Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chopping Mall:No One Kills Dick Miller With Sqiggly Lights and Gets Away With It!

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.


Morgan said...

Love those Killbots!

Kelli Maroney is everything I want to be, a cute badass. I'm still trying to figure out a way of putting together that cheerleading outfit she wore in Night of the Comet.

Franco Macabro said...

I also felt cheated by this movie, since the robot hand on the cover of the VHS looks a whole lot more cooler then the entirety of the robots in the whole freaking film. I didnt like the fact that thes robots were these mini tanks shooting lazer beams, it was not the idea I had of the movie at all. Ultimately, like you I had fun with it, but ended up thinking that something way cooler could have come from that concept!

The Vicar of VHS said...

I couldn't agree more, Andre! Chopping Mall is just non-stop entertainment from one end to the other. I have watched and rewatched it with a huge grin on my face that only gets huger as the flick goes on. A mall with a gun store called "Peckinpah's"? A pet store called "Little Shop of Pets"? An actress who gets her end credit over a picture of her own exploding head?

F*ck the fuchsia! Let's party! :)

Anonymous said...

This movie is deliciously cheesy fun. Like a big ol' plate of nachos. I'm with the Vicar: the freeze frame of the exploding head is one of the best closing credit sequences of all time.


Pearce said...

I loved, loved, loved this movie. The vhs cover when I rented it showed a steel claw clutching a shopping bag filled with body parts, with an eyeball on top. I'm still amazed that the movie underneath did not disappoint.

Kelli Moroney was so cool. I also loved Night of the Comet, where she teams up with Catherine Mary Stewart's enormous hair. She gets to tote a gun in that one as well.

It was like a choir of angels was singing Stevie Wonder jams into my ear.

This is the best phrase ever for describing something that you love.

Unknown said...

I really like this movie.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

pre-teens and robots... i mean pre-robots and teenagers...
Have a ball!

Anonymous said...


Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed this post so much that I included it as one of my favorites from November.

Check it out!


Andre Dumas said...

Wow! Thanks Jonny Metro! I am honored sir : )

and thanks Kelli Maroney for stopping by ; )

Steve Mitchell said...

Hi Andre,

I was linking around the net and came upon an iconic image of Suzee Slater screaming in CHOPPING MALL. On further investigation I found my way to your site and the review of our movie. It was very gratifying to read how much everyone seems to enjoy it some 25 -- or is it 26 years -- after the initial release. I can tell you that CM was as much fun to make as it is to watch.

Thanks for the kind words!
Co-Writer & 2nd Unit Director of CHOPPING MALL

Jim Wynorski said...

I had as much fun making it as you guys apparently had watching it. Thank you all for your nice comments. All the Best, Jim Wynorski

Andre Dumas said...

Wow, thanks Steve Mitchell AND Jim Wynorski, what a surprise to find in my comment box ! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello : )

Chris Hewson said...

I prefer short movies too, from all those hour-or-so long Universal horror movies from the 30's or the recent 75 minute long Showdown in Little Tokyo (one of the four movies that starred up-an-coming film legend Brandon lee, son of Bruce). Although on the flip side, I love super long old movies, such as all those silent epics like Cabiria, Les Vampires, Fantomas or Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler and the movie serials from the 40's, like Drums of Fu Manchu and the like.