A big fat slice of the 80s.
Chopping Mall (1986)
Directed By: Jim Wynorski (The Return of Swamp Thing)
Where to get it: Lionsgate
1986’s Chopping Mall or as it was originally know, Killbots, is a film that has gained a large cult following among horror fans. News even broke recently about a remake of it being in the works. But to me, Chopping Mall has a bit more sentimental value. When I was just a little kid, around the age of 3 or 4, my grandparents for reason I’m still now sure of bought a VHS copy of Chopping Mall. So back in around the 86′ to 87′ time period, my toddler self watched this movie so much that even when it was eaten by our VCR and never re-purchased, I remembered parts of it today. You see, my buying of this film has long been overdue. So this year I finally did what I should have done years ago, I bought the DVD of Chopping Mall.
A group of teenagers that work at the mall all get together for a late night party in one of the stores. When the mall goes on lock down before they can get out, The robot security system activates after a malfunction and goes on a killing spree. One by one the three bots try to rid the mall of the “Intruders”. The only weapons the kids can use are the supplies in other stores. Or…if they can make it till morning when the mall opens back up.
Chopping Mall is one of those films that come along that (to be honest) isn’t that good if you grade it by standards to which most “good” films are held to. However, the damn thing is just soo much fun to watch that you can’t help but enjoy it, even if it’s not the world’s greatest horror film. I mean, just forgetting about any missed logic with the plot for a moment, we have some horror favorites here. Angus Scrimm of Phantasm fame has a cameo. We even got the very hot, Barbara Crampton, from Re-Animator and From Beyond here too in a role. The film had nudity and blood to boot. So, when all is taken into account what you have with Chopping Mall is everything you loved about the 1980s all rolled into one.
Not that there won’t be silly things in between the heads being blown off and boobs that you can’t help but notice. One scene shows a poor girl breaking through the glass of a store in order to get away from the malfunctioned bots. Now you might ask, “What’s wrong with that?”. Nothing, if she hadn’t of just been barely two feet away from the heavy store protecting glass she smashes into. Either that glass was really weak or she’s one hell of a woman. Also, with all the gun fire and explosions going on inside the mall, shouldn’t there be someone nearby in local areas to notice and call the cops? And what about fires? Surely a mall can’t have bombs and fires going on all around without taking the place down in flames? Point is, YES, things are very illogical and silly, but the movie is so much fun you just don’t care.
You have likable characters, you have a rather strong level of violence and action, even if it’s not filled to the brim in blood. There are many movies over the years that are dealing with robots gone wrong, but unlike 90% of those films this one doesn’t suck. There’s funny moments, there’s unintentional funny moments, nudity, and violence. All those ingredients tend to come together to make a very watchable and fun film most of the time and this is one of those times. People who never got to experience the 80s might not be able to truly appreciate this thing. And people who just don’t like films from this period might loath this one. But if you like all the things and the time period I’ve mentioned, I believe you’ll find a film here that you just can’t help but adore.
A very fun and enjoyable film that just makes you want to kick back and take in the show. Lionagate was cool enough to put this out on DVD but I think it’s way past due for a new release or even a blu-ray upgrade. After all, this one isn’t even in wide-screen. But, you still can’t deny the awesomeness of the film. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a whole lot of fun.
The Rating (7/10)