Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chopping Mall (1986)

Jim Wynorski is a name that's synonymous when it comes to 80's and 90's Roger Corman fair. He never directed a stone cold classic (his credits include a remake of the Corman classic "Not of this Earth", sequels to "976-Evil", "Swamp Thing" and "Sorority House Massacre", as well as several soft core porn titles) and his name will always be mentioned when one thinks of 80's era cheese, but like many from those days he's become a beloved cult favorite. Out of all of his movies, the most well known and best is the mid 80's slasher flick "Chopping Mall."

Eight teens (including cult cuties Kelli Maroney and Barbra Crampton) decide to have some fun in the mall before it closes. Too bad for them that there is a robotic security system that's gone haywire, and that the three bad bots have taken to killing people.

There isn't really a whole lot as far as plot is concerned in "Chopping Mall." Horny teens end up being pursued by evil, and are knocked off one by one. Hell, the acting is largely bad (though Maroney and Crampton do fine in their roles), the whole thing is rather ridiculous, and people make decisions that really don't make any sense (why do they keep shooting the robots with guns when it has no effect on them whatsoever?) So whether or not it's a good movie is debatable. Yet it's a fun movie, and I found myself enjoying it.

The plot might not be new, but the concept of a trio of killer robots instead of a supernatural force or masked killer is shockingly original, and helps make it stand out a bit. The teens might not be the brightest, but compared to other dumb teens in slasher movies, they are geniuses. This is because these kids don't just sit around and wait to be killed off-they aren't afraid to fight back. It's nice to see some fodder with some backbone. The movie isn't the goriest slasher movie, but we do get some nice kills, the highlight being a nifty exploding head sequence. Even the direction is competent enough, and the score by Chuck Cirino is dated but enjoyable. Oh, the the cameos from several Corman veterans (Dick Miller! Paul Bartel! Mary Warnov!) brought a smile to my face.

Is "Chopping Mall" the best slasher movie of the 80's? Far from it. It is however, a cheesy good time that doesn't take itself too seriously, and has enough to entertain viewers looking for some light but fun horror fluff.

Rating: 7/10

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