B-Movie Corner: Beware the mall after watching this one
First Posted: 1/5/2015
The idea of the American shopping mall as a retail giant has now been left behind with many malls growing emptier every year. However, in 1986 the shopping mall was the lifeblood of the American economy and the idea of it being the setting for a horror film was primed and ready.
Originally released under the title of Killbots, Chopping Mall seemed immediately destined for cult movie status and also box office failure.
Chopping Mall takes place at Park Plaza Mall which has just installed a state-of-the-art security system, including security shutters across all exits and three high-tech security robots programmed to disable and apprehend would-be thieves using lasers and tranquillizer guns.
Four teenage couples decide to have a party in one of the furniture stores where three of them work. They all stay after hours at the mall to drink and party which inevitably, because it’s the 1980’s, leads to some of the couples having sex in the furniture store. One of the couples, Alison and Ferdy, instead sit together watching old sci-fi movies.
Outside, a lightning storm strikes the mall several times and damages the main computer that controls the security robots. The robots quickly turn evil and kill their technicians and a janitor before going on night patrol in the now empty mall.
Two of the teens decide to leave the furniture store to buy cigarettes and are subsequently killed by the robots. The surviving teens witness the robots during the killing spree and the men and women are forced to separate. The men go into the mall and the women crawl into the air ducts as the robots now are ready to attack and kill all of them.
The men soon break into a sporting goods store to arm themselves with guns whilst the girls take gas and road flares from an automotive store. The teens now feel that they are ready to take on the robots and take back control of the mall.
The film is filled with some great and albeit cheesy kills that are standard fare for many 1980’s horror films and this is a horror film that is far from scary. However there is something very enduring about it.
The wonderful time capsule that is captured of a period when malls were everywhere and it was the normal to hang out in them for long hours after school is captured here. While many younger viewers may not truly understand the idea of shopping malls as the giants they used to be, they will get the point.
Chopping Mall is a great movie to sit around with friends and enjoy and laugh with, or at, while reminiscing about lost youth. It is not a great movie but has a lot of heart.
Final Verdict: Chopping Mall is a film that many say deserves a remake due to the small budget of the original despite the large ideas behind it. While far from a great film it is an enjoyable look back to a bygone era of film making and is also full of 80’s nostalgia. It is one of those films that despite the crazy plot and subpar acting somehow become one that you find yourself re-watching. 80’s horror fans will absolutely want to watch this one.
Where can I get it? : Chopping Mall is available on DVD as a single movie and also available on a multi pack film set at many online retailers such as: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, and FYE. It is also currently streaming on Amazon.