A scary thing happened on the way to the Movie Forums - Horrorcrammers

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Is that an issue for you, just out of curiosity?
Nope, just a surprise.

One of those films where, by virtue of knowing very little about the plot, you end up with an element you totally didn't expect.

Like if you were watching a movie you thought was about a serial killer, then half an hour into it they were like "Oh by the way the serial killer is actually a ghost."



I'll write up Tourist Trap tomorrow, but the short version is that it was different than what I was expecting, I liked it, and I appreciated how weird it was, and I need to think about how it might relate to Lisa and the Devil in certain ways.



Terrible things that have happened to me in the past week, ranked:

2. Battled COVID
1. Watched Hellhole (1985)

This somehow made it onto my "Slasher Watchlist", but in retrospect it really isn't one. So I don't know who to blame for its inclusion.

It hasn't been logged by any of my Letterboxd friends, so I don't know how the rest of you feel about it, but I am filing it along with Slumber Party Massacre II as a film that just cuts against every grain I've got. Every choice made here - aesthetics/wardrobe/soundtrack/plot/dialogue/casting - is the polar opposite to what mine would have been. This is not the film's fault, but it is what it is. As soon as I saw the ridiculous rhinestoned biker outfit worn by our killer, I knew this was not gonna be for me. (That was 3 minutes in).

And at the risk of encouraging others to watch it, this has to be the most absurd amount of nudity I've ever encountered. It's not hyperbole to speculate that there are pornos with fewer naked actresses.

Robert Z'Dar, Mary Woronov, etc etc so I'm sure there's a following for this one but...oof.

Is it just me?
I went to add Hellhole to the watchlist...only to realize it was already on there.



I went to add Hellhole to the watchlist...only to realize it was already on there.

I'd like to think the letterboxd algorithms looked at your watchlist's contents and size and renamed the feature, "Hellhole," personalized just for your account.



I'd like to think the letterboxd algorithms looked at your watchlist's contents and size and renamed the feature, "Hellhole," personalized just for your account.
Ah, the benefits of a Patron subscription.



I went to add Hellhole to the watchlist...only to realize it was already on there.
I'd like to hear what others think. Most of my complaints are superficial in nature, I guess, and therefore not especially relevant. For one example, this is about a sanitarium that we know is run by evil sadists. And yet the inmates all seem to maintain Tawny Kitaen-level hair and makeup routines, which doesn't seem like the kind of thing an evil sanitarium would provide.
But beyond stupid things like that, I just didn't care about anything that was happening.


I concede that terrible synth noises and boobs are considered pluses for some of us, so I wouldn't be surprised if someone else enjoys this, but it's just completely at odds with everything I am drawn to.





Tourist Trap, 1979

A group of friends on vacation are stranded when their car breaks down. When a local man named Slauson (Chuck Connors) offers to help them repair the car, they end up accompanying him back to his home which also doubles as a museum full of life-like wax figures.

I was overall pretty impressed by this film, which is the kind of movie that sort of makes up the rules and reality as it goes, but always with a kind of consistent dream logic.

Plenty of movies use dolls or wax figures as a way of building atmosphere and menace. I thought that they were used very effectively here, and as the film goes on the mannequins take on more significance.

I didn't find the actors all that engaging, but for the most part it didn't matter as they mainly serve to experience the madness that goes down in the museum. And while most of the horror is of the jump scare or "Huh, that's weird!" variety, there is one centerpiece sequence that is incredibly disturbing.

By the very end, I was really digging the madness and the way that it just gently untethers itself from reality.

Good stuff!






The Outsider, 2020

In a small town a young boy is brutally murdered. It seems like an incredibly open-and-shut case: multiple witnesses and DNA evidence all point directly at Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), a local little league coach. But after lead detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) very publicly arrests Terry, contradictory evidence appears that suggests the man could not have committed the crime. Determined to get to the bottom of this strange case, Ralph ends up enlisting the help of unconventional private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo) to try to stop any other killings from taking place.

I haven't read the Stephen King novel on which this TV series was based, but I thought that the premise was really fun and spooky.

What ultimately makes the series work so well is that the very large cast all really delivers in terms of their characters. Mendelsohn is a great anchor, playing Ralph as a man who struggles mightily with the idea that there might be anything supernatural afoot. Ralph is grieving the loss of his own son, and so the idea of otherworldliness is understandably upsetting to him in certain ways.

I also loooooooooved Erivo's portrayal of Holly Gibney. Don't get me wrong: her character is very much in the mold of a quirky girl trope: you know, sort of a brilliant nerd, vaguely gesturing at autism-like lack of social norms, who also matter-of-factly will have sex with someone who is nice to her. It's a character that normally makes me roll my eyes, but I really dug the way that Erivo played her. She and Derek Cecil have good, interesting chemistry that adds a neat romance dimension to the show. The writing also makes her less a collection of tics as the episodes go on, which lets her character meld more with the rest.

The supporting cast is also really strong, including Paddy Considine as a bouncer at a local strip club, Mare Winningham as Ralph's wife Jeannie, and Bill Camp as a defense attorney who gets involved with the investigation. There are multiple combinations of character interactions, and this is a case where pretty much any combo works well.

Storywise, the series (which runs 10 episodes) is strongest in its first half. Once things begin to become clearer, the series loses a bit of steam as it works to build to a big final confrontation. It's at its best in the first four or five episodes where characters have to react to improbabilities and impossibilities landing on their heads.

Overall a strong season of TV and certainly recommended.




I need to rewatch Tourist Trap one of these days. My memory is that there is an early scene that is so staggeringly weird and well done that the rest of the film just couldn't live up the expectations it filled me with. Overall I still liked it, but it felt like it kind of blew it's load all in one go.



I need to rewatch Tourist Trap one of these days. My memory is that there is an early scene that is so staggeringly weird and well done that the rest of the film just couldn't live up the expectations it filled me with. Overall I still liked it, but it felt like it kind of blew it's load all in one go.
I mean, between the
WARNING: spoilers below
unexpectedly grisly and sadistic murder of the girl being slowly covered in plaster and then the later reveal that a character had been turned into a mannequin but didn't realize it (something we learn when the character's head is suddenly, casually smashed!)
, I felt like I never knew what to expect, up to and including that final shot.



Yeah I think Gibney was better portrayed in Outsider than in the Mr. Mercedes show. She felt more like a real person.



I need to rewatch Tourist Trap one of these days. My memory is that there is an early scene that is so staggeringly weird and well done that the rest of the film just couldn't live up the expectations it filled me with. Overall I still liked it, but it felt like it kind of blew it's load all in one go.
I thought you were talking about the amazing teddy bear scene and then I realized I was thinking of Dolls.



Yeah I think Gibney was better portrayed in Outsider than in the Mr. Mercedes show. She felt more like a real person.
Whoa---I didn't even connect them as the same character, yet kept wondering why her name sounded so familiar!

I thought you were talking about the amazing teddy bear scene and then I realized I was thinking of Dolls.
Such an insane sequence, LOL!



Victim of The Night
Terrible things that have happened to me in the past week, ranked:

2. Battled COVID
1. Watched Hellhole (1985)

This somehow made it onto my "Slasher Watchlist", but in retrospect it really isn't one. So I don't know who to blame for its inclusion.

It hasn't been logged by any of my Letterboxd friends, so I don't know how the rest of you feel about it, but I am filing it along with Slumber Party Massacre II as a film that just cuts against every grain I've got. Every choice made here - aesthetics/wardrobe/soundtrack/plot/dialogue/casting - is the polar opposite to what mine would have been. This is not the film's fault, but it is what it is. As soon as I saw the ridiculous rhinestoned biker outfit worn by our killer, I knew this was not gonna be for me. (That was 3 minutes in).

And at the risk of encouraging others to watch it, this has to be the most absurd amount of nudity I've ever encountered. It's not hyperbole to speculate that there are pornos with fewer naked actresses.

Robert Z'Dar, Mary Woronov, etc etc so I'm sure there's a following for this one but...oof.

Is it just me?
Sorry, if you tell me a movie has Mary Woronov in it, I pretty much have to watch it. Robert Z'Dar and Marjoe Gortner, well, that's just like strawberry jam to top it off.



Victim of The Night
Watching Tourist Trap for the first time and I had not realized that
WARNING: spoilers below
telekinesis
was a major part of the plot.
Yes and at first I was not happy but then the movie just totally won me over.



Victim of The Night
Its perfectly okay to like the Burning. Its just objectively wrong to like it more than the Prowler.
I liked my colonoscopy more than The Prowler.



Victim of The Night


Tourist Trap, 1979

A group of friends on vacation are stranded when their car breaks down. When a local man named Slauson (Chuck Connors) offers to help them repair the car, they end up accompanying him back to his home which also doubles as a museum full of life-like wax figures.

I was overall pretty impressed by this film, which is the kind of movie that sort of makes up the rules and reality as it goes, but always with a kind of consistent dream logic.

Plenty of movies use dolls or wax figures as a way of building atmosphere and menace. I thought that they were used very effectively here, and as the film goes on the mannequins take on more significance.

I didn't find the actors all that engaging, but for the most part it didn't matter as they mainly serve to experience the madness that goes down in the museum. And while most of the horror is of the jump scare or "Huh, that's weird!" variety, there is one centerpiece sequence that is incredibly disturbing.

By the very end, I was really digging the madness and the way that it just gently untethers itself from reality.

Good stuff!

My opinion is that your opinion is on-point.
I waited a long time to see this movie, when I did it was nothing like what I was expecting, it had even weirder curve balls than I had planned for, and I ended up liking it a lot.
Also, I was really pretty impressed with Chuck Connors. Which is not a sentence I ever thought I'd write.



I keep half-watching Tourist Trap in large segments while channel surfing Shudder and every time I feel like I'm going, "I'm missing something big here in terms of plot," to the point where I'm not entirely sure if this is one of those movies that doesn't know exactly what the intricacies of what its plot is either.