Chopping Mall AKA Killbots (1986)

Where shopping can cost an arm and a leg.
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Chopping Mall AKA Killbots - Where shopping can cost an arm and a leg

Back in the mid-eighties when scientists were technologically advanced enough to create sentient, self-actualising robots but couldn't quite work out how to empower them a wide vocabulary or legs, Jim Wynorski delivered Chopping Mall (AKA Killbots) to a very small proportion of the masses. As was customary back then, Chopping Mall employs a number of tried, tested and over-used slasher manoeuvres but attempts to spice things up with some original antagonists. In this case the antagonists are three mall security robots affectionately known as "Protector 1" (pink lasers), "Protector 2" (blue lasers) and "Protector 3" (green lasers) with the laser colours probably indicating what gender they are assuming that Protector 3 is post-op or at least a cross-dresser.

The title and poster art are somewhat misleading and indicate a much more gory experience than the one presented, but this was obviously a stroke of marketing genius as the movie was received much more graciously with this second release as Chopping Mall than the original release as Killbots. There isn't a single shopping bag full of body-parts and apart from one outstanding head explosion the kills are relatively giblet free. The movie elements outside of the gore fall into the category of "so bad, it's bad" and if it wasn't for the eighties nostalgia and bad haircuts forced down the throat like a dildo in a Belladonna movie then there would be no endearing features. But endear it does and there is something about the stereotypical, rebellious eighties teens meeting their demise rather than enjoying a hedonistic party in a mall that provides a certain amount of quaint satisfaction.

Park Plaza Shopping Mall owners decide that, instead of investing in $8 an hour and a Segway, they should pioneer a new era in mall security and install impenetrable auto-shut security doors and three armoured robots armed with tranquilizer darts, tazers and colourful yet deadly lasers. Coincidently this system goes live on the same night that a group of horny teenage employees at the mall decide to stay after hours and have a wild party with a six-pack, inadequate supplies of dope and enough hormones to give Chuck Norris boobs and hot flushes. What could go wrong?

The amalgamation of coincidences increases in size as an electrical storm breaks out just as the security system kicks in and traps the libidinous teens in the shopping complex. Lightening strikes the main computer system and sends the metallic mall cops on a murderous intruder execution mission armed to the robot-teeth with deadly weapons and repetitive polite irony.

In all honesty this is probably a movie only for the die hard eighties movies fanatics as it captures this era of slasher movies perfectly while adding a threat of technology in an era when computers started to become more widely available in the general public circles. Otherwise it is pretty lame. There are nerds, bullies, copious boobs and scantily clad big hair-having babes... also killer robots... this is the kind of lame that is fantastic! Chopping Mall is the movie that Robocop could have been if Orion Pictures had no budget for writers, actors and only enough cash for one special effect.

As mentioned before the gore is minimal and the death scenes are rather unemotional as all of the characters deserve to die due to their lame attempts at partying, a few beers is not a party but I do admire their ability to get an orgy going without even hitting the hardcore liquor or hiring some hardcore lickers. The humour is abundant but it is doubtful whether the majority was intended to inspire childish snickers. The story is straightforward and as predictable as Edward Scissorhands in a game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" but manages to encapsulate the 80's slasher cookie that was cut when the sub-genre was peaking while adding and element of originality with the robotic tormentors.

Chopping Mall is a trash movie, but if you like trash movies then Chopping Mall is an awesome movie.
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