It’s that time of year again, when we talk about movies that are actually fun to watch with plenty of nudity, violence, blood, death, rape, and mutilation. I can hardly contain myself! We celebrate the most spooky month of October by bringing you a horror movie every day in 31 Days Of Horror. To kick us off, a favorite of mine.
This is a Jim Wynorsky masterpiece. A local mall has updated its security with state-of-the-art AI robots to take over patrolling the empty shopping complex after work hours. Of course, like with all technology in movies, they malfunction and decide to ignore the three laws of robotics and teach the local teenage horn-dogs a lesson in consumerism.
The kids hide out in the mall after it closes so they can party and commit filthy disgusting per-maritial sin. The laws of horror mean they must be punished for this. The always charming Kelli Maroney and the delicious Barbara Crampton are in this one so you know it’s good. Before long, the teens start wandering through the stores and find they are trapped in with the kill-bots, who go on to waste them in inventive and entertaining ways. One femoid gets her head zapped into pieces. It’s great.
It’s a survival horror story, and most importantly it is a hell of a lot of fun. Chopping Mall is not one of the big names in horror films. It tends to be overlooked. This is understandable as the 80s brought us the best horror movies ever made, so it is a little crowded.
Chopping Mall was produced by Julie Corman, the wife of legendary producer Roger. She had a deal with Vestron that simply stated she was to deliver a horror movie set in a shopping mall. Director Jim Wynorski wrote the script with writing partner Steve Mitchell. Mitchell said they wrote the story in 24 hours and sent it to Julie Corman. Vestron gave their approval within a week despite lack of a full script.
Film scholar Craig Ian Mann compares the film favorably to George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), also set in a shopping mall, which he classifies as an “anti-capitalist parable for the Jimmy Carter years” suggesting that Chopping Mall functions in a similar way as a comment on consumption during the Reagan Era. Mann suggests that the robots in the film, even when malfunctioning, serve as mechanical enforcers of workplace discipline and capitalist interests.
Because this is Last Movie Outpost, and we have always got your back, here is the entire glorious movie for you:
The script was full of in-jokes, writing in characters from A Bucket of Blood and Eating Raoul. Corman favorites Dick Miller, Mary Woronov, and Paul Bartel all appear. It was shot on location at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, the same mall where scenes for Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Commando had also been shot.
It is worth your time to check Chopping Mall out. Highly recommended.
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