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July 26, 2014

Movie Review: Tourist Trap and Demonic Toys (Blu-ray)

Charles Band and his company Full Moon Features has had a history that that dates back into the 1970’s. While it wasn't until the late 80’s the actual Full Moon brand was conceived, the director, producer, writer had his stamp on genre films with movies like David Schmoeller’s thriller Tourist Trap. Tourist Trap has just made its debut in the High Def arena as well as his Child’s Play rip-off Demonic Toys and they certainly should garner some attention from horror fans both young and old. My first of Tourist Trap came at a very young age on video and it scared the shit out of me so it's nice to see this one again after so many years.

A jeep full of college-age vacationers breaks down in the middle of nowhere near an old wax museum run by a recluse named Slausen (Chuck Conner, The Rifleman). Here the kids get to know Slausen and even experience the interesting sites of the many dummies in costume at the museum. What they don’t know is that there is a danger among the shadows and the myriad of dummies occupying the whole residence. The group begins to shrink as each perishes at the hands of some large figure with telekinetic powers that has a striking resemblance to ol’ Slausen. Could it be Slausen or his twin brother? Or is the place just haunted. Schmoeller and his crew pile on an appropriate amount of brooding atmosphere to make Tourist Trap one of the creepiest and most underrated horror films to come out of the 1970’s.

 Schmoeller is on hand for an excellent commentary and a featurette where he covers all things Tourist Trap. Some interesting points are brought up like his experiences with working with the towering star Conners and the stunning Roberts. The fact that it was mis-rated PG when it really should have gotten R-Rating is another cool story brought up by the director. Extra feature producer Daniel Griffith and his company Ballyhoo Production does a fine job on this piece.

Demonic Toys deals with some similar aspects but the mood here is way more comical and at times downright goofy that it’s hard to produce scares from viewers. Instead of and old museum, Demonic Toys takes place in a wherehouse full of possessed foul-mouthed toys. Tracy Scoggins plays an undercover policewomen (who’s partnered with her husband) in the midst of nailing a couple of illegal weapon dealers. The plan to get these guys backfires and her husband is killed but one of the criminals does get wounded – unfortunately, his blood awakens a demon that brings these dolls to life. Now she’s stuck in the wherehouse with numerous menacing toys looking to play with her and destroy anyone in their path in goofy and often gory fashion.

There are some laughs and some amusing moments in this killer-toy run amok flick but it still feels to overlong in its scant running time that's under 80 minutes. Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys actually serves as a more enjoyable than this first film. As for extras on the disc you just get an old Videozone and some trailers. Full Moon diehards only.

If you can grab it for under 12 bucks, Demonic Toys may be worth buying. Tourist Trap on the other hand is a classic in the horror genre that should be seen by film enthusiasts, preferably with the lights off.

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