Tourist Trap is a horror movie directed by David Schmoeller, released in 1979. The basic premise of the film is that a group of friends have gotten stranded on an isolated country road, after their car breaks down. They are helped by a man who owns a local museum, but the mannequins in the museum seem strangely lifelike.
The film flopped on it's original theatrical release, but subsequent showings on TV throughout the '80s gained the movie a cult following. A 20th anniversary DVD was finally released in 1998, and featured a full commentary by director David Schmoeller.
The movie opens a young man pushing a wheel down an isolated country road, nothing but dust and rocks in sight. Back at the car a girl sunbathes while reading a book, when another car drives up. It turns out to be the other members of the road trip, the stalled car belonging to Woody and his girlfriend Eileen, who had driven ahead. Woody has gone down the road looking for a gas station, where he hopes to find some air for the flat tire. A gas station finally comes into view, but when Woody goes in looking for help he finds the place deserted. Deciding to look in the back, always the best idea when you're in an isolated gas station, he sees a woman lying in bed. Pulling the sheets off the woman (now who does that?), he finds it is not a woman at all but a mannequin. The thing opens its mouth and screams, scaring the shit out of Woody who tries to run out of the room, only the door is now locked. More mannequins pop out of every window and door in the room, and finally the cupboard starts shooting out cans and bottles. Woody punches through to door to try and unlock it, but his hand is grabbed on the other side, and while he struggles to free himself a metal pipe launches itself into his side. Woody dies leaking blood from the pipe from in his gut.
Now the rest of the group are worried when Woody does not return, so decide to drive down the road looking for him. Jerry steers the car down an old offshoot road marked with a tourist trap sign, Slausen's Lost Oasis, thinking Woody may have looked for help within. But right at the entrance to the Oasis, Jerry's car stalls out and one of the headlights explodes for no reason. While Jeff tries to fix the car the girls; Eileen, Becky (Tanya Roberts), and Tina, decide to make the best of a bad situation by going skinny dipping in the lost oasis, a small lake with a waterfall. While the girls swim someone spies on them from the woods, before stepping out and revealing himself to be the owner of the place, Mr. Slausen. He warns the girls that water moccasins live in the lake, then asks the girls what their trouble is. Offering to help fix the car, Mr. Slausen drives the group up to the museum so the girls can wait while he and Jeff bring some tools to the car. The museum is filled with mannequins, Mr. Slausen explaining that his brother created them and that he has a real talent for making them look lifelike. After telling the girls not to visit the house behind the museum, Mr. Slausen and Jerry head back to the car as night falls.
Eileen, brainiac that she is, decides it would be best to snoop around the house (which looks straight out of Psycho), so she leaves the Becky and Tina and goes off on her own. Entering the house Becky sees what appears to be a wife and husband sitting by a fire, but on closer inspection they are mannequins. Eileen investigates the rest of the house, hoping to find Woody, and enters a room filled with more mannequins. After taking a scarf from one of them she tries it on in front of the mirror (would you do this in some abandoned house?), when she catches site of something in the reflection, she turns around is greeted by Plasterface, a bulky man with a mask of Woody's face (Leatherface but with plaster basically). Eileen tries to run out of the room but Plasterface locks the door with a psychic gesture, then proceeds to strangle Eileen with the scarf she stole.
Back at the museum Becky and Tina naturally get worried, and NATURALLY (because all teens are naturally retarded), they decide to go investigate the house. Tina gets cold feet when they arrive at the front and see light in a window, but Becky jumps to the conclusion that Woody and Eileen on banging in the room, and decides to climb up to the second floor and scare them. Climbing through the second story, Becky enters a room filled with more of those freaky mannequins. Eileen and Woody are no where to be seen, so she goes snooping through the rest of the house, when she finds a room with what appears to be a woman sitting in a chair looking into a mirror. But when it turns around, it's Plasterface! He grabs Becky, but she bashes him over the head with a mannequin arm and makes for the door, which Plasterface locks with his psychic powers. Trapped in the room, the mannequins surround and fall on Becky, knocking her out.
Becky wakes up in a basement tied to a wooden post, where she finds Jerry, who has also been tied up, and a another girl that Plasterface captured in the gas station. Jeff tells her that it is Mr. Slausen's crazy brother Davey who attacked them. The other girl tells them that Davey plans to kill all of them. Davey comes down stairs and begins his work on the girl, covering her face in plaster. This is how he makes his masks, molding plaster onto his victims faces which suffocates them and creates a mold of their face. Jerry manages to chew through his bindings and attacks Davey, but Davey poses amazing strength and launches Jerry into a wall, knocking him out.
Tina decides to investigate the house after none of her friends return. As she walks down to the house Davey jumps out and chases her through the woods. Tina runs into Mr. Slausen and explains the situation to him. Mr. Slausen does not want his brother arrested, so he asks Tina to stand guard outside the museum with a shotgun while he goes into talk to Davey. Getting scared Tina calls for Mr. Slausen but there is no answer, then suddenly Davey appears behind her. Tina turns and shoots Davey twice but the bullets have no effect, so she hits him in the face with the shotgun. The plaster mask breaks, revealing none other than Mr. Slausen. Shocked by the revelation Tina tries to escape but is eventually caught and brought to the house.
Meanwhile Becky and Jerry have managed to escape by cutting through their bindings. They are split up when Mr. Slausen finds them, and Becky runs towards the museum while Jerry goes into the woods. Mr. Slausen catches up to the Becky in the museum, and uses his psychic powers to control the various mannequins. Evading the attacks of the mannequins Becky runs for the exit, but finally catches an ax in the head from a Native American sculpture.
Tina wakes up on a bed inside the house, where Mr. Slausen explains that she is special because she looks like his dead wife. He explains that he had to kill to his wife and brother, when he found out they were "whoring" behind his back. When he leaves, Becky runs for the exit and ends up in a large room for storing mannequins. Mr. Slausen appears in the same, at the same time Jerry comes through the door holding an ax. Tina asks Jerry to kill Mr. Slausen, who begins laughing. Walking over to Jerry he twists one of his arms off, revealing Jerry to be a mannequin. Tina falls to the ground in dismay as Mr. Slausen starts dancing with the mannequin of his wife. On the ground near Tina lies the ax, and as Mr. Slausen dances she picks it up and embeds it in his neck. Finally free, Tina loads the mannequins of her friends into the car and drives away.