As befits this genre, a sexy group of youngsters on a road trip break down off the beaten path. They are picked up by a friendly old man who owns a run down tourist trap, filled with weird mannequins made by his mysterious brother Davey. What could have been a decent Texas Chain Saw Massacre ripoff turns into something far more strange, eerie and fun than its premise would indicate, an oddball and darkly humorous riff on House of Wax, heavy on atmosphere, with a quirky Pino Donaggio score.
I watched Tourist Trap last year for the original YVIAHMMAOIHTNQ and knew immediately that I had to own it. Despite the fact that the story makes little sense and doesn't adhere to much continuity, this is a classic, an all time favorite of mine, genuinely creepy and unique. Where to begin? Davey likes to kill people and turn them into mannequins, but the mannequins are still somehow alive (maybe haunted?) and Davey can also control them with psychic mind powers. Davey is not a mannequin, but he likes to dress up as one, sometimes dressing up as the person he last killed.
Tourist Trap is a masterpiece of set design. I've always known mannequins were creepy, but no other movie has exploited them so well, or in such a strange manner... grotesque mannequins, disembodied mannequin parts, people turning into mannequins, mannequins turning in to people, the film is wall to wall mannequins and they are all scary as fuck. I'm not sure the movie makes much sense from one scene to the next (Davey and his mannequins seem capable of anything, their powers seem to change from scene to scene), but that matters not. I bitch a lot about arbitrariness in horror films, but it's a moot point in a movie like Tourist Trap when all the arbitrary stuff is effective at skeeving you out.
Stand out scenes include suffocation by plaster, attack by cowboy and indian mannequins, the infamous "crackers" sequence, and a twist near the end that has to be seen to be believed. I love this movie.