Before slipping into T&A fodder, Jim Wynorski, one of the most constantly working directors, had a handful of films that proved that he knew exactly what he was doing and he had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. Always winking at the audience and laughing with them, he created the masterpiece THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING, but his magnum opus will forever be CHOPPING MALL.
With Chopping in the title of a movie, you would think it would just be your run of the mill slasher movie. And honestly, any movie where people get trapped in a mall with a killer or killers or animal gone wild or what have you is ALWAYS fun. But, with Chopping Mall, we get killer ROBOTS!!! Robots gone wild! Renegade Robots with one mission and that is to protect the mall from anyone! Luckily for us, a group of nutty teens decided that it would be a great idea to stay late at the mall and Party. Basically, that means we get to see some necking, cigs smoked and booze drank, but before the night is over, the KillBots (a horrible alternative VHS title) will rule the night!
When the mall introduces the new security system to the store owners, everyone seems pleased...well besides Paul and Mary Bland, who have opened a quite little store right across from House of Almonds. With a roll of their eye and a sassy complaint, the Blands know the score. The robots are set into motion and start roaming the mall. Carpeted for the most part too. I love a mall that trust its patrons not to make a mess, even though the entire opening sequence is built around the suspenseful moral tale of will the lady drop the tray full of Cokes and hot dogs.
The cast of teens, is made up of some great character actors, ranging from Tony O' Dell to the always reliable Barbara Crampton. Russell Todd squeezes into the tightest pair of jeans he could find and Dick Miller plays the janitor with a chip on his shoulder toward the robots. But the real star of the movie Kelli Maroney. Now, Kelli sells this movie! No, she doesn't sell it, she owns this movie! With such a crazy ensemble cast, you have a hard time picking out who will be the final girl/guy, but you straight up hope and pray it is Kelli the minute you see her tossing burgers at the food court, but it is when she is bored and watching TV with Tony O'Dell while everyone makes out that you realize there is a really good chance your dream is going to come true!!
Lightening strikes the mall (the Beverly center/somewhere in Canada?), the robots lose their shit and focus and go after everyone! An epic battle ensues, with the kids having to ransack the mall for weapons. What follows is what a classic film is all about! Tons of running through the mall, heads getting blown up, crawling through the heating ducts, an old western type shoot-out, and explosion after explosion. This film was the first film that brought to the light the now infamous MALL DROP. A Mall Drop is one of those amazing stunts where the stunt man drops from a very high place and the crashes to the ground, but we get to see it from a couple of different camera angles. It also MUST be set in a mall or in a mall pretending to be a warehouse or something. You will know it when you see it. MOVING TARGET also has an amazing Mall Drop. By the end of the movie, Miss Kelli has HAD IT! She launches an all out assault on the robots and is determined to kill them all. Either it is her or them! Fuck Terminator!! This is the best man vs. machine film ever made! And the best mall movie ever made!
CHOPPING MALL is iconic, because with it's run time of 77 minutes, this movie uses its time wisely. It takes off with lightening speed and never ever slows down. And with every viewing you discover more and more to love. In-jokes abound, but there is so much going on, that it takes repeat viewing to catch it all. I promise if you have not seen this film, there is no way you will not instantly fall in love with it and start obsessing over it. It might cost you an arm and a leg, but scares at this much of a discount are going to fly off the racks! Mall jokes!
And if you have seen it, then you know what is about to happen here. Movie History.