Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chopping Mall (1986)

...aka: Killbots
...aka: R.O.B.O.T.
...aka: Shopping
...aka: Supermarket Horror

Directed by:
Jim Wynorski

An electrical storm turns three high-tech security robots into relentless killing machines that stalk a pizzeria worker/sweet new girl in town (NIGHT OF THE COMET's Kelli Maroney), a nerdy nice guy (Tony O'Dell) and three horny teen couples (newly married couple Russell Todd and Karrie Emerson, preppy couple Barbara Crampton and Nick Segal and trashy couple John Terlesky and Suzee Slater) trapped in a shopping mall. The robots are armed with lasers that make a girls head explode, claws (to slit a throat) and wires to electrocute victims. And they say "Thank you. Have a nice day" after each murder. This is fairly entertaining and professionally put together for a Wynorski film, but the best thing about it is the supporting cast, which includes pleasant in-jokes appearances by some very likeable Roger Corman (who was the executive producer) alumni. The always-welcome Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel show up as their EATING RAOUL personas during the first scene, plus Mel Welles has a scene as a cook, Dick Miller (who appeared with Welles in the original LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS) has a fun bit as a janitor and Gerrit Graham plays an early victim.

Fans of the prolific director will also notice some of his regular rotation cast members in smaller roles; including Arthur Roberts (as Slater's stern father), Ace Mask (as a janitor who picks on Miller) and Lenny Juliano (as a burglar), all three of whom appeared in Jim's remake of NOT OF THIS EARTH, which also featured Ms. Maroney (who apparently was the off-screen girlfriend of the director for awhile). Hell, even Angus Scrimm (The Tall Man from PHANTASM) is in here somewhere. The "younger" cast (who look too old for the roles, of course) are better than average, the effects are decent and there's some female nudity provided by Crampton and Slater. ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS is seen on a TV and posters for Wynorski movies (such as THE LOST EMPIRE) are on the walls of a restaurant. Original title: KILLBOTS.


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