not only creates the figures, he can make them move with the power of telekinesis!

Tourist Trap is clever in its premise, but it’s corny in its execution. If The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and House of Wax had a developmentally disabled baby, this would be it. 

Fun for the whole family! Nightmares at no additional cost!
Tough guy Chuck Connors delivers an interesting performance. Granted, he was playing two characters with at least four personalities. The rest of the cast is pretty inconsequential, except Jones’ Molly, the object of Slausen’s desire and potential replacement for his dead wife.

The mannequins are just that, with a few modifications to make them look like life-sized ventriloquist dummies. That modification, along with some unsettling sighing and singing, certainly do contribute to some terrifying imagery. In a few instances where a large number of mannequins are in the shot, there are a few live actors interspersed to create the illusion of the figures coming to life.

I KNEW John Davidson was a wax figure!
This isn’t your typical late 70s slasher. Tourist Trap is not especially bloody and if you’re looking for T&A, you won’t find it here. Even Tanya Roberts manages to keep her tube top up for the entire film. That may be the most impressive special effect of all.

You can watch Tourist Trap on Amazon Instant Video and streaming on Shudder. It is also available on DVD and BD, but if you plan to buy it, I advise getting the DVD. The recently released BD was edited and several minutes of footage removed without the authorization of the director. 

Have you visited Tourist Trap?
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