Horror Movie Review: Tourist Trap (1979)

An odd movie, in that it is part slasher and part supernatural horror, Tourist Trap comes from director David Schmoeller, who co-wrote it with J. Larry Carroll.

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The movie begins with Woody (Keith McDermott) arriving at a small gas station after he and his girlfriend, Eileen (Robin Sherwood) broke down. It seems deserted, but as he looks around, he finds a room with various mannequins inside. An unseen force then closes the door, the mannequins start to taunt him, and he is impaled by a metal pipe.

Meanwhile, Eileen is picked up by friends Becky (Tanya Roberts), Jerry (Jon Van Nass), and Molly (Jocelyn Jones) and they head off to find Woody.

Instead of finding Woody though, they also break down after finding a tourist trap where they meet the kindly Mr Slausen (Chuck Connors). He offers to help fix the car, but first takes the girls back to his home, a waxwork figure museum to wait for him and Jerry. He’s happy to leave them alone there provided they don’t go near the house a little ways down the path.

It’s warning that is, of course, ignored. Setting off a chain of events that see the girls being hunted by a masked individual who seems to have the power to move objects with his mind.

Every part of that description sounds like your standard slasher, yet seemingly to differentiate itself from other horrors, Tourist Trap throws in the random telekinetic powers angle. Added, apparently, after the original screenplay was finished. It’s hard to understand why, as it doesn’t add anything (aside from more confusion) to the film. This is a slasher horror where the killer’s identity is kept hidden up until the final third.

With such a familiar angle, it’s no surprise that Tourist Trap sticks to the rules of slasher flicks. Yet, thanks to uninteresting characters and an underutilised location, it ends up being quite dull. This isn’t the fault of the actors, who are all pretty good, but rather the story. Which drags its heels and refuses to resolve itself way sooner than it actually does. By time minute 70 is hit in this 90-minute movie, most will have started to check out.

Especially as the killer has been revealed and the motivations are there. Are you hoping for an explanation of the telekinetic powers? You’re not going to get it. They were jammed in and they feel jammed in.

Overall, there is nothing inherently wrong with Tourist Trap. It’s a dull, uninteresting, but serviceable slasher horror with some odd turns.


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Tourist Trap (1979)
  • The Final Score - 5/10
User Review
9.07/10 (3 votes)