I seem to have a lot of trouble judging a book by its cover--or in Chopping Mall's case, a movie by its title. Is it so wrong that I thought Chopping Mall was about some maniac serial killer set loose in a mall--chopping people up? How would I ever make the connection that killer robots are set loose in the mall--laser beaming peoples heads off? Jeesh. I will however say that I love a punny title. So does Jim Wynorski evidently as the title was originally Killbots--which is of course easier to understand but not as charming and delightful as Chopping Mall. So my anger is averted.
Jim Wynorski's Chopping Mall is a barrel of fun. Nothing was more exciting to me than opening my Netflix envelope and reading the words, "Running Time: 1 hr. 17 mins." It was like a choir of angels was singing Stevie Wonder jams into my ear. Short movies are the best. Not only that but I had forgotten that the venerable Dick Miller appeared, alongside Ms. Kelli Maroney who stars AND Barbara Crampton plays a slut who doesn't get raped by a severed reanimated head. What a glorious surprise to find in my Netflix envelope.
Like I said earlier, Chopping Mall is about killer robots. Killbots if you must. These Killbots run amok after a lightning storm causes the computer switchboard to short circuit--resulting in some very warped security Killbots. When a gang of couples fornicating in the bedding store gets locked in the mall, the Killbots are sure to never let them get away.
I'll be straight with you. Out of all the robots in the world, I would say that the Killbots are probaby the 2nd least imposing robots in the world, surpassed only by those homemade robot costumes made out of boxes. Even Screech Powers is capable of building a more threatening robot than these Killbots.
I mean they're pretty clunky right? Not only that but they are loud as fuck. They sound like army tanks. I expected them to have some sick robot gadgets that would possibly allow them to chop someone up. However much to my surprise these sick robot gadgets magically became frickin' sweet ass lasers that blow people's HEADS OFF!
Best. Thing. Ever.
Yes, Chopping Mall truly exceeded my expectations as far as having a movie about robots in the mall be extremely entertaining goes. Sure, I was never really terrified of the robots, or anxious about their assault on our main characters, but that's fine with me. Entertainment is necessary these days, and Chopping Mall is really all about that simple principle.
Aside from the neato robot action, Chopping Mall also does many exciting things. Perhaps the biggest was reminding us all of a much simpler time in our lives. A time when the mall was a wonderful kind of place to be.
A time when it was okay to leave your child alone in an elevator eating a gigantic chocolate ice cream cone.
A time when Coke was served in cups that actually said Coke.
A time when skateboarding in malls was encouraged.
And a time when beautiful women, wearing bikinis could walk around freely.
Yes, the mall was a magical place indeed. Heck, Chopping Mall even made me miss getting together with my friends and having a sex party in the furniture store. Ah, the good old days.
I enjoyed Chopping Mall, I really did. I love these movies that put a refreshing spin on the age old Slasher movie formula. Yes, it could have just been about some guy chopping up teenagers at the mall--but it's not, and that's extremely vital to its success. The robots spice things up, and further more they were put in that mall to protect people. Their malfunction was put there by nature....which obviously means that god was using his lightning bolt to wipe out humanity. Open shut case, really.
Chopping Mall is cheesy, entertaining, hilarious and pure joy. Sure, some things were questionable, like observing how much time they had to save Barbara Crampton after she fell down, or how the robots could ever sneak up on someone with their extremely loud motor. The world is full of questions. These of course, never prevent the film from being great. Kelli Maroney as our hero is extremely resourceful, smart and tough as nails. She once again shows off her brilliant ability to aim and shoot a gun, while still looking adorable at the same time. Oh and she did all her own stunts!
Yes, Chopping Mall is not to be missed and also the film gets huge kudos for having Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel reprise their roles as Paul and Mary Bland from Eating Raoul.
An afternoon delight indeed.
So please, this Thanksgiving--get yourself to the nearest Chopping Mall and have some fun. Also, stop in at Licorice Pizza while you're at it and pick up some records, don't forget to bring your skateboard.