Behind this rather hilarious title, Chopping Mall hides a pretty entertaining eighties horror movie. Just think Critters, The Blob, or Fright Night and you’ll know exactly what to expect. A delightfully cheesy and dated time capsule perfect for relaxation. Blending scares, nudity, and hilarious one-liners, this one comes really close to the so bad it’s good genre. However, I just couldn’t do that to the Killbots. Oh, I almost forgot, the original title of this movie was Killbots. Too bad Zapp Brannigan wasn’t there to help, to quote him: “You see, Killbots have a preset kill limit. Knowing their weakness, I sent wave after wave of my own men at them, until they reached their limit and shutdown.”
It’s no wonder they’ve retitled it to Chopping Mall, a much more descriptive and on-the-nose title. It suggests that they weren’t taking themselves too seriously although that’s hardly noticeable once you start watching the movie. Since it’s taking place in one location, there’s this slight feeling of claustrophobia and tension. On the other hand, when our characters start talking or running all of that just evaporates. This is a distinctly eighties movie combining two big things of that decade: malls and robots. What more to want?
A group of horny guys organizes a party in a mall after closing, hoping to get laid with their fellow female coworkers. What they did not know is that the newly purchased robots in charge of the security of the mall will go haywire. Now four couples must run for their lives and try to escape these killer robots.
The acting is average, but still convincing enough not to spoil the other good aspects of the movie. Unlike similar movies that featured zombies, monsters, or just plain old crazy killers, here we have killer robots. They don’t look like The Terminator but they are sure deadly. Something that will be further explored in the coming decades. Off the top of my head, I can remember that another eighties movie, Moontrap featured a similar type of villain. The seventies also gave us one hell of a killer robot in Proteus from Demon Seed. Although the location, which plays a huge role here, is more reminiscent of the cult classic Dawn of the Dead. This is also a good time to tell you that Chopping Mall doesn’t feature much gore or violence. Despite all the artwork and the title, most of the deaths are pretty timid and simplistic.
With a running time of just over seventy minutes, this is a short and sweet thrill ride. It’s perfect for those nights when you want to watch something predictable and you’re feeling nostalgic about the eighties. Remastered, restored, and available both on Blu-ray and streaming services, Chopping Mall is always a great choice. Enjoy.
Director: Jim Wynorski
Writers: Jim Wynorski, Steve Mitchell
Cast: Kelli Maroney, Tony O’Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky
Fun Facts: The film was shot in a real mall in California after working hours. The only condition was to not disturb or damage the property or the shops. The head security guy gave the production a lot of problems but owner was superhelpful and so they were able to finish the shoot in time.