Retro Horror Review of the Week: “Chopping Mall”
Chopping Mall is insanely cheesy in all of the best ways.
There aren’t a whole lot of movies like Chopping Mall. This film is as completely drenched in 80′s horror cheese as cheap nachos. But as cheap and terrible as those nachos are, you can’t stop eating them. Watch it and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Chopping Mall is filmed in 1986 with an estimated budget of $800,000 and is directed by Jim Wynorski. (Check out this link, apparently he just makes really bad exploitation/horror spoof movies now). The movie is filmed in the Sherman Oaks Galleria in Los Angeles which is used as a set in many other movies such as Commando, Terminator 2 and Back to the Future part II. Chopping Mall was originally released as Killbots, which apparently did horrible in the box office under that name.
The premise of Chopping Mall is eight teenagers stay in a mall overnight, the robot security staff malfunctions and starts killing said teenagers. It’s such a simple story-line that you don’t even really need to know it. Killer robots + dumb teenagers + the 1980′s = Chopping Mall, with heavy emphasis on the 1980′s. This film is smack-dab in the middle of the ugliest part of the decade. There’s bad hair cuts and awful clothes in every scene that involves a human being.
The acting and dialogue are definitely the worst parts of this movie. The acting isn’t super awful, it’s just really lame. But the dialogue on the other hand is almost useless if it weren’t for the occasional corny lines (which are actually really funny). I’m sure you could take out all of the dialogue, and you would still understand everything that’s happening. Speaking of people saying things, the sound quality is what you would expect from a cheap 80′s movie, so I really have no complaints.
Special effects are one of the most important parts of a horror film for me. We all know our favorite part of horror movies are the exploding heads (great one of those in the movie!) , brutal stabs or whatever. With that said, the special effects in this film are really entertaining. There’s plenty of awesome looking exploding, stabbing and slicing to go around. All the special effects are by Anthony Showe, and in my opinion, does a great job. While we’re on the special effects topic… the robots are amazingly 80′s. They shoot awful looking pink lasers and have snappy lines like “Thank you. Have a nice day”. They remind me of those robots that hooked up to the NES, but super evil.
Overall cinematography and directing is perfectly fine. There really isn’t anything seriously wrong with either one. It’s no art film, but not an Ed Wood film either.
In conclusion, Chopping Mall is a really fun movie to watch, with all of the chopping and whatnot, but it’s not a horror masterpiece in any sense of the term. It has plenty of parts in it that are extremely entertaining, but the parts in-between are not very riveting. Although this may not be a masterpiece, it is the epitome of cheesy awesomeness. I recommend this movie to any horror fan who hasn’t seen it. You won’t regret it.