OOM #11 – Chopping Mall (1986)


Today the Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness did a movie that I’ve been wanting to see for a long time. Will it be enough for the October Overlook Madness? Let’s see!

There’s a nuts idea, that can only come out in the 80s, a movie with killer robots that are security robots turned insane by lighting bolt, chasing around some teens who work in the mall that the robots are at, who got stuck after closing time because they were too busy trying to fuck each other. Now, that in concept itself sounds incredible, and it’s helped with the fact that in the first sequence (a presentation done by the owner of the mall and the creator of the robots) is attended by Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov, of ‘Eating Raoul’ (1982) fame (one of the greatest films ever made, a favorite of mine) appear to deliver funny one-liners, kinda referencing the idea that maybe these two movies exist in the same time continuum. But it’s not too much later that the film decides to forget that, and it turns into a somewhat lackluster slasher whose only strength is the “originality” of the concept of killing robots going around in a mall.

The thing is that a slasher needs blood more than the illusion or the promise of it, it doesn’t matter if you have these weirdly constructed yet movable contraptions going around going “can I see your identification, please”, and then show a woman’s head explode under the hit of a laser, to then not deliver on that promise of mayhem, chaos, bloodshed and revenge. We know that, most of the time, the people must live, the final girl must scream and be smarter than the evil that chases them, but when the risk isn’t so clear, we kinda shy away from a movie that doesn’t have the courage to do the work needed for it to be fun, entertaining, scary, bloody and memorable.

This is a film that gets moved around on concept alone, and I must say, that concept still fascinates me and makes me want to rewatch it many many years down the line, and I do think that the build-up to the first couple of kills is superbly done, as well as the design of the mall and how cleverly it uses its places and expected elements to build some sort of defense or fort around it, much like much better movies than this did in the past. But, alas, it is lacking, and for a slasher, that’s kind of a crime.


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