Slausen Cutoff

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If you’re my age or older you probably remember good ol’ Chuck Connors (The Rifleman, Branded) that rugged All-American t.v. hero…Well, you ain’t seen him like this…He’s playing one of the many, many cinematic psychopaths inspired by Ed Gein. Certain elements of this picture will remind you of Psycho (except he’s running a roadside museum, not a motel) Texas Chainsaw Massacre (except he’s not a cannibal) and instead of taxidermied corpses we get creepy-ass statues and mannequins which you’re never sure whether they have corpses inside, are just plain store mannequins or have ventriloquist mouths that will pop open and laugh maniacally like funhouse displays. He also has telekinesis (a power usually reserved for bullied kids or heroes to fight the villain with in these kinds of pictures). Add it all up and you get a madman who can appear to be literally everywhere at once! The five stranded travelers (Yup, it’s that hoary old trope…Except they’re in a jeep, not a van, that breaks down) are mostly not that interesting…the guys, anyway. Two of the girls are Tanya Roberts (Charlie’s Angels, the 80’s big screen Sheena and tons of straight to video erotic thrillers) who is a brunette here so she must not have discovered bleach yet…and Jocelyn Jones (The Great Texas Dynamite Chase) who is the obligatory sexually-repressed “good girl”…How do we know this? Because she wears a white sundress, sunbonnet and pigtails. Subtle, huh? She’s really good here, though. And if you’re a fan of the Puppet Master movies you might like to know that the guy who directed the first one of those, David Schmoeller, also directed this. Anyway, Chuck really goes for broke with this role, like he’s trying to outdo both Tony Perkins and Vincent Price in the high-voltage crazy department…Which reminds me…I still haven’t tracked down that movie where he plays a mad bomber…

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