Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chopping Mall ( 1986 )


 AKA: KillBots

"Eight teenagers are trapped after hours in a high tech shopping mall and pursued by three murderous security robots out of control."

There was a time in the mid 80's where you can take the simple formula of throwing a group of horny teenagers, put them in the right place ( of course at the wrong time ) throw in a escaped maniac or undead killer and you got yourself a average horror film. But what I like about Chopping Mall is that it somewhat twists the formula a little bit without going too much over the top. What if we threw them in a shopping mall ( haven't seen many of those since Dawn Of The Dead ) and instead of a basic killer with a ghostly back story or little ghoul monsters, we'll throw in some high-tech security robots  ( equipped with lasers, explosive devices, and tasers ) and let them go haywire ? Needless to say. It worked.

The killbots
Chopping Mall starts off quite quickly, with no bullshit. It also boasts quite a title theme during the opening credits, it has a synth type feel and totally up the alley for 80's horror theme fans. Our robots are introduced as the new security officers for the mall to deter thieves from breaking in. On the first night of their "job", a freak electrical surge causes their systems to malfunction and things from then on get deadly. Unsuspectingly a group of teenagers plan to unleash their hormones and stay the night in the now lock down mall.

Our group of teens is pretty much 80's galore. Super lame-o 80's dudes ( these guys are considered cool or dreamboats ?! Women in the 80's were all fucked in the head ), we also have the nerd, the overly dumb meat head jock and of course the babe girlfriends. There's a few familiar faces you may recognize in the group for you die hard fans like myself. One is the lovely Barbara Crampton ( Re-Animator, From Beyond, Castle Freak ), the other being Kelli Maroney (  Night Of The Comet ).

Barbara Crampton about to taste death
There's also a slew of cameos of other recognizable faces throughout the film, including Mary Woronov ( Terrorvision, Night Of The Comet ), Paul Bartel ( Gremlins 2, Killer Party ), Dick Miller ( Night Of The Creeps, Demon Night, Gremlins ), Gerrit Graham ( Childs Play 2, Terrorvision ).

Right before the infamous head explosion
Basically from here on, the couples "get it on", which we all know is a big no-no if you want to survive a horror movie ! So if you ever find yourself in this situation, try to keep your pants on. Upon exploring the mall, they group runs head on into the now killer robots who then start their bloody rampage. The rest of the film is basically our group attempting to fight back by orchestrating plans using the resources in the mall to fight back the KillBots while the body count rises.

Fried douchebag
This film puts a smile on my face, it has a honest and fun cheesy feel to it. I would say its up there with the great 80's horror films of the era. But it didn't have much success during its initial run, it was first released under the title KillBots, and the producers felt the title may have disinterested audiences by thinking it was more like a Transformers type film instead of a violent horror film. It was then decided to change the title to re-release under the now classic title Chopping Mall. What else do you think it could be with a title like that ? Luckily it gained a huge cult status over the years, and rightfully so. Its chock full of cheesy humor and 50's sci-fi references ( hence the KillBots ). The acting is campy, but it fits right because its supposed to be campy ! The plot moves at a pretty decent pace, so its never boring. All the characters are dispensable but entertaining to watch. A great solid way to burn up a hour and a half. You have to see Chopping Mall, trust me, its worth the watch.

Gore : 2/5- There is some memorable death scenes in this one, burned to death, throats slashed, decapitation, electric shock, and one super cool head explosion scene. Could of been more though.

Gratuitous Nudity : 2/5 - This one does have some skin action, we get a few nice ones for the boobie lovers, one scene from Barbara Crampton herself as well.

Alternate poster art
Death Count : 8+

Special FX : 2/5 - Not to much happening here, while the head explosion was probably the best effect in the film, there isn't much else that surpasses it, the robots are pretty basic as well ( what the fuck do you expect, its robots ! ).

Things to look for : In the pizza parlor there's several theater posters of other B- horror movies adorning the walls. Such as Slumber Party Massacre, Forbidden World and many others. In another scene a character tells one of the robots "Klaatu verata nicktu" which is a phrase used in the 1951 film The Day The Earth Stood Still and in Army Of Darkness.

Things you will learn from this movie

Showgirls just randomly walk around malls.

Robots are really polite after they kill you.

Paint is explosive.

Certain robots have unsettling "ethnic qualities".

Telling your woman she smells like pepperoni will turn her on.

Pizza shop chefs are always stereotypical italians.

All security guards do is look at nudie magazines.

Memorable quotes : "Lets send those fuckers a rambo-gram"

All in all I give this one about


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