Friday, February 3, 2017

Chopping Mall (1986)

With the decline of malls on the horizon, it makes sense to go back and check out either the greatest monument to malls or the reason for their decline – Chopping Mall.

Director: Jim Wynorski
Starring: Allison Parks, Tony O'Dell

Co-written with Tony.

This was a 1986 movie, which means it was likely made after the director took a huge hit of cocaine, brushed back his mullet and then let a ripping guitar solo play on the electric guitar he keeps in his office at all times. That, I believe, is pretty much how all 80s movies were made. And if you think it's exaggerated or stereotypical to say that, well, just watch this actual fucking movie.

The whole premise of this is that this mall has upgraded its security system to an army of robots that can shoot lasers and electrifying cords out of them as an attempt to stop burglars. Who is trying to rob this mall? James Bond villains? The X-Men? I think if you're getting to the point that you need killer robots to stop a couple of delinquent kids from taking a few things from RadioShack and JCPenney, you need to re-evaluate just how bad your actual human security is.

You know there's probably real people you could hire who could just grab them by the arm and throw them out of the mall – you don't need to electrocute them with fucking robots, you psychopath.

Oh, is it over already? Wow. Shortest horror flick ever...

Being an 80s movie, this is of course full of a bunch of teenagers who want to have sex – that's the entire cast of main characters. Do you need to know their names? I could just refer to them as 'amorphous blob of hormonally crazed 80s teens' and you'd get the gist well enough. Of course they all have names, but even so, is anyone going to remember them? I think not.

"My eyes are up here!" 

There's also the clich̩ guy and girl who are shy virgins and who need the guidance of these de facto Cupids to guide them to the sweet, sweet fields of bliss Рfor how could they ever do so on their own, as two-left-foot bumbling no-social-skills freaks as they are? They NEEDED the help of these generous philanthropists of love to steer them in the right direction. What modern day Saints these other kids are! Truly, they're the most generous people ever to walk the Earth.

Eh, actually it's probably a nice thing to do.

Meanwhile, the scientist guy charged with sitting alone in a lab all night by himself for God knows what reason looks at porn! And I guess that was the last straw for these killer robots, who I guess got imbued with Jason Voorhees DNA and now want to kill anyone that indulges in sexuality. What a cool trick. Anyway, they kill the scientist guy, which I'm sure was part of their protocol – once you're completed, kill your master. The cover-up is complete. No one will ever know! Bwahahaha!

If this guy was smart, he would have invented the internet to look at porn, instead of inventing killer robots that killed him while he looked at porn. What a doofus.

They also kill a second scientist who comes in and also gets killed immediately, and I'm honestly not sure why this was put in the movie. Was killing the one guy just not enough? Would the audience not GET IT if the robot didn't kill two scientists instead of just the one?

Then the robots are unleashed on the mall, where the teenagers have forgone having sex and are instead having meaningful philosophical conversations about the state of the world. Just kidding, they're actually having sex. Man, really had you going there for a second, huh?

Honestly, it goes about how you'd expect – right down to the nerdy guy and girl just sitting there watching old 50s monster movies while everyone else has sex. What a couple of fucking dorks.

Does this hit too close to home for me? Shut up.

The trouble starts when a sassy janitor is cleaning the floors, by dipping his mop in the dirty water he's already used – real good strategy there, bucko. But then a robot knocks over the chemicals all over the tile floor, making a huge mess. When the janitor gets mad, the robot responds by doing what I am sure it was programmed to do when those lowly janitors step out of line – it electrocutes the guy to death.

Yeaaaaahhhhh! Put that fucking janitor back in HIS PLACE!

Then it goes after a girl who just had sex and is walking around the mall alone – clearly, the prime target these robots were made for. It chases her through the dark mall a bit and then, right when her friends are watching from the window, it blows up her head in what I'm sure it thought was a beautiful, dazzling fireworks display, and was subsequently sad when the kids just screamed in horror and didn't appreciate it.

B+.

That's probably why the robots keep chasing them for the rest of the movie. They have feelings too, ya know.

Then the movie subsequently turns into a Rambo-style action movie with the kids grabbing a bunch of guns and fighting robots. They sell guns in the fucking mall? Now I am starting to see why they needed killer robots in there.


Also, I love how the guys tell the girls to just escape while they fight the robots, as if fighting robots is something drawn down by gender lines. Pfft! Women can do anything men can do! That's why the girls double back and join the guys fighting the robots and---


Oh. Well, never mind. I take it back – there IS a reason only the men were fighting.

Also, gotta love how no one stepped in to try and help that girl as she was burning alive. Couldn't have at least thrown a blanket on her and put the fire out, huh? Were they just thinking beauty was the only thing she was good for and now that her body would be covered in burn scars, she might as well just die? That's pretty cold.

And the robots didn't kill anyone else while she was burning or do anything except sit there and watch – how fucking considerate of them. That COULD HAVE been a great opportunity for the others to get the drop on them, but oh well, you live and learn.

The robots continue to chase the surviving kids through the mall, killing them one by one, and somehow they don't use the lasers they have at all when that could easily kill off all the kids in a few seconds. Instead they just sort of chase them and prolong things for no reason. I really expected better writing and logic from a movie called Chopping Mall, so this is hugely disappointing.

They have a bit of downtime in this restaurant portion of the mall, where one of the kids – the boyfriend of that girl who got set on fire – is now super cynical and says he wants to die. The robots grant him that wish. See, they aren't that bad after all.

"Heh heh heh... I want to die."

In a truly epic battle, the nerdy guy faces off against one robot and shoots at it several times with a gun. When that doesn't work, he tries throwing the gun at the robot, I suppose thinking that throwing a gun would just be the thing's weakness and somehow cripple it. Or maybe that's just fucking dumb. The robot thinks so, too, and so it throws a trash can at him which hits him in the gut, knocking him off his feet. It's one of the funniest parts of the movie.

"I really wish I had the gun back now, even if only for the illusion of safety!"

I was really, honestly hoping he died from this – that would make it even funnier to my fucked up mind. But nope, he's back later and actually OK in the end. Damn it.

Meanwhile, though, the final surviving girl is chased into a pet store where snakes and spiders crawl all over her. She ends up killing the final robot by pouring paint on the floor so the robot gets stuck, and then throwing a road flare at it and exploding it in a blaze of fire. You know, the usual plan for killing robots.


I am almost positive the robot was trying to communicate with her the whole time that it was just trying to be her friend and that it meant no harm. Maybe its lasers were malfunctioning and it thought they were tools used to shake hands and hug. Maybe the robots were sentient and loving creatures trying to be our friends, and we ruined that opportunity forever.

But eh, probably not! Woohoo, we won! The humans have conquered that which is inhuman! The mall is safe again!

I assume after the movie ends, the final girl is arrested for destruction of property and breaking and entering into the mall after hours, and the guys who green-lit the robots are thrown into jail for the rest of their lives for making a bunch of killing machines. Then every year on the anniversary of the massacre, the country has a day of silence and mourns the victims by lighting candles and sending them down the river, bemoaning those young teens lost in the prime of their lives who were actually 27-year-olds miscast in an 80s movie.

But even so. They will live on in our memory.

Yeah, I think that's about accurate. This was Chopping Mall! See you next time.

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