Chopping Mall (1986) Review (Also Known as Killbots)

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As soon as I saw the name and year of this film I had to watch it, it’s taken me a while to get round to watching it. I was browsing through Amazon Prime which I had to sign up to so I could watch the Final Destination films, when I saw this. I’d heard good things in the past and how could something with topless 80’s women and killer robots not be great fun?

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Director – Jim Wynorski

Writers – Jim Wynorski and Steve Mitchell

Stars – Kelli Maroney, Tony O’Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, Suzee Slater and Barbara Crampton.

Budget – $800,000 estimated

Run Time – 77 mins or 95 mins for original

Tagline – Where shopping can cost you an arm and a leg.

IMDB.com Link

As I said I knew this was an 80’s movie and all fans of horror know that the 80’s kicked ass big time, add in the fact it was about killer robots and I’m hooked already. It’s as simple of a story as you’d expect from this sort of film, like a lot of 80’s horror it’s main characters are a bunch of teens that work at the mall. The film opens with a smug bloke introducing his new security system, this consists of three Johnny 5 looking robots and the ability to slam metal shutters down on all the doors of the place you wish to protect.

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A very astute observer asks the smug fella how do the robots not mistake people working late for intruders and take them out, Mr Smug show the robot reading his ID and it leaves him alone. It’s pretty obvious something is going to go terribly wrong inside this mall. Enter that teens throwing a party while their boss is away, as usual there’s drinking, tits and sex after all this is an 80’s horror.

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The group of friends cut things close as the mall shuts down, and as you’d predict they miss the cut off and end up trapped inside the mall with the security robots. The big problem for them is that the robots have malfunctioned and decided to start killing anyone inside the mall. Unluckily for the teens they’re extremely well armed with lasers and pincer type arms for strangling people.

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One by the one the teens are hunted down, there’s plenty of people taken out along the way and the group must try to fight back and defeat the robots. They arm themselves with various weapons from around the store and they’re actually quite creative in their attempts to kill the robots. Question is can a bunch of idiot teens come together to escape from and/or kill three murderous robots inside a mall?

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The Good

  • The overall story is so ridiculous is brilliant.
  • As mentioned I quite liked the different ways the group tried to take out the robots.
  • There’s one brilliant exploding head death that’s a pure joy to see.
  • Good ending, I though the right people survived.
  • I love seeing the stereotypical 80’s characters.

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The Bad

  • Some dodgy effects.
  • A bit of questionable acting.
  • Couple of irritating characters.

I think this film is well worth a watch if you’re into the 80’s horror. It’s exactly what you’d want and expect from a killer robot movie, hell it’s worth watching just for the exploding head scene. I’d love to see a similar story done today, not a direct remake but there’s definitely scope for this story to be redone, after all it’s claimed that this is simply an updated version of an old film where a man gets trapped in a mall with 6 vicious dogs stalking him. Anyway you should go watch this if you’ve not seen it before!

Overall Rating – 8/10

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