Chopping Mall (1986)

Hello, and welcome to the penultimate entry into my 31 Days Of Horror. I struggled finding a film that lived up to being the selection for Halloween Eve, then thought, ah, what the hell. Let’s just watch Chopping Mall!

Directed by Jim Wynorski, Chopping Mall takes place in the super-advanced Park Plaza Mall – the same as used in Commando – in everytown-USA. I say super-advanced, but really the most advanced thing in the mall is the new state-of-the-art security system. This security system features three high tech robots designed to apprehend would-be thieves and vandals with tasers, tranquilliser guns and big old grabby claws.

Over the course of the day, we meet Rick, Linda, Greg, Suzie, Mike, Leslie, Ferdy and Allison – your classic 30-something teenagers who decide to sneak into the department store after closing to essentially have an orgy in the furniture store. Don’t pretend you’ve never thought about it.

Unfortunately for them, a ruddy great lightning storm strikes the mall, and only goes and supercharges the computer controlling the security robots before unleashing the newly bloodthirsty machines out into the mall after killing the security guard, and later, poor old Walter the janitor, played by Corman regular Dick Miller. Classic stuff.

As the lusty couples explore out of the furniture store, they come face to face with the patrolling machines and when Mike and Leslie get brutally slaughtered in front of the others, the kids take matters into their own hands – and take to the sporting goods store to arm themselves with guns and propane tanks before turning on the robots and taking them on, guerrilla style.

Chopping Mall really is one of those films you just have to see to appreciate. Originally, it was called Killbots – a perfect title, but, when this it flopped big time at the box office, the film was renamed Chopping Mall and re-released to modest success. Despite the fact that I’m pretty certain there’s no chopping, more sort of… laser blasting. But it has a mall in it, so I guess it works.

The robots themselves are pretty great – and more than a little bit adorable. I’m almost certain I had a battery powered toy that looked identical to these machines.

That said, there’s a pretty savage series of kills throughout the film and some classically camp special effects. Whether someone is being electrocuted, burned alive, their throat slashed or their head EXPLODED, it’s incredible fun and I recommend it to anyone. I think with a low budget film like this, it’s almost law to have an inappropriate but totally awesome theme tune, too – and this one is just flawless!

So, if you see Chopping Mall on your streaming service, or you find a hard copy somewhere, for Christ’s sake get it. Because it’s great, great fun.

See you tomorrow!


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