Day 24: Character that scared you most -
Sure I was a kid when I saw it, but Tourist Trap is just as frightening now as when I was a little doctor of terror even if it is shown midday on television with happy, bright, bubbly commercials. Mr. Slausen aka Davey gets to me. The whole damn concept gets to me and I love it. I could watch this flick daily, get scared and be fascinated at the same time. Here's why.
Mr. Slausen (Chuck Connors),upon initial introduction, is a seemingly nice man. Mid-western bording on the Southern accent. Sure he's lonely. He spends his days caring for the remnants of an old, forgotten roadside attraction involving uncannily, realistically produced mannequins in historical settings (this would be the tourist trap you've been hearing so much about). Slausen isn't necessarily a threat even though he has a propensity to sneak up on folks in vulnerable positions. Maybe that's why I'm still a little creeped out by him; he's unassuming, gentle, actually pleasant. One thing I can tell you dear readers, never trust a guy without a phone. That's a very forgotten about cliche. If they don't have a phone, they are unsocialized, have no one to call and plan on killing or eating you.
By the time his duel personality breaks through as Davey (also played by Connors because Connors is a bad ass motherfucker) and we realize that this guy builds a mean mannequin, in fact hundreds of them, and has psychic powers it's too late. Your jeep is unstartable. You've been divided up into groups and broken all of this Willy Wonka-esque rules. You've wondered into his maze of a house and his entrancing museum of "almost too realistic mannequins". That would be the trap part of the title. He actually spins a web of kindness only to have you exactly where he wants you. Stuck. Waiting to be "mannequin-ized".
As "the other" Mr. Slausen, Davey, gargley-voiced, homicidal mad man, Chuck Connors is terrifying. How many killers take the time to catch their prey, strap them to a table and then cover them with wax. Furthermore, how many killers than tell their victims how pretty they are... Oh, so pretty before disfiguring them, murdering them via suffocation (or really being scared to death) and then transformed into part of the roadside attraction? What a mask too. The Davey mask stomps all over Jason's hockey mas in my humble opinion. It would make a great Halloween costume, no? You bet it will.
Connors uses an amazing voice as Davey to separate himself from his kind, all be it aloof "brother". It's a voice that all of us males can do. It's the voice we use to scare little kids when telling stories around the campfire. It has the dual effect of scaring them while making them laugh. If you do it well enough, they don't laugh at all and cry for their parents and that's how you know you shouldn't be allowed around children any longer. Tee hee hee. The voice has stuck with me. As Dr. Terror I use this voice while writing these blogs. Since it's in print form you probably can't hear it in your head, but there's been more than one occasion when I found my inner voice taking on Davey/Slausen... or Jame Gumb... or Jordy Verril, Slausen being the creepiest of those three. It's like having multiple personalities... let's move on before I digress too far down that rabbit hole, shall we?
Other reasons Slausen/Davey is terrifying... his weapon of choice is your own body. He kills you by scaring you to death. I mean, it looks like suffocation, but really... YOU'RE HEART EXPLODES!!! Bwahahaha. I'd ask Slausen to prove that his statement about his ability to make people's hearts explode, but I've seen Scanners and I'm sure it's just thought bad when it happens to your heart as with your head. Maybe it's not the wax mask, scared to death aspect that actually blows up your heart. Maybe Slausen actually blows up your heart with his telekinetic abilities. That comes off as this guy will toy with his prey... he'll play with them like a cat would play with a mouse and then he'll simply kill you with his mind powers.
Having written about this before you all know that I saw this movie at a young age with my older sister who was also scared shitless of this picture. We still compare notes to this day only I don't think she's actually perused the movie since she was a young one. Hopefully we change that soon and reacquaint her with the scariest bogeyman I know.
See Chuck Connors in Summer Camp Nightmare. You won't regret it. It's on YouTube. In fact, here it is so you can see that this guy can play the sweet, caring camp instructor (falsely blamed for molesting a child and then murdered). Also... enjoy this FEAR cover.