Good remakes are a dime a dozen. I have to admit that I am a bit skeptical to the mere word of “horror remake” because, it is rare to see a horror film remade that has done justice to its original.
It was on a cold winter day, that cable blessed me with THE TOURIST TRAP. As young P watched in terror as mannequins came alive, I instantly dubbed this horror movie the best I had seen – and, it was on cable; win, win. Thirty years later, this statement still resonates as true.
TOURIST TRAP was released in 1979 and is directed by David Schmoeller with a screenplay written by both Schmoeller and Larry Carroll. The film boasts a renowned cast including Chuck Connors, Tanya Roberts and Jocelyn Jones. The plot surrounds a group of teenagers who coincidentally get stranded near a wax museum that is full of lifelike dummies. Yes, lifelike dummies should be your first indication that this might not be for those suffering from pediophobia.
This film awoke horror feelings I had never felt before as I child. Am I scared? Intrigued? How many mannequins can a man fit into his home? What is he doing with them? Why is he in love with them? Why is their skin soft to the touch? All the elements one feels while watching a horror film came alive and to this day I have begged the question of why no one in the horror realm have approached the proper authorities for a remake.
If done correctly, the remake of TOURIST TRAP would be stellar to the horror world. But, a good film wouldn’t be possible without the proper dream team:
Director | James Wan or Tom Holland – not being biased but both horror directors have made their mark in this sinister industry by using dolls as a form of fear – respectively, DEAD SILENCE and CHILDS PLAY.
Screenwriter | Kevin Williamson or Alan Ball. Both screenwriters have written scripts for the macabre and have done an impeccable job. With Williamson scribing one of the best screenplays to date, SCREAM and Ball, who is no stranger to the dark arts, creating “SIX FEET UNDER,” I can perspicuously see both of these writers coming up with a sold plot with a fresh approach to an old film.
Soundtrack | One of the best aspects of TOURIST TRAP is the 80’s campy type of background music. After all, we know that a horror film is nothing without the creaking of the door and the tension buildup of tunes. One of my favorite composers of all time is Bear McCreary (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”).
McCreary created the amazing intro the popular zombie show and has the background to replicate the original film’s score by Pino Donaggio. One thing to note is that the film relies heavily on vocalization of females with the mannequins and is one of the main elements that truly sets this film apart.
Cast | No great horror film would be set without an impressive screen crew. A group of teenagers would be a bit hard to nail, however, I would like to see some fresh faces emerge from the wood work. For the main protag, which is played by Chuck Connors in the 1979 version, I can easily see Bruce Campbell fitting nicely into this role.
All in all, TOURIST TRAP might not have the best rating record, regardless, it has developed quite the cult following and fellow horror fans might agree that this one film that deserves a fresh approach.
Ironically enough, the movie has been restored to a pretty clear 720p quality and you can watch it right here.