"I loved her very much. I wanted to keep her memory alive forever. This was the best way I know how. That's the whole purpose of wax museums, you know. Keep the memory of the past alive. And it's easier for me this way."
- Mr. Slausen
Starring: Chuck Connors, Jocelyn Jones, Jon Van Ness, Robin Sherwood,Tanya Roberts, Dawn Jeffory-Nelson, Keith McDermott, Shailar Coby
Directed By: David Schmoeller
Trailer: "God help those who get caught in the Tourist Trap..."
Premise: A broken-down Jeep leads to a group of young friends taking refuge in a wax museum, thanks to the owner, who tells them NOT to explore the house next door...
My familiarity with this movie: Never heard of it until I started looking into Joe Bob Briggs' series "The Last Drive-In" on Shudder.
Notes, opinions, general thoughts (beware of spoilers):
- Speaking of "The Last Drive-In", that show was how I watched this film, so I'll be discussing that episode as well as the movie.
- Nice to see Joe Bob hasn't changed much since MonsterVision. He's nearly 20 years older and can now swear, since he's on Shudder instead of TNT, but aside from that? He's still got the same sense of humor and encyclopedic knowledge of horror films, and even the show's format is the same, (though with the mail girl reading viewer tweets instead of letters) and even ending the episode with a joke.
- You gotta love how not even five minutes into the movie, we got a dude killed by an iron rod through the back (and the blood draining out of the rod and pouring onto the floor like a pipe is a nice touch)
- This film is a favorite of Stephen King's.
- I was wondering if there might be something ghostly about the moving objects, like a poltergeist. Telekinesis didn't even cross my mind (no pun intended).
- This is the first 80s slasher, according to Joe Bob, and I can definitely see where he's coming from. That said, the genre was still in its infancy, so there's a few classic slasher elements that aren't quite there yet.
- Three beautiful women deciding to go skinny-dipping because they're bored? Classic. No actual nudity being shown? That's a bit unusual for an 80s slasher.
- Mr. Slausen's carrying a rifle as a reference to Chuck Connors' role as Lucas McCain in the 1958-63 TV series "The Rifleman".
- The movie's distinctive soundtrack was a fifth of the movie's budget.
- That mask is HELLA creepy. So are the singing dolls and mannequins. Brr.
- How does Mr. Slausen keep that Dr Pepper fridge so well-stocked?
- Allow me to introduce you to Tina.
- Goodbye, Tina. We'll never forget you.
- Completely forgot about the blanks in the gun.
- Well-executed twist with Mr. Slausen pretending to be his brother.
- This film was originally released with a PG rating, for...some reason.
- 6 dead bodies
- No breasts (half a star deduction)
- 1 dead Jeep
- zombie mannequins
- vicious attack dolls
- crockery smashing
- arm ripping
- bimbo dunking
- psychopathic cross-dressing
- random telekinesis by a guy who can't spell "telekinesis"
- iron rod through the back
- ball peen hammer fight
- mannequin dogpile
- armed-and-dangerous animatronics
- designer scarf strangling
- excessive window crashing
- musical score by Pino Donaggio
- axe to the neck
- multiple bimbos in hot pants and cutoff shorts
- gratuitous Dr Pepper dispensing
- heads roll
- arms roll
- legs roll
- eyeballs roll
- crowbar fu
- shotgun fu
- tomahawk fu
- creepy mumbling on the soundtrack
- Three and a half stars. Joe Bob says "Check it out."
- several singing mannequins
- CUTIE ALERT: Molly
- The other two girls are attractive as well, but they're more "sexy" (not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you). Molly is just ADORABLE.
- 1 dead wife
- 1 dead brother
- several masks
- 1 soup dinner
- odd product placement
- Being an early example of the slasher film, the genre conventions haven't really been established yet, and thus the plot keeps twisting in unexpected ways, but it never feels like a cheat.
- The soundtrack is FANTASTIC. The distinctive strings and the creepy singing of the dolls and mannequins is just phenomenal.
- Chuck Connors as Mr. Slausen is just terrific. He's geuinely creepy and unsettling, and really puts it all into the role.
- Props also go to the lovely Jocelyn Jones as Molly. She had great potential to be a scream queen, though I don't think she did much more horror besides this.
- An entire generation of horror flicks have since used some elements from this film, intentionally or not. There's some future cliches here and there (the innocent blonde is definitely gonna be the Final Girl, for example). Though that's only a problem in a modern mindset, since they really weren't cliches at the time.
- The writing is rather flat and clunky at times, not helped with the wooden performances of some of the cast.