Tanya Roberts

Tourist Trap (1979) - David Schmoeller

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Tourist Trap is really an amazing find for a couple of reasons. One, it's completely obscure and unheard of. Yeah, a couple of people might reference it here and there but it's mostly forgotten about. Some say that this movie having a PG rating really hurt it. It was easily overlooked. Two, it's scary as hell. I was genuinely scared when I watched the opening scene. It was really impressive. Stephen King is a fan of the opening scene as well.

The first thing you notice is that the music, composed by Pino Donaggio, is really bizarre and full of slide-whistles and wood blocks being knocked together. It sounded like the opening theme to a Saturday morning cartoon. You really don't expect to see a horror flick. It reminds me of something that the Italian horror masters would do. In fact the films aesthetic reminds me of Suspiria. It works. This movie is intense, crazy, and beautiful.

A group of teenagers decide to find their way through a strange private road when their vehicle breaks down. They look for help near an old, strange, roadside attraction off of an overgrown private road. The attraction has been long forgotten as the grounds are nearly abandoned. They come across an old man that lives in a museum on the property. He is pretty strange and really eager to help.

The group learns about a weird figure named Davey that lives in a big house on the property. The old man warns them about going into the house and nearly threatens them. You get the feeling that something creepy is going down. Of course the teenagers in the movie can't keep themselves from exploring the abandoned grounds. Then the weird stuff starts happening.

This movie has elements of House of Wax, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Psycho built right in. It's no wonder that this movie was forgotten. These movies were a dime a dozen during this era of horror. It doesn't have very much gore, if any. And it tends to be pretty light in that field. However, that doesn't take away from how terrifying it is. The effects are a bit over the top but they serve this movie quite well. The mannequins and wax figures are disturbing and terrifying.

I highly recommend this movie to those that really want to show-off and surprise their friends with something way off the grid. Although it comes with a PG rating, I would advise your kids to keep away from this. It will definitely give them nightmares and keep them screaming for weeks.

The script originally called for nudity, but Schmoeller said he was too bashful and embarrassed to bring it up with Tanya Roberts and the other actresses during casting. When they got to the lake scene, he finally asked them if they'd be willing. The collective answer was no. (IMDB.com) Director David Schmoeller was startled when the film received a PG rating despite its disturbing subject matter. Schmoeller stated in an interview with TerrorTrap.com that he felt the film would have been more commercially successful had it received an R rating. (IMDB.com)