Tourist Trap (1979) Review

The iconic Chuck Connors stars as an isolated lunatic in the somewhat surreal Tourist Trap, in which a group of young friends are terrorized by his telekinetic ability to animate mannequins and other found objects. While the mannequins receive a little too much attention when they come to life and continuously pile on to victims, their movements and voice controls are completely eerie. Though some scenes are rather goofy and Connors’ character has the uncanny power to appear wherever his victims might end up, Tourist Trap still stands as a worthwhile curiosity. [Rating: $6] -Kenyon

Similar: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Magic, Puppet Master

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

Unlike Last House on the Left, Cannibal Holocaust and several other early infamous shock films of its kind, I Spit has the smart sense to leave out the hokey, contradictory music and allow a challenging film to resonate effectively. This means that the precise revenge murders, each unique and somewhat elaborate, are much more powerful. Aside from the bloody mayhem, there is a great, simplified suspense scene where an uncivilized redneck is deciding whether or not to pick up a bag of groceries he’s asked to deliver to a woman he helped gang rape and leave for dead. But the victim is a strong woman and no one is going to stop her from writing her book as well as patiently slaying the depraved goons. We have a winner. [rating: $9] –Kenyon

VHS is the SHT: Body Shop

from my own collection, now on eBay.
VERY RARE Body Shop VHS BIG BOX from Paragon, dated 1986

Box is intact and uncut, edges have some wear. There are some creases on the left side of box and on bottom. Only a couple of very small tears at top and bottom box flaps. There is a bar code sticker on side of box. Running time 75 minutes. Most of this movie–derived from Frankenstein–is pretty mundane, though the primitive gore effects are unforgettable.

Last House on the Left (1972, 2009)

For a film that created so much controversy at the time of its release, the original Last House on the Left had a wild and corny soundtrack. A happy traveling song fit for Benny Hill (with kazoo, no less!) precedes the violent murders of two young girls who lack escape skills. By now Wes Craven and company must realize that the film would be a million times better with no soundtrack at all. And it’s not only the music that is a problem. There are a couple of moronic local cops who waste time and comically fail to hitch a ride with a stereotypical southern black woman driving a truck load of chickens. All of this equates to around 20 irrelevant minutes.

Better to get to the heart of the story. A ragtag, ruthless group of criminals (plus the leaders’ son who, in the original, dreams of being a frog) murder two girls and then coincidentally that same night wind up at the home of one of the girl’s parents.

While the film received much criticism for its realistic depiction of rape and murder, the most interesting aspect of Last House is the change in the parents of the victim. Early in both films, we see a lighthearted, gentle couple. When they realize the people who tormented their daughter are in their home, they turn as sadistic as the villians.

The remake actually does a better job working into that transformation, and the parents’ blistering savage revenge has several moments that deserve literal applause (squeeze a nose that merely an hour ago you stitched up? hell yea!). At the same time, however, the remake goes soft by allowing two characters who perished in the first film to survive. [rating: 1972 – $6, 2009 – $8] –Kenyon

Demon Witch Child (1975)

(Spain, aka the Possessed) Reading up on Demon Witch Child leads to it being called a rip of the Exorcist. Really, this strange supernatural work only has one thing in common with the Exorcist. This would be the possession of a young girl. Besides that, it’s a completely different trip. First of all, the girl is possessed by a witch…AND a demon (!?). That detail is confusing. The child is not in a bed waiting for the priest to enter. This girl is roaming around normally while making the rudest–and often humorous–comments under the spell of the demon/witch. What she says to the detective searching for a baby killed by a satanic cult deserves applause. And then she chops a guy’s balls off! NOTHING like the Exorcist. Very little time is even spent on an exorcism.

A crude picture quality allows an authentic look for Demon Witch. This could be immediately improved, however, by removing the soundtrack and dismissing or skipping the melodramatic scenes of a priest and his ex-lover. Then it would be eerie as hell. Oh hell, just remake the damn thing. [rating: $6] –Kenyon

VHS IS THE SHT: Feast for the Devil (1971)

Feast for the Devil aka Feast of Satan (Spain, 1971) Sold on eBay for $57. Both titles sound gruesome but the consensus is that Feast is slow, goreless and basically a waste of time aside from the architecture of an old castle. The box art is on par with other releases from Mogul Communications, but they’ve surely worked with better films. The only video found at press time is this trailer, which is free of voice-overs.

Watch The Feast of Satan bumpers EZTakes Movie Download in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

VHS IS THE SHT: Avenged (1977)

VHS IS THE SHT. rare, valuable finds based on global market value.

Avenged (aka Tomcats aka Deadbeat, 1977)
Sold on eBay for $75 This very obscure and very hard to find “sex and violence” flick is akin to revenge classics such as I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left. Released in big box by Continental, it’s so unknown there’s not even an entry for it on wikipedia and on youtube there’s only one video, which is the trailer. A trailer that doesn’t seem to take the film seriously enough. In fact, the trailer focuses on the group of villians and disregards any revenge story. To make it even more difficult to find, it goes by two other titles! –Kenyon

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) A psychological chiller rarely mentioned, Let’s Scare pre-dates some of horror’s most influential films, allowing it to walk its own path. While it does have that 1970s horror film atmosphere, the movie only plays mind games with the namesake character and ultimately the viewer. The emotional mess Jess has recently left a mental hospital. She, her husband and a pal move to a big house in rural Connecticut, where Jess starts seeing things and hearing voices. It’s not clear if all the images she sees are real or in her mind. Meanwhile, they are acquainted with a woman who they find already living in the house. She turns out to be either a vampire, a ghost or just a sick and twisted drifter who strums a stringed instrument with audio dubbed over it (yikes!). In the early 70s this must have spooked people, but with a lack of meaning and no closure, the film–even with its moments of suspense–comes up short in its attempt to scare. [rating: $5] –Kenyon