Directed by Jim Wynorski [Other horror films: Not of This Earth (1988), The Return of Swamp Thing (1989), Transylvania Twist (1989), The Haunting of Morella (1990), Sorority House Massacre II (1990), Hard to Die (1990), Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991), 976-Evil II (1991), Ghoulies IV (1994), Sorceress (1995), The Wasp Woman (1995), Vampirella (1996), Storm Trooper (1998), The Bare Wench Project (2000), Raptor (2001), The Bare Wench Project 2: Scared Topless (2001), Project Viper (2002), Wolfhound (2002), The Bare Wench Project 3: Nymphs of Mystery Mountain (2002), Cheerleader Massacre (2003), Bare Wench Project: Uncensored (2003), The Thing Below (2004), The Curse of the Komodo (2004), Gargoyle (2004), Komodo vs. Cobra (2005), The Witches of Breastwick (2005), The Witches of Breastwick 2 (2005), Bare Wench: The Final Chapter (2005), Cry of the Winged Serpent (2007), House on Hooter Hill (2007), Bone Eater (2007), Vampire in Vegas (2009), Cleavagefield (2009), The Hills Have Thighs (2010), Dinocroc vs. Supergator (2010), Camel Spiders (2011), Piranhaconda (2012), Gila! (2012), Scared Topless (2015), Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2015), Legend of the Naked Ghost (2017), CobraGator (2018)]
In many ways, Chopping Mall is a pretty simple movie, taking common elements and meshing them together decently well. It’s not special, and it’s not even particularly memorable, but it’s digestible fun, which counts in it’s favor.
Apparently far more based on Gog (1954) than it was Short Circuit (which came out a year before), the film follows security robots going awry and chasing down eight teens who stay after hours and party in a furniture store (a spiritual prequel to Hide and Go Shriek, some might say). The variety of the kills isn’t really that high, but you do get the ever-classic head being blown off by a laser, which was actually repeated during the beginning of the credits. The electrocutions were sort of cheesy, but still fun. Oh, and there was a slit throat, so there’s some “chopping” for you.
Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet) was solid as a more-reserved teen who quickly became one of the best fighters this group of kids had. She was fun, occasionally adorable, and easy to root for. Few of the other seven teens stand out, though. Tony O’Dell was okay, Suzee Slater had quality breasts (and a fantastic death scene), and even Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond, and most famously, Beyond the Gates) was just eh. No one else stood out aside from Dick Miller, who had just a single scene, but as always with Miller, it was a lot of fun.
As one would hope, the soundtrack is pretty fun (albeit somewhat generic) 80’s synth, but even more fun were the multiple references to other movies. Obviously the posters of The Slumber Party Massacre, Galaxy of Terror, and Forbidden World were visible toward the beginning, but you have Miller’s character being named Walter Paisley (the same name of a character he played in A Bucket of Blood), and then there’s Roger’s Little Shop of Pets (of course referencing The Little Shop of Horrors). Some characters were watching Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) early on before the fun with the robots began. They even threw in some characters from Eating Raoul (a movie I didn’t particularly like, but hey, whateves), so overall, this was fun and playful.
What wasn’t fun or playful was that scene in the pet shop, though – tarantulas probably have very good souls, but they terrify me (just as they did in Deadly Blessing), and that scene in which they’re crawling on Maroney’s arm just freaks me out. That was legit the hardest scene to watch in the film.
With plenty of fun lines, such as Maroney’s final one-liner, and a good, quick pace, Chopping Mall is a movie that got it’s job done and done well. Sure, there’s only one really memorable death scene, and few other scenes really stand out (though I do love the silhouette of the killbot snapping it’s pincers), but even knowing that, Chopping Mall is fun, and it has been since I first saw it years back.
Thank you. Have a nice day.
7 thoughts on “Chopping Mall (1986)”