Empire Of The B's The Mad World Of Charles Band Book

The definitive book on B-Movie king Charles Band is finally coming out from Hemlock Books UK this November! Believe it or not, it’s even authorized by Charles Band which is surprising because I’m sure it’s going to talk about everything – warts ‘n all. Additionally, a new documentary is also coming out about Empire Pictures as well from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures, so it looks like it’s going to be a good time for fans (like me) of the insane world of B-Movies. For more on the book, check out the facebook group, and the to follow updates on the upcoming documentary on its facebook page.


Posted on 23rd September 2008 by aaron in Reviews - Tags: , , , ,

I gotta be honest, the ipetus for watching this flick TOURIST TRAP came from seeing that weird ass masked face you see on the dvd cover art above.  I had never really heard much about it save but for a few mumblings here and there on the mighty horror wing of the intarwebz.  So I found myself netflixing it and let me tell ya, I liked the damn thing.

Here’s the synopsis *SPOILERS*:

We begin with a guy rolling a tire down an old back road, who knows why (until later), sweatin’ it out in the hot sun until he comes across a run down old gas station.  Calling for help from outside and getting no reply, he enters the gas station only to find it abandoned.  Wandering around, he eventually finds himself trapped in a room where shit starts moving about on its own with no explanation as to why.  Eventually, this guy gets it in the back by an iron pipe and dies with this stupid look on his face like he wants to scream but he’s too damn retarded to do so.

Meanwhile, his girlfriend is sitting in the shade of their broken down car (the tire caught a flat and the spare didn’t have any air in it, which is why the former dumbass was rollin’ that tire down the road, which, if it was airless, he’d actually have had a hard time doing), when friends of the couple show up in some old army jeep.  I don’t remember if they actually ever said where their little convoy was headed, but I guess, for the sake of the flick, it doesn’t really matter.  After they joke around about what an idiot the other guy was, the girlfriend (ok, ok, don’t get on my ass about not remembering their names, I liked it, but I didn’t EVIL DEAD like it) hops on board with this pretty-boy law student guy and two other chicks to go look for him.

In doing so, they come across a sign for a “Tourist Trap” (get it) called SLAUSEN’S LOST OASIS, an abandoned sort of wax museum, but with mannequins instead of wax figures.  Suddenly (uh huh), the jeep breaks down.  While pretty-boy fumbles about trying to figure out how to fix the thing, the three girls do what any semi-hot chicks in a movie would do in such a situation, lost friend, middle of nowhere, broken down car ‘n all, they decide to go skinny dippin’.  Hot damn!

So as they’re “frolicking” about in the water, creepy old Mr. Slausen (Chuck Connors) comes walkin’ up with a fuckin’ shotgun but instead of the “ya’ll get yer asses off my land” routine, he sort of just sits around and talks to the girls, talking about how his museum was kickass in the day, but “ever since they built the new highway” no one comes by to check it out, so it’s been shut down.  The girls explain what’s going on and since Mr. Slausen’s a buzzkill, they get out of the water and follow him back to the jeep to get pretty-boy.  Oh yeah, and none of the acresses would get naked for this flick, so you get a big goose egg on the Joe Bob Briggs boobie meter.

So Mr. Slausen takes ’em up to the “museum” to get some tools.  He tells the girls to chill out while he and pretty-boy go do the manly thing and fix the jeep.  One of the girls looks out the window and sees this bigass house off in the distance and asks about who lives there.  Slausen gets his panties in a wad and says “nobody lives there,” and heads out, telling the girls not to go out…”it’s not safe.”  So the girls hang out for a while, checking out all the creepy ass mannequins (some are actually automatons as they move and perform simple robotic like actions).  They check the phone, but it doesn’t work, so one of the girls decides to head over to the house she saw earlier and see if there’s a working phone.

Once in the house, she finds that the place is full of creepy, eerily lifelike mannequins.  I mean, these things are all over the place.  Then she finds herself in one room where she thought she heard a noise and up from behind her comes this guy in that fucked up looking mask you see in the pic above.  He has some kind of telekenetic power and chokes her to death with a scarf.  Ok, another one bites the dust.

Meanwhile the girls get curious as to why their friend’s not back yet.  Then Slausen comes back and says pretty-boy’s gone to town in his truck to get a wrecker for the jeep.  Then he flips out because the one girl is gone after he told ’em to stay put and goes off to look for her, telling the remaining two chicks to stay where they are.  Well, they don’t, obviously, and as soon as he’s gone, they head down to the house as well.  One goes in looking for the other and is attacked by the fucked up masked guy and a bunch of mannequins.  The other girl, the one we all know in slashers as “the last girl” is outside calling for her friend when fucked up mask guy comes after her.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, there’s this cellar scene where we find pretty-boy and the chick who was attacked by mannequins tied up and some chick from outta nowhere tied to the table.  The guy in the mask starts talking about how pretty the girl on the table is and starts covering her face in plaster, the whole time talking about how her heart will give out from fright before she dies of suffocation, which, inexplicably, it does.  Pretty-boy gets free after gnawing on the ropes and there’s a struggle…he loses and gets chained up.

Back to outside.  The last girl is being chased by the masked creep and gets away, but not before he chucks a mannequin head at her that is actually the mannequinized (made up word?) head of her friend that was offed in the gas station.  She flips out and keeps running, eventually running in front of ‘ol Mr. Slausen in his truck.  Of course she jumps in and asks for his help and he explains that it’s his crazy brother Davey.  “We’ve gotta call the police,” she says and he says sure, sure, but he wants to deal with him first, “it’s not his fault the way he is.”  They go back to the museum to turn on a radio to somehow lure Davey back to them so they can take him in themselves.  Davey shows up while Slausen’s inside and attacks, but the last girl has a shotgun and pumps two rounds into him.  Too bad they were blanks though.  So she bashes him across the head with the butt end of the shotty and the mask crumbles to reveal (cue dramatic music) that Davey is really Mr. Slausen…SUR-FUCKING-PRISE!  He nabs her and takes her back to the old house.

Then we have a scene where Slausen’s having soup with one of his mannequins and having a conversation with it using his telekinesis:

Slausen: How’s your soup?

Mannequin: The soup is very good.

Slausen: Would you like some crackers with your soup?

Mannequin: I’d like some more crackers, please?

Slausen: That’s what I said!

Mannequin: Yes, the soup is very good.

Slausen: Are the crackers good? (pause) I SAID, ARE THE CRACKERS GOOD?!!?

{Mannequin’s head falls off}

Slausen: I’ve gotta fix that….

Fucking weird.  The two down in the basement get free and run off and the last girl is taken upstairs to an attic room full of mannequins.  Slausen says she reminds him of his wife, and reveals that he killed her and his brother after they were “whorin’ around in my own house, law says I’ve got a right to kill ’em.” She tries to get away and pretty-boy comes in with an axe and tries to hit Slausen but, more wierdness, turns out he’s a mannequin and can’t do shit and Slausen pulls his arm off.  Then last girl picks up the axe and slams the business end into Slausen’s neck, finishing him off.  Then she goes crazy.

The final scene is her driving away in the jeep with all of her friends in mannequin form.


This is definitely one of those What The Fuck movies.  It displays all the trappings of your standard slasher, which I believe was intentional, but has this certain nightmarish quality to it, heavily aided by the weird and haunting score by Pino Donaggio.  It was also interesting to see that one of the producers was Charles Band, though not a complete surprise because, I mean, mannequins are really giant dolls, right.  What the fuck is it with Charles Band and doll movies.  All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good flick, and worth at least the price of a rental, though you can probaly find it for sale for about the same price.  Check this one out!

Here’s the trailer: