Chopping Mall

Chopping Mall

chopping mall bots

A low budget film that intentionally delivers more laughs than scares, though you’d never know it from the notorious box art. Todd is a big Jim Wynorski fan, and recommends this movie as a gateway into his cornball, highly entertaining earlier films, straight from Roger Corman’s shop.

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Chopping Mall (1986)

Episode 30, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Craig:  Hello, and welcome to another edition of 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Craig.

Todd: And I’m Todd.

Craig: And today, we watch the film oh, gosh. I don’t even know if it’s a film. 

Todd:  Let’s let’s say let’s say movie. The, amusement. Yeah. 

Craig:  Chopping Mall from 1986. This was Todd’s Choice. So, Todd, explain yourself. 

Todd:  Oh, man. I I you know, I love the director of this film, Jim Wynorski. This is his 2nd movie. He did a movie called The Lost Empire before this, but, his dream growing up was to become Basically, worked for Roger Corman. 

Craig:  Mhmm. 

Todd:  He loved his movies growing up, and he wanted to be a b movie director. And gosh darn it. He got his dream. Yeah. 

Craig:  I guess he did. Like, he 

Todd:  he actually He fell right into Roger Corman’s lap, essentially went to Hollywood and started cutting trailers for him, cutting trailers for his films. And then one of the distributors came by and to Corman’s studio and said, I want a movie that takes place in a shopping mall, a killer in a shopping mall movie. And so Jim Winojovsky said that if you’ll let me direct it, I’ll write it really cheap. And so he wrote it, they let him direct it, And this boosted him down a path which has led to the guy’s made, like, 5 or 6 movies a year. Really? He’s still making movies. And he started out in Roger Corman’s studio making movies for him and then started doing his own stuff. He is an interesting character. The movies that he started making starting at about, the turn of the century, I can say that now.   Right? Right. 2000 were all these sort of soft core Parodies like The Witches of Breastwick and, The Bear Wench Project and things like that. So he took this, I think, very disappointing turn towards just getting, like, adult film stars and, putting them in soft core roles and making these parody films. And that went for about a decade or 2. And lately, he’s been doing more of these big monster movies like, Like Sharknado type movies. You know? If you look at his newer ones, it’s it’s these goofy, Piranha Don or something like that films. But I think that his movies back in the eighties and going into the nineties are just more fun. They’re super campy.   They’re clearly written to be campy. Right. Like, he He’s intentionally sticking a whole bunch of humor in here. It’s not, the kind of it’s so bad, it’s it’s funny kind of funny. It’s the I’m almost intentionally making this so bad that it’s funny, but I’m also throwing in a lot of winks to you Right. So that you know that I know that This is totally goofy. You know what I mean? 

Craig:  Yeah. I I told her. Absolutely. 

Todd:  And this is actually, I love this movie, But there’s another movie you and I are going to watch, which is one of my all time favorite bad movies called Sorority House Massacre 2. Alright. He is behind that, and It is just so perfect on so many levels as a bad movie. 

Craig:  Oh, gosh. That’s funny. Well, if it if it rivals this one, 

Todd:  I’ll take your word for it. 

Craig:  I mean, yeah, this is a a really campy movie. I mean, you can see, that he was given a little, wink and a nod to Corman at some point in the movie. One of the young couples is watching one of Corman’s films. Right? Mhmm. Like attack of the giant crab. Yeah. Something like that. And that other movie that you had mentioned that he had done before, that movie poster is featured prominently throughout the, throughout the film.   So 

Todd:  It’s goofy. There are movie posters all through the movie. Right. Film for no good The reason, like, it’s like wherever they had a bare wall and they didn’t have any way to decorate it, they just slap up some movie poster. 

Craig:  It’s yeah. I mean, it’s it’s funny. I mean, it takes place in a mall. The the premise is so simple. We open up with, kind of this training seminar where mall employees are being told about their new security system, which is these, robots, these 3 robots that are gonna patrol at night while the mall is locked down from 12 until 6. We see a video demonstration where This bad guy, Robert, like, robs the jewelry Todd store in the mall, and then one of these robots chases after him. The bad guy shoots at him to you know, but it doesn’t the robot isn’t affected in any way. And eventually, the robot, like, stuns him, and he’s detained.   And that’s how it’s supposed to work. All of these people, I guess they were mall employees, execs maybe Yeah. 

Todd:  Or something. 

Craig:  So it’s or 

Todd:  just interest yeah. It’s hard Todd know interested people from the community 

Craig:  or something. But they’re they’re concerned about safety and whatnot. And, of course, The designer, the engineer, whoever’s in charge of this assures them, oh, no. No. Nothing could possibly go wrong. 

Todd:  I’m trying to think if this was pre or post Robocops. Robocops. It 

Craig:  was 1986. I’m not sure when Robocop came out, but it’s funny because it it just Looking back now at the eighties at what we thought technology was going to be Oh 

Todd:  my gosh. 

Craig:  These robots, you know, are are basically just kinda like giant Trash bins on on conveyor belts. 

Todd:  They’re like a Craig between a trash bin and a tank. Yeah. Right. They’ve got these tank treads, these tired what do you call that? I don’t know. Whatever treads. They’re they’re they’re riding on those, and they’re and they sound like lawnmowers when they’re going around 

Craig:  Yeah. 

Todd:  Which is all the Sillier that they seem to be able to sneak up on people so easily 

Craig:  Right. Throughout this movie. And they’ve got these, like, pincher hands that they click, Like like, threateningly, like, that’s their their big threat. They’re a little bit reminiscent of, short circuit, but even short circuit Was more advanced Way more advanced. Yeah. Also, really reminiscent of the robot from it’s Wes Craven, the My oh, deadly friend. Deadly friend. 

Todd:  Yeah. It does. It looks a lot like the deadly friend real quick. 

Craig:  And it’s set up with, I guess, Tasers, and at one point, one of the scientists said something like a sleep something that can knock somebody out, tranquilizer or something, and and lasers. 

Todd:  And they just inexplicably start shooting lasers. Right. At some point, like the pew pew pew, kinda like Star Wars, guns. 

Craig:  Oh, yeah. And and the effects are just just ridiculously low budget and bad. When they do shoot their lasers, I mean, it’s obvious that these are just, like, animated in and post. It’s It’s it’s funny. And they’re supposed to be you know, they call them kill bots, and they’re supposed to be these ominous scary things, and they go at about maybe 5 miles an hour. 

Todd:  You should be able to outrun these no problem. 

Craig:  Oh, right. Like, anytime characters are running away from them, like, it’s obvious that they’re doing everything that they can to run as possible, like, turn around and look behind them to make sure it’s still back there. And there are some scenes where it it kinda looks like it’s only the robot, in frames. There’s not a human in Craig, so they clearly just speed up the film Mhmm. To make it look like the robots are going faster. They don’t really seem threatening at all, but, of course, something does go wrong. 

Todd:  Yep. 

Craig:  There’s a big electrical storm, and, the, I guess, Generators or something on top of the building are struck by lightning, which causes a short, which turns the robots evil. 

Todd:  I guess it flipped the evil switch on the robots or something. Yeah. I I think it’s another one of those, RoboCop type deals where You think you’ve programmed it correctly to not injure people, but even more so than than the RoboCop robots, these guys have no just it seems like they’re MO. Yeah. What is it? The 1st night maybe that they’re on patrol or something? Right. They’re just gonna kill people. 

Craig:  Yeah. And, you know, at first, they kill, Whoever the the guy who was, like, manning the computer or whatever, and then somebody else comes in to replace him. The body’s gone, so I guess the robots clean up after themselves too. And they kill him. And then 

Todd:  Oh, well, that second guy, though, was the funniest scene because it probably took 10 minutes with him sitting there, walking in, talking to himself, sitting down. And the way they have these robots positioned in the computer room is I I think if you’re either claustrophobic or you’re really nervous about these things, it’s the worst way. Right. Your the computer panel is facing the robots, and the robots are facing the computer panel. And you, as a person operating the computer, is gonna Sit in between them with your back to the robots, and they’re constantly the robots are ominously, like, coming on, but Coming off or clicking their fingers. Right. 

Craig:  Like, they’re they’re looking at each other. Like, they like, the robots, like, turn and look at each other. Like, they don’t have or anything, they just got, like, this red strip where their lasers shoot out of like, they’re giving each other looks, like, sly looks. 

Todd:  That’s pretty funny. This Poor guy who all this is making so much noise, but then he doesn’t hear it. Right. But what he does hear is a little click or something, and he turns around and then he Goes back to reading his book and turns back around and goes back to reading his book, turns around and looks some more, goes back to reading his book, and you’re like, okay. Come on. What is this good? What is this scene gonna end? 

Craig:  Right. Eventually, it just kills him, and, we move on. Of course, then we’ve gotta get some young, sexy people lined up to to start getting killed Also, the way that gets established is that these mall employees, I think there’s 4 couples, are going to Stay late after the mall closes, and they’re gonna have a party in one of the furniture stores. And, you know, you’ve got, like, The sexy couple, with the guy who’s, you know, real buff and and smacking his gum all the time and his girlfriend who’s kind of the sex bomb. And then you’ve got 2 more couples who are just kinda little bit more nondescript, 1 brown haired one, 1 darker haired couple. And then you’ve got The cute, sweet, innocent couple, and that is Allison and Ferdie. And Ferdie. They’re kind of the the nerdy of the group.   And so, you know, of course, The if anybody’s gonna make it, it’s gonna be that. 

Todd:  Them. Right. They’re the more innocent ones. 

Craig:  And then so they they start their party, and it’s pretty interesting party. I’ve never been to a party like this. 

Todd:  Well, it has to be said that part of the security system is that the mall has these big Steel sci fi steel doors that slam shut. So after you’re in the mall for after a certain point, you’re, you’re basically Stuck and locked in, which is a terrible design. 

Craig:  Right. Doesn’t make any sense. 

Todd:  But they all work at the same, well, they all work in the mall. And 3 of these guys work in the furniture store, and the other 2 are in work I don’t know. I don’t know where the 3rd 4th girl should work. And 

Craig:  I think, like, the dark couple that seem maybe a little bit older, I think that they did, like, car repairs or something, like, out of the mall or something like that. 

Todd:  In. It was, like, probably the Sears Auto Center 

Craig:  Right. Yeah. 

Todd:  Uh-huh. And so, yeah, they decide they’re gonna throw a party that night and lock themselves in. And I don’t know. They had some beer, but they didn’t really drink much of it. 

Craig:  No. They danced, like 

Todd:  some music and danced for 3 minutes, 

Craig:  and then everybody jumped into bed. Not all the same bed, but it’s a furniture store. It’s like a showroom. So, like, here’s 1 couple kind of over In one corner, and then maybe 10, 15 feet away is another couple on a couch or something. And they’re all just getting it on except for, of course, The sweet innocent ones for me, and Alison who are watching the Corman movie, and she’s getting scared and kinda snuggling up to him, and he’s, you know, being a total gentleman. And I think eventually maybe they smooch a little bit Todd. 

Todd:  But seem to release the implications that they do. I think this movie is not without art though because that is a cool scene Where they go from bed Todd bed to sofa to other bed to those 2 sitting on that other sofa. It’s It’s 

Craig:  a It it’s all one shot, isn’t it? 

Todd:  I think it is. Yeah. They move from 1 to the other. It’s pretty impressive, actually, for this kind of movie to have an all 1 shot Deal where you’re getting a little bit of by play with the different characters, and the writing is really goofball. Oh my gosh. Well, it’s The lines 

Craig:  are fun to watch Because they use such antiquated eighties slang. Bodacious and bitchin’. Right. Allison’s friend, Susie, she’s the one that’s gonna be setting, Allison up with Ferdie, and she says something like Hey. Would I set you up with a slime dog or something? No way, babe. It is, babe, isn’t it? Just stuff that really seemed even really artificial even for Yeah. 19 eighties. And the dialogue is just I mean, the the script, it’s fun in how silly it is.   But, you know, they’re being chased around by these robots, and they’ll just Stop to hang out in a place for a while, chitchat. You know? It’s it’s like every time they escape the robots, then they just move somewhere else and just wait for them to show up Pretty much. Yeah. 

Todd:  They’re being pursued. I I love that line when the 2 of them are on the sofa making out. You smell like pepperoni. 

Craig:  Well, that’s the way you feel. Wait a minute. What? 

Todd:  I like pepperoni. 

Craig:  Oh, in that case Then she takes her top off. And that’s you know, we get a lot of that. Well, actually, not as much as you might think from a movie like this. I mean, there there’s definitely TNA. 

Todd:  There’s not a lot, 

Craig:  Not as not so much. 

Todd:  Not so much as in his later years. 

Craig:  Right. 

Todd:  Jim Winorsky, one of one of his, famous quotes is he says that, breaths are the cheapest Special effect we have. 

Craig:  It’s it’s funny that you said that he kinda went on to do softcore porn stuff because There were several times in this movie where if you just lifted out the 15 or 20 seconds, you might have thought that it was lifted from a porn. Exactly. That’s Kind of the quality of acting and writing And writing. Yes. That we’ve 

Todd:  got here. You’re absolutely right. 

Craig:  We have a little cameo. What what what’s the guy’s name? He was the old neighbor from Gremlins. Right? 

Todd:  Yeah. Dick Miller. Yeah. And you’ll see him in a lot of Roger Corman. He’s, like, one of Corman’s, you know, staple guys. Always playing The same type of character. 

Craig:  Oh, that’s funny. Yeah. He plays a janitor, and he’s, after the 2, you know, computer guys. He’s the first one to get it, and it’s Kind of a funny scene where he’s, like, bantering with this robot, and then the robot shoots its its taser, and it misses him, but it lands in the puddle of water where he’s mopping, so he gets electrocuted. And, again, it’s that classic Eighties electrocuting look. Animated kind 

Todd:  of thing. Yeah. He falls down, and the robot goes, thank you. Have a Nice day. And that’s a running gag through the whole thing. It’s through every time it kills somebody, it says that. Right. It’s hilarious. 

Craig:  Yeah. I mean, it’s silly. I mean, they they clearly knew they clearly knew what they were doing. They weren’t trying to make this a serious scary movie, and it’s not Scary. I mean, there’s really nothing scary about it at all. It’s more just a fun ride. After that, the plot basically is These folks get these kids get picked off 1 by 1 Yeah. In kind of a variety of ways.   The first one to go is, think his name he’s the hot guy with you know, who’s got the sexy sexy girlfriend. And Mhmm. She sends him out to go get cigarettes. He goes out there. 1 of the robots shows up. You know, there’s not much to it. The robot tases him or puts him to sleep or something then cuts 

Todd:  his throat. Yeah. And that and and that’s another eighties thing. He’s going to get Cigarettes out of the vending machine. 

Craig:  Yeah. And they’re a doll and he’s like, a dollar and a quarter. 

Todd:  Like, if only. Right. Right? 

Craig:  Oh, man. So and then his girlfriend comes out looking for him. She stumbles upon him, finds his dead body. She starts running back to the store, And the robot is in pursuit of her shooting the lasers. 

Todd:  That’s when the lasers come out. Right. I’m like, what the heck? 

Craig:  And then, like, I get one of the robot has, like, red lasers and the other one has a blue laser. It’s really funny. And what else is the other thing that’s funny about that is The robots chase them around the mall throughout the whole rest of the movie, and they’re constantly shooting lasers of them and very, very rarely do they 

Todd:  hit. Yeah. Like, sometimes inaccurate robot. 

Craig:  Right. Sometimes the characters will literally be, like, 5, 10 feet in front of them standing, not moving, like, just Standing there, like, with a gun or something, and the lasers are flying all around, but, they never get hit. 

Todd:  Except for her. 

Craig:  Yeah. Except for her. She does. She her head gets blown off. 

Todd:  The most impressive special effect of the whole movie. 

Craig:  Right? Yes. It is. And that’s the the rest of the kids see this happen through the store window. So now they know they’re in pursuit, and so they all run off together. And from then on, it’s it’s really just cat and mouse. 

Todd:  It really is. Yeah. They crawl up in the The vents. Vents. The air shaft. The air shaft. 

Craig:  The girls do. 

Todd:  And they think that the robots are are cranking up the heat because they know they’re up there. It’s all very lamely played. Oh, yeah. It’s all pretty bad. But, yeah, it’s just cat and mouse. I love some of the jokes though when they Go through and the guys decide that they need to get weapons. Yeah. We’re not gonna be able to get out of here, so we need to go get weapons.   So they run Todd the sporting goods store, which is called Peckinpah’s. You know, reference to Sam Peckinpah, which is hilarious. And, they get all their get all manner of, I don’t know, man. Can you buy Like, assault rifles? These assault rifles and things in stores? Well, probably not anymore. Even in the eighties, really. I 

Craig:  don’t know. I don’t know. But, well, it is Funny because, you know, it’s just the sorting good store where all of these weapons are just right out on the shelves, right stocked right next to the ammo. That’s right. But So they arm themselves, to the teeth. 1 guy’s got, like, the bullet strap, you know, down across his torso, and he’s got, like, a semiautomatic rifle. And one of them’s got, like, a great big shotgun, and and one of them’s got, like, a magnum handgun or something. And, they get all strapped up, and one of them says something like, 

Todd:  Let’s go send those at Rambo Graham. 

Craig:  And there are funny, funny lines like that, throughout. I mean, just just silly, just pure cheese. 

Todd:  Yeah. It’s cute too the way that the movie changes tone just a little bit When these guys decide they need to start fighting back, it suddenly becomes less of a horror movie and more of an action movie. They’re gunning trying to gun these robots down and nothing thing gets these things. Absolutely nothing. They think that they’ve knocked it out. They toss a Propane tank. Propane tank down, shoot the propane tank, and that blows up And the robot tips over, and, I think they’re standing over it, and he says, what’s that? Robot blood. 

Craig:  No further explanation. I guess these robots Just bleed something. 

Todd:  But that robot wasn’t even dead. It comes back up. And so it does a pretty good job, I think, the film of This relentlessness of these robots even though they are not credible necessarily, The within the movie world, it does a pretty good job of keeping them relentless. Like, you really have no idea. It’s not like, well, why don’t you just tip them over? 

Craig:  Or why 

Todd:  don’t you just do this? Because Nothing is working on these guys, and they’re certainly trying. 

Craig:  Yeah. Yeah. And that’s the thing. You know? With today’s technology and a better budget, The story might seem more plausible Yeah. If it weren’t so obvious that they could easily outrun these things if they just wanted to. Yeah. Or if, you know, like, They will like I said before, they will get away. Like, they’ll open up one of the garage style doors to one of the closed stores and then get inside and close the door behind them.   And these robots have gotten through, like, steel doors and stuff before, but they’ll just go in there then and Sit and wait until they come in. They’re like, oh, crap. Now they’re here. We better do something. 

Todd:  In in the meantime, while they’ve been chatting, the robots have been blowtorching their way slowly through this thing. Like, they didn’t notice. Yeah. Yeah. Like, they didn’t hear until the robots were done and they pushed it through. Oh, crap. We need 

Craig:  to move 

Todd:  now. But it does allow them to sit around and chat a little bit and, have some great lines such as, 

Craig:  I guess I’m just not used Being chased around a mall in the middle of the night by killer robots. Yep. Yep. That’s that’s not common experience, I guess. And and other funny things Todd. Like, at first, the girls and the guys get separated. The girls are in the vents. The guys are doing their gun thing.   Eventually, they get back together, and, there’s lots of shootouts throughout. But at one point, they trap 1 of the robots in a The elevator that they have rigged up with, like, gas tanks, I guess. Mhmm. 

Todd:  Or those propane tanks. Yeah. 

Craig:  And they’re trying to they get it trapped in there, and they’re trying to hit the propane tanks. And Alison, the cute nice girl, grabs, like, the big 3 57 Magnum from one of the guys in, like, very dirty Harry style, like, points it with both hands and shoots And blows up, whatever it was they were trying to blow up, and somebody goes, wow. That was awesome. I was just like, my dad’s a marine. So I shoot 3, you know, magnums all the time. Just goofy stuff like that. Then they just get picked off. I mean, I was writing down Susie, they they try to attack the, robots with cans of gasoline.   That doesn’t work. 

Todd:  Yeah. They’ve made, like, Molotov cocktails out of them, and that doesn’t work. And then Sue Susie, the one who ends up getting burned up because, she falls, and she’s got Yeah. 

Craig:  She Gets hit, by a laser in the leg, and she falls. Her friends are about 5 feet away from her. They do nothing at all to help her. They just stand there and watch While she gets, I guess, the laser hits the gas can and she gets burned up. 

Todd:  Yeah. While the the robot in a rare moment of Accuracy. Yeah. It shoots the gas can right away. 

Craig:  Exactly. Then because Susie is dead, Greg, her boyfriend, gets all ticked off and kinda wants to go off rogue, and they’re all trying to follow him. He has the idea that they need to find, like, the central computer that controls the robot. They can get that shut down, then everything will be okay. So he takes off running, and they take off running behind him. He runs up to the top of the escalator on the 3rd floor And turns around, like, come on, you guys. The coast is clear. Meanwhile, the robot just rolls up right behind him, throws him off the balcony.   He’s done. Soon after, you know, again, it’s just running around. You know, there’s not much to describe. They’re running around. They run all around this mall. Linda, she gets killed by a laser. Walden Walden, her husband, has one of the weirdest death scenes. Walden sees I think that’s his name, the the mechanic guy.   He sees Linda get killed, and then, like, the way that 

Todd:  Oh, yeah. 

Craig:  How did it how did it play out? 

Todd:  He’s alright. So the robot actually got a little disabled because there was some electrical They shoot something? Or They set it up. Oh, yes. Yeah. That was strange. They set up a row of mannequins. Mhmm. And they Craig the the lid on the store or whatever, and there’s a row of mannequins there.   So the 2 robots are there, and they’re shooting at the mannequins, and they’re behind the mannequins shooting at them. And behind the mannequins themselves It’s something covered up by a sheet. Right. And they whip that off, and it’s a bunch of mirrors they’ve set up. And so, apparently, these lasers bounce off of mirrors. You’re right. These Killer lasers. They’ve gone through everything else, but mirrors hit the robot.   It hits the robot back. It’s short circuited, essentially, so it’s spinning and spinning. Chuck like an idiot because his girlfriend was the one who got just got shot, almost goes suicidal and, jumps on a security cart Yeah. Which is only about 20 feet away. Yeah. 

Craig:  From the robot. And it’s like the size of a Coffee table. I don’t know what he was playing. It’s like one of those things that you see, like, the security, like, driving the elderly around in a mall or something like that. 

Todd:  Eddie’s driving it towards the robot as he’s shooting at it. I don’t know if he thought he was gonna drive it past it. I have no idea. Even know why he thought that was a good idea in the first place. Right. He just Slowly drives right into it. Really slowly. Electrocutes himself 

Craig:  Yeah. 

Todd:  By contact. 

Craig:  So then we’re down to, Ferdie and Allison, and they go off. They’re still looking for the computer, and she says, we probably have better luck if we split up because that’s always a great idea in a horror movie. So they do, and he goes off looking one way. She goes off looking another way. She’s looking for this supercomputer, but apparently, she thinks she’s gonna find it in, like, these storage rooms that are full of junk. She gets cornered, by 1 of the robots, and she screams for Fertie. And he comes running, and he, like, distracts the robot away, and the robot starts chasing him. And, again, just he takes off, like, a fire extinguisher or something off the wall and tosses it at the robot, and, of course, it just bounces right off.   The robot picks it up and, I guess, with great force, throws it back at him, hits him directly in the chest. He falls over backwards, and you see blood coming out of his his head. And so I think that it’s one of those, oh, you’re Post to think that he’s dead, but it’s so obvious 

Todd:  he’s not gonna be We know he’s coming back. 

Craig:  Right. You know he’s gonna be back. 

Todd:  And these robots, I’m not sure how they sense life. I’m not sure how they sense Human life. If they’re distracted by mannequins and they drive up to this guy and think that he’s dead even though he’s not, and So they drive away and chase her, and then it becomes she’s the final girl, 

Craig:  we 

Todd:  think, and she gets chased all around. She has a pretty good stunt there too, and, apparently, she did her own stunts. 

Craig:  Oh, was that that fall? 

Todd:  Yeah. That fall from this from the 3rd, floor, I believe, all the way down onto a, in fact, when I was reading that when they set up this stunt, Jim Winooski, the director, volunteered to be first one to to do it as long as they did it from the 2nd story, and he did. He fell and got up and everything. Later learned that he broke a rib. Oh, wow. But he didn’t say anything to anybody. I’m like, yeah. 

Craig:  What are you gonna say? I broke a rib, but you’ll be alright. The robot’s chasing her all around at one point. She hangs from, like, the balcony. You know, this is a real mall. It was all shot in a real mall, and it’s I mean, it takes you right back 

Todd:  to the eighties. 

Craig:  You know, there’s there’s really not this at least as far as I know, there’s not the same kind of mall culture that there was when we were kids. No. You know, now with Amazon, People do all their shopping from their computer screen. But you just go 

Todd:  to a mall to hang out. Right. You know? You’d go it would be like a day thing. 

Craig:  Oh, yeah. 

Todd:  At least my family. Definitely. Go to church, then afterwards, we’d go to the mall. Right. 

Craig:  And eat lunch in the the food court. 

Todd:  Yeah. Wander around. 

Craig:  Everybody kinda go off Their own way. You kinda converge at different spots throughout the day. 

Todd:  It was kind of fun because it was its own little city that, I guess, parents felt okay with letting their kids run around in there. They might let their kids run around in the department store. 

Craig:  Right. 

Todd:  It’s so much cooler than a department store because it is. It’s like a little city, and you have all these stores, and you have a food place, and you have a fountain, and you can sit and they even used to have concerts in malls. Remember that? That’s why I enjoy watching movies like this that take place in old eighties malls. Mhmm. And it Fulfilled into that fantasy that I always had as a kid that you probably did too of what would it be like to stay in the mall over the 

Craig:  next Todd have free Craig. Yeah. 

Todd:  Yeah. Yeah. To just Everything. Eat this food and go into this store and do that. This movie, I think, taps into that fantasy a little bit, which I think for me, anyways, part of what makes Fun to watch. 

Craig:  It is fun to watch, but it definitely dates it. You know? It it it it shows our age for sure. 

Todd:  Oh, and some of the I mean, there are real stores in here along with the fake ones that go by in the background of the scenery. I thought part of the fun was just look, oh, I remember Florsheim shoes, and I remember this. And one Seen when she’s hanging from the balcony and the robots kind of patrolling back and forth, we get this shot. And in the background, one of the stores is clocks and music boxes. And I don’t think that’s a store that they created. Yeah. I think it was the actual store, and I thought, oh, how quaint. Yeah.   A store that would actually sell clocks and music clocks that you’ll never see today. 

Craig:  No. No. And it’s funny because I noticed that too, and I was just like you. I was really kinda trying to look just, you know, for nostalgia purposes, and some of them seem to be clearly made up, but some of them not. And I you know, that’s kinda surprising anymore. Corporations are really careful with their brands and and what they’ll allow to be shown on screen and whatnot, and Todd doesn’t seem like they really had any problem with that here. I mean, it was it was shot in a real mall. They were given permission to shoot overnight so long as they didn’t destroy anything and so long as anything, and so long as everything was cleaned up by the time that they left in the morning.   Yeah. And, I guess the maintenance people weren’t very happy about it, but, the owner of the mall Thought it was fun Yeah. And was was happy to to let them use it. 

Todd:  Well, you know, when you talk about mall culture, I like the way this movie starts out. I think the movie is clever in so many ways, making use of the limited budget that they obviously had. First off, I thought that the the very beginning part was Cool. How we think we’re watching the movie with this killer bot, but it’s actually a film strip that they’re showing these people at the security convention. But then after that, as the credit sequence goes on, we get what is supposed to be sort of a pastiche of mall culture. Right? There’s a woman carrying drinks, walking along through 

Craig:  the food court. 

Todd:  And it cuts to a kid’s skateboarding through the mall. And In the midst of all of this, like, funny things are happening. Right? Mhmm. Like, the woman, by the end of this, we keep cutting back to her, and she’s still getting bumped bumped around. And Then finally, she gets to the table, and that’s when she ends up losing the drinks, like, right in someone’s lap. 

Craig:  Which always happened. Right? Yeah. Exactly. Somebody was always dropping their tray in those they were so busy and, bustling. 

Todd:  There’s, like, a couple making out like crazy on a bench, and it pans over to an older couple on another bench, and she’s kinda looking at them. And so she turns around and starts to give, her husband a kiss, and I I thought that part was really fun. 

Craig:  Yeah. I mean, even the little stuff like, 2 of the girls, Allison and Susie, work in one of the restaurants in the mall, and so you kinda get a little glimpse at their waitress life and the kind of people Come in there. 

Clip:  Come on. Come on, sweetheart. Give it to me. Give it to me. What do you got? San Diego. 

Craig:  Can I get 2 Okaluchi belly busters, a double anchovy Pizza and an order of garlic logs? So gross. What if a hobby brain ordered that? Right over there? Oh, god. I should have known. That orca beach is here every night. Always trying to snag some skin. Play it safe, Allison. Serve it on its length if you get my drift. 

Todd:  Got it. 

Craig:  Thanks for the invite. The guys work in a furniture store, and, you kinda see their dynamic. You know, there’s Ferdy is, you know, the the nerdy one who’s really concerned about doing the job right, and the other 2 are like, oh, this is a stupid job who gives stuff. He ain’t gonna know Diddly unless you tell him. And you ain’t gonna tell him, are you? Hey. Look. Don’t force me to pull rank. Oh.   I’m shaking. 

Todd:  You know, Brennan, you’re becoming a real candidate for Prickhood. Look. Guys, this party is gonna happen, but we need a little teamwork. Okay? Besides, if the place looks like shit on money, it’s all our asses. You got the beer? Correct. Come on. The 

Craig:  The fridge is back. Alright. Good. So, yeah, it I for that reason, it is kind of a little time capsule, of a of a day gone by. 

Todd:  Yeah. It makes it fun, I think. 

Craig:  Great. Well, you know, so we’re we’re down to the final girl, and, basically, runs around. You know? She she does this fall from, like, the 3rd level. She lands in one of those, tent setups, just one of the little kiosks in the mall. And then she runs into a paint store. I don’t remember there being paint stores in the mall, but but okay. Yeah. 

Todd:  It was a different time. 

Craig:  Yeah. And she goes in in the course of about 15 seconds, opens up about 15 

Todd:  another one of those great scenes where cuts to the robot coming towards her, cuts to her opening 2 paint cans. Yeah. Cuts to the robot going towards her. It’s like, Please. This is I’ve seen this mall. The robot is not that far away. 

Craig:  Right. And And 

Todd:  I I’m sorry, but pink hands are sometimes really hard to over. A trigger. 

Craig:  And, the thing that cracked me up was, like, you know, everything else had failed. Nothing had stopped these robots. And what’s going to stop them? Arts and crafts. So she opens up all these takes a paint and and throws them all on the floor, like, underneath this big pile of paint. And she’s pouring turpentine and stuff down there too. And then she kinda does that, Come and get me, thing, and the robot comes in and and rolls right into her pile. She her her puddle. She sneaks around.   And then at some point, she had gotten the flare. When they were setting 

Todd:  up those Molotov cocktails She’s tucked tucked a flare down 

Craig:  her neck. Cleavage. Right? It’s a good place as any, I guess. As well. 

Todd:  Didn’t think to whip it out until now. Right. 

Craig:  And, she she takes it out and, lights it and Classic. You know, it says Have a nice day. And it throws it, into the puddle, and Explodes. Like, the whole store explodes, and then the robot is gone. And 

Todd:  then it’s like, oh, wow. This moment she walks away from the smoke, and Then you hear this, hey. She looks up, and there’s, her boyfriend waving Todd down at him, Firdie. Yes. 

Craig:  With a great big smile on his face. 

Todd:  Todd job, honey. Like, you’ve been watching her that whole time. 

Craig:  Yeah. He’s got a roll of toilet paper held behind his head, I guess, Soaking up the blood, but he’s fine. And then, like, they kind of come together in the big central lobby area of the mall, and they embrace, and they’re in love. And All of a sudden, it’s midday, apparently, because it’s bright as all get out 

Todd:  in there. We needed more light, for that final scene. 

Craig:  And then that’s it. Cut to credits. I mean, it’s that simple. It’s a it’s a simple goofy movie. Little goofy lines throughout. Yeah. I hadn’t seen this. I I know that I had seen it Because this is one of those movies we talk about this all the time.   You know, the eighties were such an excellent time for, box art for the VHS tapes, And this one is just permanently cemented in my mind. You know? It’s just a like an illustrated animated shopping bag Full of, like, dismembered body parts, like an eyeball hanging out. 

Todd:  At the top. Yeah. 

Craig:  And as a kid, oh my gosh. I just thought that was the coolest thing. I thought this is gonna be the best movie Ever. Yeah. And I saw it when I was a kid. I mean, I must have been really young, and I think I only saw that once. This was the 1st time I’ve revisited it since then, and it’s It’s something. 

Todd:  You you know what I overlooked on that box art always as a kid I never noticed, and I only noticed it while I was looking it online Todd, was that the hand holding The Bag. Bag is a robot hand. I mean, it’s not an accurate depiction of the robots in the movie, but it’s clearly making that connection. Did you ever notice I 

Craig:  don’t think I did. Think I 

Todd:  did either. 

Craig:  I looked it up last night when we were talking about doing this, and, I wanted to show my friend because he couldn’t remember. And, yeah, I noticed that too. 

Clip:  I am. 

Craig:  I don’t know. Surely, it was always there. 

Todd:  Yeah. Oh, yeah. Of course. Mhmm. But it was just not It’s not what drew your eye. 

Craig:  Right. Right. 

Todd:  The eye drew your eye. 

Craig:  Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And it did its job. I mean, I I wanted to see that movie so bad, and I I’m sure I finally just talked my dad into, to renting it for me. 

Todd:  Well, shopping mall is a clever title. It was originally called killbots Mhmm. And, released to the theaters as Roger Corman’s movies always were up until, about the nineties when everything kinda started to go straight to video, and it just didn’t do very well. And they chalked it up to maybe it’s the title. And the poster for it had the robots on the front and think about it. This was transformers time. 

Craig:  Right. 

Todd:  They wondered maybe people were thinking that this wasn’t A, a horror film, but it was more of a kid’s, animated robot movie. 

Craig:  Right. 

Todd:  So that’s when they changed it to shopping mall, and it actually did fairly well. So much so that they thought about doing a sequel after the rebound. 

Craig:  Oh, wow. 

Todd:  You know? Didn’t happen. Yeah. But apparently did fairly well on on VHS. You know? Yeah. 

Craig:  It’s wonderful. Surprise me. And, I mean, it was really low budget. So, I mean, if they made any money on it, I I have no idea what the the numbers are, but I think $800,000 or something budget, which is really low. 

Todd:  And you know that Roger Corman’s totally famous for that. He, to this day, claims that he’s never made a movie that didn’t make money. He’s the guy who would, make a movie under budget and, quicker. Mhmm. And he’d still have actors and people under contract, so he’d hire somebody to a quick whip up another script using the same actors, the same sets, the same locations, and make a and make a second movie. 

Craig:  Yeah. That’s funny. You told me that before, but I didn’t put the 2 together. 

Todd:  Yeah. It’s, it’s it’s interesting. I could see That was a kind of a dream of mine too as I was a kid, honestly. I I really wanted when I was thinking about being a filmmaker, my idea of a Filmmaker was, doing the more interesting films, you know, not the artsy kind of films. 

Craig:  It 

Todd:  was more about, let’s do some of these horror films, let’s do action movies, And let’s do them like Roger Corman did, you know, so we could really pump them out and and make them fun and exciting because that’s one thing his movies never are boring usually. 

Craig:  Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s It’s a very specific type of movie. It’s a drive in movie. It’s, we were talking about, you thought that you had seen it on USA up all night, which again, If you’re if you’re younger than 30, you won’t know what that is, but Gilbert Godfried and this busty blonde, what was her name? Rhonda Cheer. Ron De Sheer. 

Todd:  I would say. Up all night. 

Craig:  They would host these, I mean, it’s kind of an Elvira kind of thing, but it was campier, and they didn’t just Do horror. They did screwball comedies and stuff Todd. But it was really late night, like, 1 or 2 in the morning, on on cable, And they would host these Cheezeball movies, and it was so much fun. You know, it was exciting as a kid, you know, 8, 9, 10 years old to stay up late way past your bedtime I’m in, you know, your parents let you stay up late on the weekend and watch these goofy movies. I I remember so many times waiting and trying so hard to stay awake For it to come on, and then probably 20 minutes in the movie, obviously. It would always happen. 

Clip:  But it 

Todd:  was a ritual for me Todd, you know, my parents let me do it, and we you know, it was just right there on the sofa, get a a blanket and sit there. And, usually, they’d show 2, wouldn’t they? 

Craig:  I think so. Like, 1 or 

Todd:  2 back to back, and to try to stay up for the second one was almost impossible. Yeah. 

Craig:  But it’s that kind of thing. That’s what you’re getting into. You you know, it’s not High quality. The acting is not great. In fact, at times, it’s a little bit painful. Yeah. The dialogue, again, same thing, a little bit painful at times, But that’s cheesy and corny and kind of fun Todd. So you’re not going into this with high expectations. 

Todd:  Correct. And and there’s some interesting, actors in here. John Turleski, who’s the kind of the jockey, jerk jerky guy, Mike. I think he’s, you he’s on television. 

Craig:  Is he now? 

Todd:  He’s the one who you said, he looks really familiar to me. 

Craig:  He did. And I went and looked him up, and he’s got quite a few credits. Mhmm. Like, 40 some, acting credits, and I didn’t know 

Todd:  Todd lot of directing too. 

Craig:  Does he? Mhmm. I think that I rec he was in sitcoms in the eighties nineties. See us on the facts of life and, empty nest, and I imagine that’s probably where I know him from. I didn’t really recognize any of his movie titles. 

Todd:  Well, he has That face. You know? He’s got that jockey kind of good looking chiseled, could could probably play a really nice guy, could also play a real jerk. Right. 

Craig:  And he’s got great hair. He’s got, like, this great, like oh, I don’t know how to describe it. You know, just this huge head of soft flowing eighties. 

Todd:  Yeah. Yeah. It’s like a football player here. Typical. And, apparently well, and again, if you’re familiar with Jim These movies, if you’ve seen, oh, I think vice squad, there there is a couple in the very beginning of the film who you never see again, but they’re sitting watching the presentation, And they’re, like, the comic relief. They’re quipping really bad lines back and forth to each other. It’s supposed to be funny, but it doesn’t really come across that way. You will see those 2 in a lot of these films.   And she, I can’t remember her name right off the bat, but she pretty much stars in the vice squad series of movies, which was Sort of a sex comedy police academy type knockoff, but with women, you know, busty women, basically. Yeah. 

Craig:  Are you talking about those 2 that were sitting in the audience in that opening scene, they looked familiar 

Todd:  to me. 

Craig:  And, you know, I wrote their names down because there’s a little bit of focus on them in the beginning. I thought that they were gonna be Central characters, but, no, they’re just there in the beginning, I think, for the comic relief. I was reading, the cast list on IMDB. Are those 2 did you say that they’ve repeated in several, like because there were a couple of characters that and I assume it’s probably them, that it said they’re playing the same roles, Actually, they’re playing the same characters. 

Todd:  It could very well be. I I don’t remember enough about all the other movies. 

Craig:  Right. And not that it’s important at all. 

Todd:  But she has a very striking Look to her. She has a, kind of a mannish face. She’s very chiseled, very distinct features and things. But she yeah. She’s in a lot. Vice Todd was another one of those movies that would come on USA Up All Night as well, and, she was the head police officer or something in those movies. And then apparently and we didn’t even learn this until we were going through the cast list, so we went back to the movie to see it. Angus Skrim Yeah. 

Craig:  Has a very, very Small role Oh, tiny cameo. And you wouldn’t even we didn’t I mean, we we’re fans of Angus Scrimm, big fans, and we Todd didn’t notice him at all. I mean, you you don’t see him up close. It’s really it’s kind of a faraway shot. From the back. But if you I mean, if you’re paying attention and you listen, it’s it’s Definitely him. I mean, he’s got that distinctive voice. Mhmm.   And so that’s that’s that’s cool. 

Todd:  And then one of the actors in here, I’m not sure which one, actually went on to do, I believe, Nightmare in Elm Street, dream warriors. Oh. And then the 4th one as well reprise his role, and I believe this was his his first film. 

Craig:  Gotcha. 

Todd:  So, 

Craig:  Dream Warriors, that was one of my favorite entries from that series. It’s a 

Todd:  good one. You know, I cannot wait for us to see The House Massacre 2. We might need to bump that up on the list after seeing this because to see it after this, these are the 2 films I would recommend that You would want to watch to get an idea of a certain kind of film that’s you don’t see made anymore. It’s camp it’s intentional camp, I should say. It’s really intended to be a comedy in many ways. Mhmm. But it surprises you because it’s marketed as pure horror. 

Craig:  Mhmm. 

Todd:  And it makes for a fun film, and this is the kind of thing that Jim Wynarski really excels in and why he’s a director that I continue to come back to, not for his later stuff, but his earlier stuff is really quite fun. 

Craig:  That’s good. Well, we’ll have to check it out. Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed, what you heard. You can find all of our previous episodes on iTunes or Stitcher. You can find us on Facebook. We’re on Google Plus, Every once in a while, we would love to hear your feedback. We would love to see you liking and sharing the podcast.   If, you enjoy it. Share it with a friend. But until next time, I’m Craig, and I’m talking with 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

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