Chopping Mall (USA 1986) Dir: Jim Wynorski
Kelli Maroney, Barbara Cranston, John Terlesky
Straight out of the Roger Corman film factory, this strange hybrid of the slasher horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres has a great idea at the centre of it, that of security robots running amok after hours in a giant shopping mall. Unfortunately the leaden script fails to capitalise on this great exploitation set up, instead presenting the audience with a deeply average, by the numbers horror devoid of any trace of wit or imagination to lift it above its many peers. Even b-movie stalwarts Barbara Crampton, Dick Miller and Paul Bartel can’t breathe life into what soon turns into an extended corridor chase with the identikit teens menaced by the one of the least terrifying protagonists in horror film history. The trailer however does have its charms (see below).
A remake of Chopping Mall has been slated, although no release date has been announced. Interestingly (or bizarrely depending on your point of view), the remake will not feature the killer robot element, instead going for a supernatural twist. Writer director Robert Hall explains:
“My version of CHOPPING MALL that I wrote is totally supernatural…It’s more The Fog set in an abandoned mall than it is robots. Instead of killer robots, they are these mannequins that are possessed by the souls of dead slaves that worked at the plantation that the mall was built over.”
The word around the campfire is that Corman himself has given his seal of approval to proceedings. Whatever the result, The Stricken Land will be sure to give you the lowdown. Watch this space.
- The film was shot in the Sherman Oaks mall in California, the same mall used as a location in the Schwarznegger camp action classic Commando (1985).
- Dick Miller was a regular in Roger Corman b-movies from the 1950’s onwards. He also starred as the gun shop owner killed by the eponymous killer cyborg in The Terminator (1984).
- Director Wynorski and star John Terlesky teamed up again to make the far superior Deathstalker II (1987).