Tourist Trap (1979)

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Five friends are travelling along the back roads of America looking for tourist spots to hang out at and enjoy. After one friend goes missing whilst looking for a spare wheel to replace a flat, the other four friends get in a car and go look for him. As they’re driving they come across a small hidden oasis on private property. Mr. Slausen (Chuck Connors) who owns the land the oasis is on, finds them and asks where they have come from. He invites them into his home, telling them they can wait there while he helps repair their car.

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Mr. Slausen also runs a roadside museum, full of an assortment of wax dummies. He tells the group that he used to run it with his brother who left long ago to make dummies for some of the bigger companies. He asks that while he goes with one of the group, Jerry (Jon Van Ness), that the girls don’t wander off and poke around the property.

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Which is just about the time things take a turn for the worse. A masked maniac with what appears to be telepathic powers, begins to stalk the girls, slowly making them apart of the roadside attraction. This is the sort of movie killer that just happens to always be in two places at once, whatever could it mean? Yes that was sarcasm. This is a dire movie by all accounts. Chuck Connors is good as the elderly farmer Mr. Slausen, but the rest of the cast really just can’t act. The opening 10 minutes of the film was creepy I will admit, but it rapidly goes downhill from there. The voice of the ‘killer’ is just ridiculous, and jettisons any hint of fear or menace the killer may have brought to the film. Going the Michael Myers/Halloween route and keeping the killer silent would, in my opinion, have been the better way to go.

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As with all these films, the scantily clad ladies are all dispatched in variously gruesome ways, but as a viewer you really don’t care. I did hear that the blu ray version is actually five minutes shorter than all the other versions, due to some underhanded tactics by Charles Band and the group at Full Moon. That said, I really fail to see how an extra five minutes of footage would make this abysmal film any better. One for the bargain bin I feel. This copy of Tourist Trap was kindly provided by the very kind folks over at http://www.88films.co.uk.

1/5

JM

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Event Horizon (1997)

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This film is fantastic. Let me just stress that right now. Paul WS Anderson has never, until this day, made a better movie. I don’t think it’s a fluke. The guy has some talent, but instead decides to waste it on the terrible Resident Evil films. Which is a shame, because here he shows a real flair for building suspense. 

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 When a research ship called the ‘Event Horizon’ returns after being missing for 7 years, it’s up to the crew of the Lewis & Clark to find out where it has been, and what it’s brought back with it. 

Event Horizon has got to be one of my favourite horror movies, if not my number 1 horror of all time. Sure people can say A Nightmare on Elm Street or Hellraiser are better, but it’s all about preference. For me Event Horizon hits all the right notes. To begin with its cast is great. Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill are awesome as Captain Miller and Dr. Weir respectively. The supporting cast of Jason Isaacs, Kathleen Quinlan, Sean Pertwee, Richard T Jones, Joley Richardson and Jack Noseworthy are all brilliant too. Nobody feels like a spare wheel, and everyone has a part to play in the telling of the story. The story itself takes its time. Leaving more to your imagination, it is a haunted house style movie that doesn’t rely on jump scares. For me, real horror is something that builds up, and really gets under your skin. Now I’m not saying I don’t jump at jump scares, because I do, but to me it’s a cheap tactic to elicit fear. I’d rather watch something that makes me cringe and feel uncomfortable. That mentally puts me in a place I’d rather not be. That’s real horror. A lot, if not all, is down to the fantastic script by Philip Eisner. He has created a ship in the Event Horizon, that takes on a life of its own, figuratively and literally. It’s a character in its own right and that’s something that is not easy to do. You fear the ship. You fear where it’s been and where it’s going to return to. That is the power of the script and how it conjures up these images in your mind, asking you to visualise these horrible things. 
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The film was released in 1997, and kind of flew under everyone’s radar. A lot of people slated it and I really can’t see why. I mean sure people are entitled to their opinion, but the level of hate this film got is quite something. Like I have said already, I just adore this movie. No horror movie has left quite an impression on me quite like this one has. The cast are on top, top form and the effects, set design and sound are just exquisite. 


The gore is used sparingly, but very effectively during the movie. It never feels gratuitous, and is only there to serve the story. That’s another thing I feel is missing in modern horror. It’s hard now to imagine that Event Horizon is nearly 20 years old, but it’s a movie I happily revisit time and time again, and so should you. 
5/5

JM

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