In this so-80s-it-hurts camp classic from Roger Corman, a group of teenage mall employees plan an epic after-hours party after the stores close. Unfortunately their revelry is rudely interrupted by the mall's trio of high tech security robots, who are transformed into mechanical killing machines when lightning zotzes their main computer. Hilarity, of course, ensues.
Goofy (on purpose), violent, action packed fun that features one of the best exploding head scenes ever put to celluloid.
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Park Plaza Mall is slashing prices...and its customers!
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 09/08/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Having never seen Chopping Mall (1986) and knowing almost nothing about the film, the title conjured thoughts of a slasher film, a very popular and overused genre throughout the 80's, set in the confines of a shopping mall, a very popular destination in the 80's. Had they stuck with the original title of Killbots, I may not have been so quick to assign my preconceptions to the film, but either way, this was a pretty fun film, if you are interested in 80's horror films with a side order of science fiction.
Co-written by Steve Mitchell, whose main credits include writing for the oh so 80's cartoons Jem! and Transformers, and Jim Wynorski (who also directed the film along with a plethora of sequels to other films including Big Bad Mama II (1987), The Return of Swamp Thing (1989), Sorority House Massacre II (1990), 976-EVIL 2: The Astral Factor (1991), among others...) features a cast that reads like a B-movie fan's dream, including Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator), Zoe Kelli Simon, aka Kelli Maroney, (Night of the Comet), Russell Todd (Friday the 13th Part 2), Nick Segal (Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo), and Tony O'Dell, who also appeared in not only the first Karate Kid, but its' subsequent sucky sequel (love that Ralph Macchio...). Also, making cameo appearances are B-movie legends Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov (playing the same characters they did in the film Eating Raoul), Gerrit Graham, as a technician (I most remember his part from the Kurt Russell film Used Cars (1980) but he's been in a ton of films), and Dick Miller, as a janitor named Walter Paisley, a name he's used for a number of characters in movies he's been in, going all the way back to original appearance as the name for the main character in the film A Bucket of Blood (1959).
The film begins with the introduction of sophisticated (well, sophisticated for the mid-80's, at least) robots designed to patrol the mall during the night, and immobilize and detain any intruders until the authorities arrive. The robots, three of them, about 4 feet tall, feature a variety of weapons, including tasers, mechanical claws, explosives (for getting past barricades), and laser beams that shoot from their optical orifices. Seems like they carry some pretty serious weaponry to deal with the occasional punk, but I theorize the robots were originally designed for the military, who then probably discontinued funding for the project, leaving the manufacturer to find uses for their investment in the private sector (this theory is never posed in the movie, but it would have gone a long way to justify the ordinance these things were packing). Also, the robots worked in conjunction with an elaborate computer system that controls the doors, among others things, and, if an intruder is detected, it would notify the police. The whole system is touted as completely safe and utterly fool proof, which means something will go wrong, seriously wrong, and result in quite a few deaths, or, at least that's what I was speculating at that point...sure enough, a lighting storm outside zaps something on the roof of the mall, causing a short circuit in the system, screwing up the robots' programming, switching them into `murder/death/kill' mode. This does not bode well for the group of teenagers, most of whom work in the mall, who decided to stay past closing, drink beer, and do the nasty in a furniture store (nothing like getting your freak on in front of your peers). Oh, but wait, not all decide to feed their desires, as one couple, the nerdiest of the bunch, refrain from nekkid time (gee, can you guess who makes it to the end of the film?) Once the core group realizes they are trapped with three robotic conveyances of death, they equip themselves with weapons taken from a sporting goods store (handguns, shotguns, and even a semi-automatic M-16...man, that place has everything), and it's a fight to the finish...who will win? Well, you'll just have to watch and see...
As I said, I enjoyed this film, and I think the thing I liked best was it didn't take itself too seriously. There were a few tongue and cheek quips, and even a few nods to other films, for the attentive viewer (the `killbots' laser blast sounded suspiciously like the laser blasts from War of the Worlds (1953), and the line `klaatu barada nikto' from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)). Gorehounds may be disappointed, but there is one memorable scene worth watching for as one individual suffers from exploding head syndrome after a shot to the noggin with a laser blast. Also, if you are looking for some vintage 80's nekkidness, there's a couple of scenes about a quarter of the way in involving a couple of the more buxom stars popping their tops...yowsa! (alright, it seemed a bit gratuitous, but hey, we men are visual creatures...) The story moves along pretty quickly once plot elements are established, and doesn't disappoint. I felt the influence of The Terminator (1984) (the killer robot theme became quite popular after that), coming through here, but I don't think it was acknowledged in the commentary, although they did mention other films. The robots, very dated now, actually are pretty good and feature some well-crafted details (they also moved very quickly on their treads).
What about the disc? Well, it's pretty obvious that Lions Gate Entertainment used an existing video version for their transfer (watch until the end, and you see and ad for Lightning Video Films). The movie is presented in full screen format, and I am unsure if that was the original format or not, but it looks pretty decent, despite some murkiness. Special features include a commentary track by Wynorski and Mitchell, an original theatrical trailer, a worthwhile 16-minute featurette on the making of the killbots, and a good-looking photo gallery. 3 ½ stars (½ star off for funky transfer)
Killer Robots! Oh Yeah!...
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 01/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, CHOPPING MALL is a dumb and deceiving title for this movie. KILLBOTS (the original title) is superior and more truthful. At any rate, I like this one a lot. The idea of killer robots chasing kids trapped in a mall after hours, is my kind of story! Plus, I get to see one of my favorite 80s horror babes, Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond, Castle Freak) running around screaming and bursting into flames! CM has plenty of action, humor, nudity, and violence. The cameos of Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, and Dick Miller are cool. Also, there's "Peckinpah's Sporting Goods" (loaded w/ artillery of course), and "Roger's Little Shop Of Pets" in the mall! So, if you drool over killer robots and / or Barbara Crampton like I do, then this is the perfect DVD purchase! Would make a great film-fest w/ ROBOCOP, THE TERMINATOR, and WESTWORLD..."
The best of 80's cheeseball horror.
Demon Ted | Omaha, NE USA | 03/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie on cable the other day. This movie reminds me of everything I miss about movies from the 80's. It feels good to watch them because they're so awfully cheesy. Especially this film. The robots look like they were left over from a low-budget 50's sci-fi film. As other reviewers have mentioned, they never actually chop anyone, but giving this movie a lesser rating because of the misleading title is just plain silly! How could you take anything about this movie seriously from a critical standpoint? This movie is full of bad editing and awesomely bad one-liners. One of the scenes that makes me laugh is when the studly jock dude just gets done humping the blonde babe. He rolls over and he's chewing gum to add coolness. In bed during sex seems a little out of place for gum chewing. He must be extra cool. In fact, he's so cool he dies chewing it a few minutes later. A good one-liner is when the kids are shooting at this open gas tank trying to blow up one of the killbots. No one seems to be able to spark the gas despite multiple gunshots. But then, the "nerd turned badass" blonde steps forward and takes one shot, blowing the killbot to smithereens. She steps back and blows on her gun bragging, "My dad was a marine." This movie is great to sit back and make fun of with someone. It doesn't really matter whether you pay attention or not. The storyline and characters have been copied since the beginning of bad horror flicks. It's another piece of dried-up 80's cinema excramite. Enjoy! "
A Good Movie A Good DVD
R. Stringini | Addison, IL United States | 08/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I never thought I would see this movie released on DVD. And if I did I would have guessed it would have been ultra bare bones. But I have to say, this release was pretty good.
The movie itself is a fun, cheap 80's flick, with some better special effects than a normal movie of this caliber would have. The acting is decent. The script is campy, but fast paced enough. The characters are okay, and work well within the story, and the direction is actually pretty good, considering how cheap this movie was. Watching this movie made me realize how different the B-Movie market was then. Now you get a movie with almost no style, and a lot of point and shoot direction. The movies now usually look like they were filmed in someones back yard (and probably were), and had his neighbors do the acting. Then you had a movie that had decent direction, actual working actors, and some minor semblance of dignity. Over all the movie is an 7/10. It's pretty good, but needed a little work in the final act.
The disc for Chopping Mall is actually way better than the price, or cheap cover art would let on. For starters, the extras are actually decent, with an informative documentry on the making of the KillBots, which then goes in to the production on the film a bit. Why Lions Gate went and did this, I don't kno, but I'm glad they did. It's a nice extra, which is informative. There is also a commentary, which I haven't listened to. But the fact that Lions Gate even bothered is a plus in there case. You also get the theatrical trailer to the film. The picture for the disc, while somewhat soft, is very good. I mean, the movie is old, and the original prints are probably damaged, so the fact that the movie looks as good as it does is a major plus. It is full frame, but I don't think this movie was shot in Wide Screen, so nothing wrong there. The audio is very good, clear, and with almost no distortion or drop outs. It also is nice that the disc is about 14 dollars. A fairly cheap price for a very well made disc.
I recomend the film, and even more now that the DVD is out, and turned out so well."
Should have been titled Killbots!
Silverpsycho | California USA | 12/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Upon first viewing of this film...I autimatically thought of it as a watered down, 80's style of the original Dawn of the Dead...but with robots!
We are in a mall with a handful of young adults with a teen-like behavior straight out of the 80's and of course it is the nerdy duo we care about most...the virgins. The character development is not the greatest and the ending is abrupt, but I found this film to be extremely entertaining for a cheesy horror flick. When it comes to my taste in horror...I love the good, bad and the crap in between...so of course this was a hit with me. This is one of those horror films you can throw in the dvd player and watch for no reason at any time.
This dvd did not receive 5 stars because this dvd only comes with a short featurette on the killbots discussing how they were made and a little background on them. I found the trailer to be most entertaining and wish that the movie had displayed what the trailer had...more gore with a cheesy twist! I would have loved to have seen an arm attached to a shopping bag being drug around the mall...or more "chopping" to fit with the title. This is why the creators should have run with the original title of "Killbots!" but it is understandable why titles must come out to make the film sound better (just like "The Book of the Dead" being renamed into "Evil Dead"). Only gore I can really remember was the head explosion but there are some parts that are great...just not real unique.
So if you are a fan of weird fun horror films then pick this up...you are sure to have fun with it. Just make sure it doesn't cost you an arm and a leg! ;)"