Saturday, 17 March 2018

Chopping Mall (1986)

A slasher film crossbred with Dawn of the Dead and Short Circuit, Chopping Mall is cheap cheesy gory fun.

The Park Plaza Mall has just unveiled a hi-tech security system, consisting of three shiny new robots programmed to disable and apprehend thieves using lasers and grappling hooks. Meanwhile, a gang of teens are having an after-hours party in one of the mall shops where they work. As the evening heats up, a lightning storm hits the mall and damages the computer controlling the robots and the highly armed mechanised menaces now want to bump off anyone who shouldn't be in their mall - which is just about anyone who is there.

Of course, a film like this is going to have a brainless plot (to repeat, the mall plans to stop shoplifters with lasers that can split a person's head open) and paper-thin characters. But director Jim Wynorski also manages to strike the right balance, so the result is something not po-faced and serious, or too irritatingly knowing, just first-class trash viewing.

Wynorksi also chucks in some in-jokes for Corman buffs, from posters for his previous films to cameos from the likes of Dick Miller, Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov.