Friday, September 21, 2012

Tourist Trap (1979)

" See my friend " " AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH !!!!!!!! "

In many ways similar to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Eaten Alive, Tourist Trap comes covered in dust and dementia and leaves many unanswered questions in it's wake. I was immediately drawn to it having been exposed to the weirdo on the films poster ads. That creepy and expressionless mask and wig so reminiscent of Leatherface's from the original Texas chainsaw Massacre trapped me in a void of weird wonder and wordlessly drew me into it's clutches.

I have to say, Tourist Trap is no masterpiece by any means and there are some moments that may test the capacity of your attention span depending upon how short fused you are, but for me, in my own little world, this truly creepy and unique film gets the job done and even manages to leave me feeling a little bummed when it's all over. Again, that mask and the various others donned by the enigmatic Mr. Slausen really taps into a part of my brain that leaves me slack jawed with fascination, pondering the odd and random thoughts that dominate the minds of others. How many weirdos are out there right now, at this very moment, who are putting creepy masks over their faces with lipstick and the whole nine, about to commit murder or have in their possession a well maintained larder filled to the bursting with severed limbs and baggies filled with genitalia? Perhaps, as so horrifically portrayed in 'The Road', they have a cellar in which humans are stored until the next meal is ready to be ravenously devoured.

Aside from the magical elements of the film (which are never properly explained), Tourist Trap carries with it that sinister vibe that is severely lacking in today's films. It really stands on its own with the unique characterization of its villain amidst a trend that would grow out of control in the coming years with the full on exploitation of the 80's Slasher phenomenon. Personally, I could care less if a hundred films trample over one another as they rip each other off as long as the feeling is there... the "atmosphere". For every ten films that botch the whole affair, one or maybe two will get it right and Tourist Trap does it in spades.

Tourist Trap is right up there with the many macabre movies to come out in that decade of decadence, the 1970's, and it does the era well. Some feel compelled to label it a slasher as there are a few young chicky babies who get snuffed out, though in my opinion the matter is purely circumstantial as the film is more of an atmospheric piece than it is a full on hack and slash. At times it actually plays like a made for TV movie and you find yourself expecting to be visited by Hamburger Helper and the 'Scrubbing Bubbles' at any moment throughout its duration.

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