Vestron Video (Blu-ray)
A bunch of oversexed mall workers decided to lock themselves in a store one night for a party followed by awkward sex in adjacent beds. Unfortunately, they decide to do this on the same night the mall is testing out its new robot security guards. And wouldn’t you know it, the robots malfunction and start killing people.
The robots are the standard ‘what people in the ’80s thought robots would look like’ variety; boxy, with spindly arms and Stephen Hawking voices. They’re they kind of villains that are only as threatening as the heroes let them be. You can always tell when a character is about to die because they have to stand in the open and wait for the robot to lumber into position.
The kills aren’t very graphic. A lot of laser blasts and people falling down. There’s a cut throat, electrocutions, and one instance where a laser blast causes a victim’s head to explode, but it’s a very fast cut, so you don’t see much.
The eight protagonists are decent enough cannon fodder. Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet) plays the innocent girl; Barbara Crampton and Karri Emerson play the more sexually liberal girls. Guess which one dies first?
The teens find out about the robots and make a break for it, but not before a stop at the sports store to buy a variety of guns. (As a Canadian, it’s odd to think that people can assemble an arsenal at a mall, but whatever). What follows is a lot of terrible strategic mistakes on the part of the kids, as they constantly put themselves in the line of fire rather than going straight for an exit, or finding a hiding place to wait out the night. It can’t be that hard considering that the robots run on treads and thus can’t climb stairs.
Basically, Chopping Mall takes a conventional ’80s horror movie cast and plot structure, and adds a conventional ’80s sci-fi action movie villain. The resulting chaos is a lot of fun. It’s not scary enough to be horror, or intriguing enough to be sci-fi, but I liked it anyways.