Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The 259th review overall!
It’s vacation all I ever wanted! It’s been a bit since I took extended time off, or at least it feels like it, so I’m really going to enjoy this. Before I head up north for festivities, I had movies to watch! So for today I checked out...
Chopping Mall (1986). Shudder.
Here’s something you should know about me, I have a soft spot for 80’s cheese when it comes to horror and for stupid puns. Since I’ve left channel 13, the latter is at an all time low. Somewhere I have a shirt that THE Anderson gave me from the first Dead Rising game, it says “Chop till you drop.” I love it.
Just by looking at the title, you know exactly what you’re getting into. A mall just spent a whole lot of money on new robot security guards. They’re state of the art, employing non-lethal means to subdue anyone in the mall after hours that shouldn’t be. The mall however didn’t count on a freak lightning storm causing the robots to go haywire. Instead of only targeting burglars, it targets everyone, and instead of non-lethal means it goes heavy on the murder. Unfortunately for some security guards, a janitor and a group of kids having a booze-fueled party in the furniture store they work at, they picked the wrong day to get trapped in the mall after hours.
This movie is ridiculous as only an 80’s horror movie could be, and I love it. It was made by a director working for Roger Corman who is known for, among other things, keeping costs down, so it’s extremely low budget. Normally that hurts a movie’s quality, but with a premise like this, it actually adds to the enjoyment level. The robots shoot lasers that look so bad, it’s hilarious! The beams of light go everywhere and seem to be hitting a lot but the actors don’t react, it’s only when the movie wants to know they’re actually hit they fall to the floor and scream, it’s funny how many lasers these three robots shoot out and how many miss the mark, it looks like a light show at times. They’re also inconsistent because sometimes when you’re hit it only cuts you, and others it explodes your head. It’s all very silly.
The characters are about what you’d expect from this kind of movie. They have all the fun archetypes, including a meathead character that is chomping on his gum every time you see him. It’s like the director told him to make sure people know he has gum at all times. Even after sex he’s opening and closing his mouth like a cow with a goofy smile on his face. There’s not much else to his character other than that, and he dies relatively early, but based on the gum alone he was my favorite character.
It’s fun watching them run from the very slow robots and setting up traps for them. They even use the time-tested strategy of getting the robots to shoot a laser at a mirror and having it fly back at it. As far as 80’s camp horror goes, I’d rank it below Night of the Creeps and The Blob, but it’s still a lot of fun nonsense. I mean, it’s an insane premise with a backdrop of killer robots that seem like they’d be easy to avoid in a three story mall. But I don’t care, even the most unnecessary kamikaze death was wonderful, punctuated nicely by a huge explosion that makes no sense. I mean, it’s not good by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a hell of a lot of fun. There’s just something about watching a robot murder someone then telling them in a monotone robot voice, “Have a nice day.”
8 Dr. Chainsaws!
Learn More: Chopping Mall