Movie Review: Chopping Mall (1986)

As hinted at last week, young people love to go to the mall during the summer. Especially if there isn’t much else to do. But what happens if… something happens at the shopping mall? Or should I say, the Chopping Mall?

This time, rather than a sleepaway camp, or a cabin on a lake, or a slumber party, these young people decided to hang out after-hours at a mall. Only, the new security bots are absolutely bonkers and out to kill anyone they come across, including their operators and a janitor.

The robots themselves are pretty neat, and standard sort of eighties robots: on tracks because a walking robot is really hard to do, with red “eyes” at the top. They’re sort of shaped like triangles and they have an R2-D2 level of gadgets: lasers, spray-foam explosives, tasers, knock out darts, and arms capable of killing. They’re also nearly invulnerable to damage, surviving explosives, fire, multiple gunshots. It takes a lot to kill them. Not so much for their fleshy victims.

These young folks aren’t as annoying as the usual annoying victims in these movies, so it’s a shame to see some of them go. But the robots are relentless.

There’s a scene where the guys arm up at a sporting goods store, and that’s pretty decent. It was nice seeing people in a horror movie have some familiarity with guns — usually they have trouble loading or firing them. These people even have good aim! The girls, separated from the guys, also find themselves some weapons. It is truly refreshing seeing the entire squad of (well, surviving) people fighting back — not standing there screaming like idiots and tripping over nothing.

A great line: “Computer, huh? Let’s go trash the fucker!” This is also the original slogan of the Microsoft company.

All in all, this was a great B-movie. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t more movies of this level of quality out there — but this one is even streaming free on both Amazon and Tubi as of this writing.

The fun quality of this movie mean that over-all, the Summer Activities movies “win”: 3-0-1 (I’m still torn on Slumber Party Massacre), versus 3-1 for the Bug/Slug movies, and 2-2 for Water Monsters.

Next week, I’ll watch and review a Water Monster movie to give them a chance to redeem themselves. I haven’t decided which one yet. (Programming note: I changed my mind after failing three times in a row to find a decent water monster movie from the 70s and 80s to cap things off. I’ll be doing another Summer Activity movie instead.)

Report card:
Runtime: An hour sixteen minutes.
Acting: Above average.
Effects: Above average.
Violence: Robot on person, person on robot.
Dead TownsfolkMall Shoppers: Nine.
Gun Use: Unrealistic but…
Gore: A little.
Creepy? No.
Monster Type? Robots!
Monster Ick Factor: No.
Funny? A bit.
Nudity: Topless female nudity.
Pet Death: No.
Pacing: Excellent.

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