Welcome to our first film for Full Moon Friday here at Castle Blogferatu. We’ve found a feature, phoned some friends, festooned the foyer, fixed some falafel, and fed the feral felines. Hey, I told you there’d be alliteration.
I’ve been a Full Moon freak for quite some time now.
So, I grabbed a flick from the stack I got for subscribing to the Full Moon channel, and the lucky contestant is Tourist Trap. Now, there might be a few purists out there saying, “Well, technically Tourist Trap isn’t really a Full Moon movie.”
And to those folk, let me just say that A) Tourist Trap is a Charles Band Productions flick before Band went on to helm Full Moon, B) it is in their current catalogue, and C)
“maybe manager wanna write god damn login page himself” if it bugs you that bad, start your own damn blog.
Anyhows, back to Tourist Trap. A buncha yutes are driving through a desert. Eileen and Woody are in one car whilst Becky, Jerry, and Molly are in another. Idiots. You generally don’t split the party. Clearly they’ve never played D&D.
And wouldntcha know, Eileen and Woody get a flat, so Woody fucks off in search of a gas station. And with that we bid Woody a fond farewell forever.
The other three soon come upon Eileen, and off they go to catch up with the Woodster. In their quest, they come upon a weird little wax museum, the titular tourist trap which, to the film’s credit, is exactly the kind of thing I’d totally stop for. Not kidding. Not even a little bit.
Can we just take a minute to talk about Chuck Connors? First of all, for some reason I always always always confuse him with Robert Conrad from Wild Wild West. I’m not sure why since I know Connors was The Rifleman. My point is, he’s pretty damn entertaining cast against type in Tourist Trap. For the record, I have a similar problem with James Coburn, George Kennedy, and Lee J. Cobb– weird because none of them look even remotely alike.
Also, let’s make quick mention of them fine, pre-Beastmaster acting chops of Tanya Roberts. Okay, that was quick enough I think.
But I digress.
Connors actually played for the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs. At 6’5″ he’s a hulking, imposing figure, and the way he interacts with the three women as Mr. Slausen is definitely creepazoidinal. He first comes upon them as they’re skinny dipping in a pond near the museum. Like ya do when your car breaks down in the desert somewhere out there near East Jesus State University.
Under the guise of helping them, Slausen lures our intrepid band to his bizarre little attraction. Hijinks, of course, ensue including suffocation, stabbing, axe murder, etc. And we haven’t even gotten to the fun part. The killer (who is obvious despite any attempted misdirection) is also telekinetic, so naturally, his wax mannequins move. And like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Big Bad has been at this for a minute.
Plus, it’s unsettling enough that there are mannequins in the first place. #5 of The 13 Rules Of Horror include them along with dolls and dummies. It’s worse that they’re animated. It’s even worse still that they’re animated telekinetically and possibly supernaturally (this is implied but never really developed adequately). Regardless, it ups the uncanny valley aspect of these figures, especially when their mouths move, and they laugh. Christ.
Plotwise, even though there ain’t a lot in the way of surprise, I’ll still try not to spoil anything for those of you who have yet to experience the freaky joys Tourist Trap has on display. As “slasher” fare goes, Tourist Trap is a grievously overlooked standout that does a helluva job veering away from the swathe already being cut by Halloween and Friday The 13th right around the same time.
BODIES- 6 onscreen, ? off (other mannequins, Slausen’s family)
Stream- AMC+, Prime, Shudder, Sling, Tubi