Sometimes it is Best to Keep Going – Tourist Trap (1979)

There have been innumerable horror movies about hapless, unknowing tourists and travellers getting themselves into trouble in out of the way places that one has to wonder if people will ever stop vacationing or if this particular sub-genre will ever get worn out. The fact that they continue to get made one after the other with no end in sight suggests not and as long as these films have something a little different to say than the one previous like Tourist Trap does, then people will continue to watch them.
Beginning with an almost innocent and idyllic atmosphere, the film finds a group friends travelling through a particularly quiet piece of countryside, a once busy locale that tourists used to frequent, looking for their friend that has gone missing, not knowing that he had just met with a very unfortunate end. Meeting up with Slausen played by Chuck Connors, the friends, among them Tanya Roberts, accept his help and hospitality; especially after their car breaks down, never knowing that they would be tormented by a telekinetic, mannequin-making, mask-wearing, psychotic murderer. Even worse, they are soon forsaken by the man they put their faith in until all but one is dead.

Though the movie features more than a few clichés and will seem familiar to any who have watched more than one that run in the genre, it still manages to be fairly scary at times and more than a little creepy, especially when it comes to Connors. Slausen seems like a normal guy, a real down-to-earth sort of fellow that has had a bit of bad luck of late, but a man who does not let things get him down. That being said, Connors gives the man a bit of an edge and there are times when it seems like he is being just a little bit too helpful towards the group of friends, a little too clingy and too interested in the girls specifically. The man is creepy to say the least and Connors plays the role to perfection until his true self is finally revealed. He is perhaps, even more frightening than his brother for the simple fact that his brother is who he seems while Slausen hides his true nature and when a person is betrayed by another that they trust, it makes it all the more worse. That is not to say that the mannequins are any less scary, but both the men and the oversized dolls provide a good deal of fright.

Though it may seem played out at times, the vacation/trip through obscure territories genre of horror can still be a lot of fun if given something new to feature. Most of them will have nothing new to say, this one included, but seeing a different type of villain than just the average monster in the woods tends to bolster it from throwaway to must-watch. Tourist Trap is worth a visit, especially if there is a lack of scary dolls/clowns/mannequins in one’s visual diet.

3 out of 5

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