Chopping Mall (1986)

You know what I like? Horror movies with capable protagonists. That is what I love about Chopping Mall.

Eight teenagers get trapped in the mall with a trio of killer security robots. What do they do? They stock up on firearms, use propane tanks to improvise booby traps, and turn gasoline containers into makeshift firebombs. They try to figure out how to get around the robots to escape or shut them down. They set up traps to trick the robots and survive. Yes, they occasionally let their emotions get the better of them, and many of them get killed as a result, but they’re not morons. I found them worth rooting for.

Basically a bunch of teenagers hide out in the mall to have a wild sex party, because as we all well know by now, this is all teenagers did in the 1980s. Unfortunately, they don’t know that the mall is now being protected by military-grade robots that look like mini Zambonis and have laser cannons and claw hands that can rip a man to shreds. They also don’t know the robots are now on the fritz thanks to a well-placed bolt from Zeus. They find out when one poor lady gets her head blasted open like a ripe melon. Yeah, that’s not a good way to find out you’re up against killer robots.

Chopping Mall is not a perfect movie, not at all. There are a lot of weird oddities to it, like why the killer robots suddenly have laser cannons and why nobody thought that maybe lightning could mess with the transformer that they stuck up on the roof. But it’s an entertaining romp through the mall, it knows exactly what kind of movie it is, and it has fun with honoring some B-film greats in the nasty pizza restaurant. I had a blast watching it.

Also, this movie is kinda the opposite of Dawn of the Dead; instead of being a critique of mass consumerism, I watched it and discovered I could find practically everything I need at the mall. Nice.

And Dick Miller is here! Woo!

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