Cast and Crew: Charles Band (Producer); Irwin Yablans (Executive Producer); Pino Donaggio (Score); Tanya Roberts, Albert Band
What It’s About: Mr. Slausen (Chuck Connors) is the owner of a defunct “tourist trap” on an old highway. The former attraction is full of mannequins, wax figures and junk. A group of young adults are brought to Slausen’s “trap” when one of their two cars gets a flat. Soon a man in mask and several ill-chosen costumes-an Abe Lincoln outfit, drag, and even their dead friends, is capturing the gang and preparing to turn them into mannequins. Can they survive long enough to discover who is Slausen’s brother, what happened to Slausen’s wife, and just who is “Davey” who lives off in a nearby house?
Why Watch it Today?: TV and character actor Chuck Connors was born on this date in 1921. Here his “good guy” TV image is put to good use, as it gives at least a reasonable amount of doubt in our minds as to the identity of the killer. Tourist Trap is not a great entry in the early slasher boom created by Halloween, but it’s an interesting (if frustratingly vague) one that draws on earlier genre greats Psycho and House of Wax for some of its inspiration and chills while also including some then in-vogue telekinesis à la Carrie. If you are a fan of horror curios or have fond memories of Chuck Connors you’d like twisted a little, this isn’t a bad choice.
Other Choices:Connors plays a heavy in previous Movie of the Day Soylent Green
Heh. “Not a great entry”, indeed. Still, it’s not the worst horror film from that era, I’d say. Still, I’d double this up with Motel Hell on a rainy weekend for laughs.
If they made it just a little more coherent I think it would have been a great one. Instead it’s kind of a mish mash of different horror elements that never really comes together or makes a lot of sense, but it’s fun to scratch your head along with it.