Friday, September 28, 2012

Moon Over Miami: Tourist Trap

I was all pumped until I read the name 'Charles Band' in the Credits.  To be fair, I do recall seeing it on the Full Moon website...but it only occurred to me after the fact.  Today's movie is Tourist Trap, the official nickname of South of the Border.  I sure hope that those exist in other places then Florida, otherwise this is a very vague joke.  The story, in hindsight, is very much a Full Moon affair.  About the only thing missing from it is Phil Fondacara!  Hell, even Ted Nicolau (Director of the Subspecies films) is on board, albeit as the film's Editor.  The film is about a group of *young people* who end up at a dangerous 'Tourist Trap' which ends up being much more literal than they could have guessed!  Leave it to Full Moon to make the obvious jokes- sure makes it easier for me.  Notable mentions in the cast include Tanya Roberts- famous model and Sheena: Queen of the Jungle- and Chuck Connors, a long-time Cowboy actor.  If you didn't watch Westerns or Western shows, you'd recognize him from other films in the '70s and '80s including Soylent Green and Airplane II: The Sequel.  He's a big enough star to get above-the-title billing here to boot!  As I teased earlier, the plot gets really weird, but is a bit of a slow-burn kind of film.  It's a slow film in general, quite frankly.  To find out just how weird this obscure film gets, read on...
Our heroes are really just asking to die.  They drive around like '70s hipsters on an abandoned road to save time.  Oh and they give up on the 'let's find our missing friend' bit really quick.

I mean, he's already dead, but they don't know that!
Chuck Connors is here as a Farmer that's totally not the killer.  Hey movie- it's a mystery film if there's, you know, a mystery!
To the film's credit, this is kind of creepy.  It does also foreshadow Band's obsession with dolls/mannequins that would lead to good films (Dolls), meh films (Puppet Master 4-5) and just plain bad films (Doll Graveyard).
I should both like and hate this film for stealing the 'display your dead wife in lights' bit from The Abominable Dr. Phibes.  They do a decent job with it, so I can't be too mad.  Don't mess with a classic though!
This girl exists just to be killed by the villain.  More on that in a future Poor Bastards of Cinema induction though.

It would be nice if they had actually set her up though, rather than just saying 'she is also die.'
Big shock: the only person who could be the killer is actually the killer.  The Killer Must Kill Again was more subtle than you!

The actual shocker is that Tanya Roberts does barely anything here but stay captured and pout.  Sorry- we couldn't pay her enough to actually be important!
Oddly, the capture/kill segments are mostly over by the 45 minute mark, leaving this film plenty of time to breath.

Mind you, all they really do with it is have Connors talk in voices, use his telekinetic powers and stare at our heroine.  I did mention that he has telekinetic powers, right?  Well, he does!!!
In the end, our heroine is completely crazy, having killed Connors, and drives off with her friends' mannequins.  Looks like a nice music video...if you're a crazy person.  The End.
Silly premise, but mostly a nothing film.  There are good parts about the movie.  For one, it is heavy on atmosphere.  It does use this to compensate for much on-screen action/gore/etc though.  For example, Roberts knocks down the killer- yeah, right!-, but gets captured after a bunch of mannequins slowly fall against her.  Move, you idiot!  After that, she pretty much just pouts and stays tied up kneeling on the floor.  Just to note: her legs are not tied or anything- she just doesn't feel like getting up, I guess!  The big make or break for this movie is the villain's telekinetic powers.  They don't really explain any of this, nor do they explain much of what makes him crazy.  It's a Catch-22 situation, you see.  Those powers helped drive him crazy...but that hardly explains anything.  I can accept crazy ideas and premises in shows/movies- if you explain them.  That said, many great films get away with not explaining anything (see Night of the Living Dead's non-explanation why there are suddenly zombies), but this is not quite one of them.  I do like that this Full Moon film is not going for bad laughs or silly gore.  Even so, I was not all that interested by what actually happened.  I'm sure that I'm not in the majority amongst internet critics on that, but there you go.  Take us away, implied but not actual nudity (dammit!)...
Next up, the third and first film in the not-real Patrick trilogy.  Will the original film be the best or just make no sense.  Stay tuned...

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