Director: Jim Wynorski
Writers: Jim Wyonorski and Steve Mitchell
Starring: Kelli Maroney, Tony O’Dell, John Terlesky, Russell Todd, Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, Dick Miller, and Barbara Crampton
Chopping Mall, is a fun slasher film, with incredibly cheesy effects, silly moments, and a fair few laughs. The premise is three security robots in a shopping mall start hunting down a group of teenagers that are locked inside after hours. It’s like Robocop mixed with Dawn of the Dead.
The opening scenes are brilliant. It starts with a presentation being given about the robots, how they work, their abilities, and the way they would be able to distinguish between the good and the bad. You just know it’s not going to happen the way they say it is. It’s very reminiscent of the scene in Robocop, which actually came out the year after Chopping Mall, where the company introduces the giant robot in a presentation that ends up killing one of their employees. It doesn’t end up the same, however, and the robots are put into use, although thanks to some lightning strikes, they don’t take long to start killing.
Everything about the film is a little goofy, from the opening presentation to the inconsistancies in the attacks from the robot’s lasers (they explode heads but also barely hurt people). It’s not trying to be anything other than a good entertaining film, and for the most part it does just that. Mindless entertainment that passes the time, but not much more than that.
When the film received its original limited release, it was simply titled Killbots and was around ninety minutes long. Audiences didn’t react well and the title was changed to the far better Chopping Mall, and a chunk of the film was cut out. Sadly, even with a run time of around seventy-five minutes, it does feel like it goes on a little too long. It’s charm starts to run thin and the whole thing starts to drag way too soon. It’s a shame because when the film first starts, it’s really good, it just doesn’t keep that up for the whole run time. There’s still enough to enjoy in the film so it’s worth watching at least once.
Like so many 80s slasher films, Chopping Mall has gained a cult following in the years since its release and it’s easy to see why. It’s fun, charming, and doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s not a great film, but if you ever have a marathon of the good kind of bad horror film, then it more than deserves a place on it.
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