Where shopping costs you an arm & a leg…that tagline alone should make you want to see this movie.
It is a gloriously 80’s cheese-fest of a movie that is by no means good but is still hugely entertaining. The joy of watching a movie like this is it comes from an era where the clichés we know so well weren’t clichés yet. An era of men being the heroes & the women running, screaming & falling over. An era of synthesized soundtracks lopped over & over again.
Ignore the cynical horror movie fan inside, sit back & enjoy it for what it was.
The movie opens showing a robber helping himself to some jewels in a shop. He is pursued by a ‘high-tech’ robot that, after a short chase, takes the man down using a sleeping dart.
This is a promotional movie being shown to the employees of Park Plaza Mall to introduce the new security system. As well as 3 of these robots roaming the halls after hours some pretty hardcore shutters have been installed too giving the mall a more prison style feel.
That night, the first night the robots are to be used, sees Rick & Linda (married), Greg & Suzie (a couple), Mike & Leslie (a couple) & Ferdy & Allison (been set up by Greg & Suzie) all staying behind after hours to have a party in a furniture shop.
Meanwhile outside a lightning storm hits damaging the super-computer that sits on the roof. This computer controls the actions of the robots & with it being damaged we now have robots that kill their masters & a janitor before going on patrol in the mall.
See where this is going yet?
Our group of party animals all stop the drinking to have sex in several of the beds…. (gratuitous boob shots) all except for Ferdy & Allison who watch films. Ferdy is a bit of a nerd & Allison is beginning to fall for his nerdy charm (I guess).
It’s not long before the party is crashed by the murderous bots & a fight for survival ensues.
I will admit to be being unsure about whether Chopping Mall could really be called a horror movie but those fears were put to rest by an exploding head scene that left me open-mouthed. It comes out of nowhere & looks amazing.
The film has a habit of doing that as well, violent moments that seem out of place to the overall tone. A scene that sees one of the females set on fire is particularly harsh.
Being an 80’s movie the cast is average throughout…characters are paper-thin & behave really stupidly at times. One scene sticks out in particular…Allison has avoided one of the robots by hiding in a pet store amongst a loose snake & spiders. She manages to control her fear & the robot leaves. She gets up, promptly walks out into the mall & is instantly spotted by the robot again.
Most of the film is the group trying to find ways to destroy the robots but failing. They manage to get into a gun shop & find a wide range of weapons that never seem to need to be reloaded but they turn out to be useless against the bots.
It is interesting to see how the group think outside the box to deal with the robots though & each attempt makes a certain kind of sense (except the fire bomb one).
It’s easy to pick holes in the robots themselves if you so choose as they don’t look in any way special & often appear quite slow (even though characters can’t outrun them). However the number of ways they can kill you is believable & inventive.
The music throughout is stellar taking advantage of the popularity with synthesized music during this era of horror. It repeats quite a bit but you really won’t mind as it fits scenes perfectly.
A great cheese-fest of an 80’s horror movie that never tries to be anything more than teens trying to survive against killer robots.