Just a Short Trip to the… – Chopping Mall (1986)

With a title like Chopping Mall, one automatically knows that a good time is to be had no matter what actually takes place. Death and dismemberment is a guarantee and when it is discovered that the killing is going to be done by robots gone amok, how could one not enjoy this? The plot is essentially that – an electrical surge messes with the circuitry of some robot security guards for a mall and they go berserk when they discover some kids partying in the mall afterhours. All they have to do is survive the night until hopefully; someone will be able to rescue them before the robots kill them all. The plot, if nothing else, is pretty straightforward which is not a bad thing. Horror takes all forms and while some can be pretty complex with meaning buried deep beneath the surface, Chopping Mall lays everything out for all to see.

Produced by Julie Corman, wife of Richard and made for his company Concorde Pictures, the film was an unabashedly good time. Not only would the audience have a great time watching it, but it was easy to see that the cast enjoyed it as well. The acting may not have been the best anyone would ever see and the script by Steve Mitchell and Jim Wynorski, the latter of which would direct the film, might not have been the strongest, but it was all good enough that in the end, none of it mattered due to the amount of fun watching this picture turned out to be.

The special effects were quite decent, the design of the robots in particular and for a Corman picture, that is saying something. Movies made for and made by the Corman’s do not tend to look as good as they could, but Chopping Mall beats the odds and is visually, a very exceptional picture. There is a little nudity present, one cannot have a horror film and a story about partying teenagers and not expect to see any, and more action than one could hope for. In fact, once the first act is over, the remainder of the movie finds the teens on the run, fighting for their lives as the robots mow them down one by one.

There are some plot holes of course, the big one being the fact that at any point, those who were still alive could have just found a room to hide out in until help arrived. As long as they were quiet, the robots would not have found them as it had been proven more than once in various scenes throughout. Be that as it may, any perceived faults, real or not, were overshadowed by the sheer amount of entertainment value. If anyone was to ever want a recommendation for a slasher with robots, Chopping Mall would be at the top of the list.

4 out of 5

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