I’m so excited to finally be able to write about 1986’s Chopping Mall.
If you know me you know I’m a sucker for a title card with a cool font.
The movie follows four couples as they stay overnight at the Park Plaza Mall (Really the Sherman Oaks Galleria). The mall recently installed security robots to protect the mall and added intense security doors.
Unfortunately, a lightening strike makes the robots evil and they kill their technicians.
Then they kill the janitor, Walter Paisley (Remember Dick Miller in A Bucket of Blood? Yup, he’s reprising that role).
The teens realize they’re in trouble when they see Leslie (Suzee Slater) get her head blown off by a robot.
They formulate a plan where the guys try to booby-trap the elevator and the girls try to escape through the air vents. Unfortunately, the killer robots have access to the climate of the mall and turn the heat on in the vents.
The teens are picked off one by one until the only couple left are the slightly nerdy and adorable Allison (Kelli Maroney) and Ferdy (Tony O’Dell).
At seventy-seven minutes, the movie manages to be campy and fun without overstaying its welcome. It also works because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, with lines like, “I’m sorry. It’s not you, Ferdy. I guess I’m just not used to running around a shopping mall in the middle of the night being chased by killer robots.” The synth score is pretty much perfect. It’s funny that movies and shows today are aspiring to this sound.
I also love the movie because it’s an inadvertent time capsule of mall culture. I was just so incredibly nostalgic for the days of hanging out at the mall while watching this. Am I the only one who daydreamed about sneaking in overnight at the mall?
As someone who’s worked in retail for way too long, I can relate so much with the sassy retail coworkers rolling their eyes at the robot demonstration.
They’ve probably heard every dumbass idea from corporate. Boy, do I know that feeling.
I know this is a cheesy Corman movie but I like to think about movies in the context of when they were made. The 80s were the tough on crime era. If a mall back then could have security robots, I bet they would.