Friday, July 7, 2017

Chopping Mall (1986)


Ok, it is called Chopping Mall, it was made in the 80s and the VHS box cover art had a severed head in a shopping bag. How the heck was I supposed to resist that? Well, I never did get around to watching it back in the day. But when I saw it available for streaming I knew my quest for a cheesy movie to watch that weekend was at an end. But was I going to regret this little trip to the mall?


Mall security could use an upgrade and why not look to some A.I. to help out. Sounds good until a freak storm causes the programming for the three robotic mall cops to go on a killing spree. These guys are bullet proof, have the ability to electrocute victims and shoot sleeping darts. Oh, and since this is the 80s they can also shoot multi-colored energy beams from their eyes. If you happen to be a topless teen this will make your head explode. No, I’m not kidding.

Speaking of teens, some employees at a furniture store decide to stay after hours and have a sex party. There are the goody goody ones that don’t even kiss, so you know they will live. But the rest are all fodder for the rampaging robots. Keep your eyes open for scream queen Barbara Crampton and everyman Dick Miller as they try to survive a night in the Chopping Mall.

Good Points:
  • Packed the brim with 80s clothing, lingo, hair and robots – 80s ROBOTS!
  • Starts with an interesting premise and some hints at amusing parody
  • Some of the kills are pretty graphic and entertaining

Bad Points:
  • Never commits to scares or laughs and ends up doing neither
  • Runs out of steam about halfway through due to the uninteresting characters
  • Didn’t use the mall to the full advantage (probably for budget reasons)


This could have been better all the way around. It isn’t scary. It isn’t all that funny. But it hints at trying to do both. The characters are paper-thin and do some really stupid things (par the course for this type of movie). And while it was neat to see the same mall from Commando again, they just didn’t do too much with it, probably for fear of property damage. That said the 80s robots are fun in a retro way, and some of the kills and strategies to stop the robots are clever. Fans of cheesy films will get a kick out of the all out 80s onslaught. But this is more of a rental than a hidden gem.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 4
Sound: 3
Acting: 3
Script: 2
Music: 3
Direction: 2
Entertainment: 3
Total:  3

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.

Enjoying the content? Click and ad before you go and support this blog.


  1. Nonetheless the pic Kelli Maroney autographed for me is a favorite of mine... I can't dispute your assessment: 80s silliness mildly enjoyable a campy-bad-movie way. As in so many films of this type there are questions you are not supposed to ask, such as "why equip autonomous robots with lethal firepower in the first place?"

    1. Yeah I really wish they had explored some of the riper parody aspects of the concept. I think it might have also worked better if we didn't know all the abilities the robots had, so that as each new one was revealed it could be that much more ridiculous. I'm guessing this one was filmed like most Corman productions, on a tight budget and time frame. I wouldn't be surprised if they were writing the script as they went along. In any case, it was fun, but you could see hints of how that potential could have really been exploited for laughs and thrills.

  2. I've not seen it, although I could probably sit through it. Sounds like fodder for MST3K. I don't think it needed to be much for teens. The poster enough is enough of a draw.

    That falls into the Corman, William Castle, and 50s phenomena, just have a good poster and create a movie around it scheme, I think. Sounds like all the ingredients were there: boobs, gore, and teen tropes. Actually it's funny come to think of it that that formula still works today, but oddly less boobs. What happened?

    1. I don't know what happened to the boobs. At some point the violence became way more acceptable over the nude chests. Just plain strange.

      This movie is a fun time if you're in the mood for 80s horror. Don't expect anything great and I think you'll enjoy yourself. It is just self aware enough to roll with some of the really ridiculous things it does. I just wish they had picked a more consistent tone.