Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 10th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1979
Director: David Schmoeller
Writers: David Schmoeller, J. Larry Carroll
Cast: Chuck Connors, Jocelyn Jones, Jon Van Ness, Robin Sherwood, Tanya Roberts, Dawn Jeffory, Keith McDermott, Shailar Coby
BluRay released: April 21st, 2014
Approximate running times: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: LPCM 5.1 English, LPCM Stereo English
BluRay Release: 88 Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £14.00
Tourist Trap was co-written and directed by David Schmoeller, who’s other notable films include The Seduction and Puppetmaster. Key collaborators on Tourist Trap include cinematographer Nicholas Josef von Sternberg (Joysticks, Slaughterhouse Rock) and composer Pino Donaggio (Don’t Look Now, Carrie).
The key to this film’s durability comes down to two things, its atmospheric visuals and Pino Donaggio’s pitch perfect score. Visually the film is at its best during the murder set pieces, especially the film’s opening sequence. Another area that this film is extremely effective is the way in which it uses the mannequin that inhabit this films central location the museum. Also a little bit nudity never hurts and this film throws in some T & A, via a where the female cast members go skinny dipping.
Performance wise, the cast are more than adequate in their respective roles. With the film’s standout performance coming from Chuck Conners (The Rifleman T.V. Series) in the role of Mr. Slausen, the caretaker of the museum. Another performance of note is Tanya Roberts, who just a year after appearing in this film, she would become a household name after joining the cast of Charlie’s Angels.
Though the film follows the by the numbers body count storyline that has become synonymous with the Slasher film genre. The end result is a Horror film that holds up better then the majority of its contemporaries.
Tourist Trap comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Almost two year ago 88 Films released Tourist Trap on DVD and though the transfer looked good, it now pales in comparison to this new Blu-ray release. Colors have never looked more vibrant and there is also an added amount of clarity which brings out more detail then previous releases. Another area of marked improvement is contrast and black levels, especially the latter which makes it easier to watch darker scenes. There are no issues with DNR or compression and grain structure always looks healthy. Overall this is another strong transfer from 88 Films that is easily ranks among their best work to date.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM 5.1 mix in English and a LPCM Stereo mix in English. You really can’t go wrong with either of the audio mixes included with this release. Both audio mixes included with this release sound great. Dialog comes through with crystal clear clarity, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too, especially Pino Donaggio’s superb score. The sound effects and other ambient noises sound superb throughout. This is easily the best the audio for this film has ever sounded on home video.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), a image gallery with music from the film playing in the background (3 minutes 37 seconds), a ‘Making of’ featurette (24 minutes 37 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and a brand new audio commentary with director David Schmoeller. The ‘Making of’ featurette is essentially a interview with David Schmoeller who talks about his early days as a filmmaker, the origins of Tourist Trap, casting, the crew, the films ending, post production and the film’s legacy since its initial release. Rounding out the extras is reversible cover art and a booklet with liner notes about the film written by Calum Waddell. Overall what could have been an exceptional release is ultimately marred by missing footage that was present in previous DVD releases.
Update: It has been brought to our attention that this release is cut and therefore we have altered our originally rating for this release.