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Chopping Mall (November 23/03)

It's a shame that the goofy horror flick has gone out of style.

This scary movie subgenre was all the rage in the '80s (any of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels would be a good example of this), with Chopping Mall standing as a the pinacle of this sort of thing. I mean, really; the film features horny teens being chased around a shopping mall by clunky robots that shoot lasers. What more do you need to know?

In an unnamed American mall, the management has just installed a new security system involving robots and giant steel doors. Meanwhile, a group of randy employees have decided to stay after hours and party 'till dawn. What they don't realize, though, is that a bolt of lightening has just hit the mall - causing the robots to deviate from their programming and attack anything that moves.

Though the film's title is perhaps a little misleading (nobody does, in fact, get chopped), Chopping Mall delivers exactly what it promises. Director Jim Wynorski (who also co-wrote the script) doesn't concern himself with things like exposition or character development, choosing instead to get to the killin' almost immediately. And at a running time of around 75 minutes, the film never has the chance to become boring - although there's no denying that story is awfully repetitive (guy or girl goes running from killer robot, dies, next guy or girl goes running from killer robot, dies, etc).

Chopping Mall's clearly not meant to operate as a scary horror movie - the robots look like a cross between Short Circuit's Johnny-5 and something out of Battlestar Galactica, and the special effects are enjoyably cheesy (best head exploding sequence since Scanners!) - which makes it a perfect flick to check out with a large group of friends. And be sure to stick around for the final credits. Could there be a Chopping Mall 2 on the horizon?

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