Sunday, 9 July 2017

Review: Chopping Mall (1986)

Stars: Barbara Crampton, Kelli Maroney

Budget: £800k

Directed By: Jim Winorsky

This film seemed like a nostalgic pleasure of mine distributed by none otherthan Roger Corman the king of schlock horror films.
Starring two of the cutest ever scream queen's ever, Babs
Crampton and Kelli Maroney.

Both known for their active roles in the weird and wonderful. Bab's best known for Reanimator, Kelli possibly for night of the comet.
Both great films in their own respects, poor Babs though seems to cop it in any film she's in. Reanimator, this a bunch of other horror films too.

Now I hadn't seen Chopping Mall for quite a while. One of the things that caught me off guard was the running time,
I could have sworn nigh on 15 years ago the film I watched seemed longer than it is.

May be I'm right though as this 77 minute film may well have a 95 minute run time version too. Maybe that's the one I actually watched all those years back?
Anyway the film doesn't suffer in this respect from a short run time.

This film has all the classic tropes of horror movies even the typical drinking, sex and partying. Though all this is capped by evil robots, made evil by lightening!
If you needed a robot security system or army weapon robot to turn either good or bad back in the 80's or 90's all you needed was their systems scrambled by a blast or two of lightening. So the movie starts with a security firm showing off a demonstration of their new advanced robots, laser eyes, sleep darts, taser shots and sharp claws.
A nice cameo by Mary Woronov who was/is also a veteran to horror films as her and her work partner take turns cutting jibes at the robots expense. The Mall has employed the services of three of these robots. We are then shown our heroines of the movie Bab's as Suzie and Kelli as Alison Parks both working in a greasy little cafe in the Mall.

We are then shown the guys who work in a bed shop, Ferdy (played by Tony O'Dell) is rather nervous as the rest of the guys want to throw a party in the shop once the Mall is closed. Gerrit Graham from C.H.U.D. II is also in here as one of the technicians of the security bots.
His partner is in the security room relaxing before the robots go online when a random thunderstorm throws down three bolts of lightening that fry the central computer that controls the robots. They then kill the one technician and hide his body, Gerrit's then taken out next. The robots then go on patrol around the mall.

After partying and sex one of the teens is killed after he goes to get cigarettes for his girlfriend, not only that a cleaner played by Murray Futterman actor Dick Miller is electrocuted by one too. The girl goes looking for her boyfriend and is chased almost back to the others. The rest of the teens see her screaming outside and her head is blown up by a laser blast. The rest of them then go about arming themselves and trying to take out the bullet proof killer security robots.
They slowly get taken out one by one occasionally destroying one of the mad robots every couple of teens killed. It is yes, very standard and straightforward as many horror films, this time though there's just a certain chemistry that makes this feel good to. By far no gem but definitely worth a watch and deserving of a place in many peoples cult classics.

THN awards Chopping Mall a good 3 out of 5 stars and watch on a rainy day!

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