Chopping Mall (1986)

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RATING– ✮✮✮

DIRECTOR– Jim Wynorski

PLOT– In order to combat the rampant, out of control violence that plagued malls in the 80’s, a team of mall scientists develop robots that kill to patrol after hours. Unfortunately, a group of teens decide to have a party the same night the malfunctioning robots go online.

3 THINGS WE LEARNED-

  1. Mall ATM’s are cranky motherf*ckers
  2. Your mom was right… Don’t chew gum and have sex. You’ll end up dead
  3. Malls have women’s locker rooms filled with girls in lingerie

REVIEW– If you’re old enough to remember when malls were a big deal, you probably remember what a violent, dangerous place they were. In the late 80’s, South Central L.A., Lebanon, and malls were considered the most dangerous places on earth. Every night, dozens of people would be found murdered by Thom McCann Shoes. Each and every day, you didn’t know whether you were coming home after going to the Waldenbooks. Terror would fill your heart and hot dogs would fill your belly when you visited On-A-Stick at the food court.
Remember those times?
No? Neither do I.
My recollection is of fairly carefree times at the mall. Wondering with friends between stores. Spending hours at the arcades. Lunches at the food court. Sure, we were aware of our surroundings, watching out for strangers. But I just don’t remember the need for a fleet of killer, crime fighting robots patrolling for hardened criminals.
But maybe the Park Plaza Mall is different. Maybe they felt the need to employ at least 3 full-time scientists to develop artificially intelligent mini-tanks for shopping mall protection.
I’m guessing the same people who thought this was a good idea also dreamed up the Fogshield (a product that fills your home with fog to confuse crooks so they can’t find their way out… that’s a real thing, honest).
Listen, the premise for the entire movie is ridiculous. Chopping Mall is a madcap Robocop/Bladerunner/2001: A Space Odyssey mashup. Part Meatballs, part Terminator. All 80’s.

FUN FACT– The director of Chopping Mall is Jim Wynorski. It was his sophomore effort. The only movie he directed before this one was a film named The Lost Empire. Mr. Wynorski, if you’ve never heard of him before, is an exploitation B-movie auteur… a living legend, you could say. And here’s why… listen to these titles:
The Return Of Swamp Thing (1989)
976-Evil II (1991)
Dinosaur Island (1994)
Ghoulies IV (1994)
Demolition High (1996)
The Bare Wench Project (2000)
Thy Neighbor’s Wife (2001)
Alabama Jones and the Busty Crusade (2005)
Vampire in Vegas (2009)
Monster Cruise (2010)
…and his latest
CobraGator (2019)

Still probably better than the last Indiana Jones movie!