Retro Review: ‘Chopping Mall’


Though they may now stand as relics of a bygone era where old people workout and young people loiter and commit petty crimes, they mall was once a staple of American life. In the materialistic 1980’s, a community would see it as a boom to receive a shopping mall, providing all their citizens with one place where they could purchase anything they desired. With horror movies being cranked out at a nonstop rate during the Decade of Excess, it seemed only a matter of time before the shopping mall became the setting for a horror flick. This finally came to pass in 1986 with the science-fiction inspired terror which was Chopping Mall.

Seeing a need to modernize their security, the Park Plaza Mall institutes a fleet of advanced robots to serve and protect their business. It would not be long before the flaw in these miracles of science would be revealed. A lightning strike to the mall would take the dedication to the job to a whole new level for these mechanical sentries of the food court. Of course being an 80’s horror flick this would also be the night a group of teens would secretly spend the night at the mall to engage in your standard 80’s horror debauchery. In order to survive these youths have to turn into commandos and use the weapons available at the mall to fight against the Killbots.

You can not deny Chopping Mall knows the kind of movie it is and proudly wears it on its awesomely-designed movie poster. Jim Wynorski the director and co-writer of the film along with producer Julie Corman, wife of the legendary Roger Corman, knew exactly the type of popcorn fun horror flick they were making. They even included cameos from B-movie icon Dick Miller as well as Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel reprising their roles from the cult classic Eating Raoul. Chopping Mall is a cheesefest befitting a film taking place in a lavish shopping mall. Every character is disposable, but I will admit aside from a head exploding few of the deaths scenes are particularly memorable. That being said the previously mentioned exploding head scene is pretty great.

Over the years Chopping Mall has become a guilty pleasure among the horror crowd. Lighthearted and moving at a brisk pace the flick is a good bit of fun.