Tourist Trap (1979)

Article 4535 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-15-2014
Directed by David Schmoeller
Featuring Chuck Connors, Jocelyn Jones, Jon Van Ness
Country: USA
What it is: Horror thriller

A group of teenagers on a trip find themselves stranded at a remote rustic museum full of wax figures with a madman on the loose… and the latter has telekinetic powers.

The basic premise here is a very familiar seventies/eighties horror theme; young people in a remote isolated location being threatened by one or more homicidal maniacs; the telekinetic ability could be just an added twist to the mix. There’s also a number of plot twists that certainly won’t be surprising. Nevertheless, there’s a downright strange vibe to this one that sets it apart from the mix. It’s anchored by an interesting performance by Chuck Connors, who finds levels and quirks in his character that you don’t often see in horror movies. It also turns oddly comic at unexpected times, and the mood switch is a bit jarring, but perhaps not inappropriately so. The telekinesis is mostly used to make the various mannequins and wax figures come to life, an effect which is distinctly eerie. It doesn’t quite hit the heights of horror it aspires to, but it is fascinatingly eerie, and is quite watchable. This one was really a lot better than I expected.

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