Chopping Mall (1986) ***
D: Jim Wynorski
C: Kelli Maroney, Tony O' Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, Suzee Slater, Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, Dick Miller, Gerrit Graham, Mel Welles
P: A group of teenagers hold an after hours party in a furniture store based in a state of the art mall complete with steel doors and robots that act as security guards. However, due to a freak accident the robots have malfunctioned and are killing off everyone thinking that they are intruders.
Review: For some reason, Chopping Mall holds a special little place in my heart. Maybe, it's because the film takes me back to the 80's. The film's various characters have big hair and wear some of the most hideous 80's fashions imaginable. They talk very much like an 80's teenager would even using words such as Bodacious! Maybe, it's because the film captures the mall culture type environment that reminds me of my own teen years. Or maybe, it's because of those killer robots that appear throughout the film?!?
In Chopping Mall, the film's protagonists have to go head to head with killer robots. These robots shoot lasers and chase the film's characters throughout a state of the art mall. In one memorable scene, Suzee Slater has her head blown off by one of the robot's laser beams. Afterwards, the robot makes sure to thank her and even tells her to "Have a nice day".
There also happens to be a fighter in this group of characters in the form of Kelli Maroney. She's a tough cookie. She's smart and resourceful. She knows how to kick butt and fire a gun. Yet, she still feels very much like a person you might know in real life and she still has a sense of femininity to her. This was the first time I remember seeing a strong female heroine who was a worthy advisory to the central villain in a horror film. As for the other characters, I appreciated how each of these characters had a distinct identity and that each of the actor's gave there characters a sense of personality.
Chopping Mall also happens to have a sense of humor. There's cameo appearances from various Roger Corman alumni. There's in joke references galore and there's even a mall intercom in which the announcer makes some funny jabs such as a kid being lost in the lingerie department of a store, but let's not kid ourselves. Chopping Mall isn't high art. It's the type of film that embraces goofiness with open arms. That's part of the film's charm and way it has managed to endure over the years while other horror films have been forgotten about. [R] 77 mins.
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