Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chopping Mall (1986): Robots vs Teenagers

Chopping Mall (1986)
dir: Jim Wynorski

"I'm just not used to being chased around a mall in the middle of the night by killer robots." - Linda

Here at The Other Films, we have a long love affair with Mary Woronov.  From her start as a Factory Girl, with a part in Chelsea Girls, to her career with the Cormans, following up with her long pairing with Paul Bartel (whom we also love), and her late career moves in throwback films The House of the Devil and The Devil's Rejects, Woronov has always lit up the screen and elevated a b-movie above its current state.

Her best movie has always been Eating Raoul, where she and Paul Bartel play the Blands, a couple who seduces and murders swingers in order to attempt to fund their restaurant. Less known, however, is that the Blands make a cameo in the beginning of Chopping Mall, a B-movie about a bunch of teenagers getting killed by security guard robots after hours in a mall.  The Blands' cameo adds up to little more than harassing the presenter of the killer security guard robots, but it is a nice addition.  It also gives you the fantasy of a sequel that has killer robots roaming around a small country cottage restaurant, which, let's face it, we'd all watch the hell out of.

While this is a great example of cheesy 80s drive-in fare at its finest, Chopping Mall is most infamous for being one of the strongest examples of great 80s poster art that promised far more than it delivered.  Look at the example on the right.  With a name like Chopping Mall, with its bloody slasher logo treatment, and a severed pseudo-robotic hand with a bag full body parts that has a head peeking out of the bag, one might be inclined to think that there was some actual chopping to be done at this mall, perhaps by sexy lady cyborgs with long fingernails. But, instead of lady cyborgs with long fingernails, the robots are something like a Dalek had sex with Johnny 5, and then stole Geordi LaForge's glasses. And they don't chop, they shoot darts, electrocute, and sometimes make people's heads explode.  

Originally, Chopping Mall was titled Killbots, with completely different art that featured the actual robot, and looked more like an action science-fiction movie.  This art is more upfront about what the movie is, but if you saw that movie when you discover that the robots are essentially stand-ins for the slasher in your generic 80's horror movie stalking them through a mall, you'd probably be disappointed as well.  At least, with the Chopping Mall art, you know you're probably being lied to. Roger Corman suspected that the Killbots poster made the movie look like it was tied to Transformers and was actually a kid-friendly movie.  But, it was an R-rated sci-fi horror comedy, and the advertising didn't communicate that.

Chopping Mall is the usual fare of robots stalking and killing teenagers who hang get the keys to a mall department store to drink and have sex after hours.  There's nudity, sex, and explosions, and exploding heads, plus the Blands, all packed into 77 minutes.

There really isn't much to say about Chopping Mall beyond HOW AWESOME IT IS.  The virgins survive, everybody else dies, and really, Chopping Mall knows its delivering schlock on a high level. Every fan of cheesy sci-fi horror should watch this movie now.  I'm actively not commenting on anything because...why spoil the fun?  But, there is an interesting note here.  The director of this piece of awesome is Jim Wynorski, who is known to B-Movie aficionados for being a hugely prolific dealer of schlock containing frequent large exposed breasts.  In Chopping Mall there are large breasts on display, but there is also beefcake on display, sometimes past the point where it would seem the guy should put a shirt on.  So, Wynorski is an equal opportunity exploiter in this movie, which is more than you can say for some other films.

Jim Wynorski would go on do The Return of Swamp Thing, Dinosaur Island, and Munchies before the budgets for B-movies would dry up, and he would resort to doing soft-core Skinemax porno on the dirt cheap.  But, you'll find more about Jim Wynorski in tomorrow's review of Popatopolis, aka The Making of The Witches of Breastwick.  Meanwhile, go watch this pure piece of cheesetastic goodness that I'm purposely trying not to say anything about beyond robots killing teenagers in a mall.  Go watch.

No comments:

Post a Comment