I was privledged enough to come across a copy of the 1986 Roger Corman produced “Chopping Mall” aka Killbots, starring Tony O’Dell (Head of the Class, The Karate Kid, The Puppy Saves the Circus) and Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet).
Chopping Mall starts off cleverly, with a street tough breaking into a jewelry store window, and stealing the merchandise. He’s thwarted by a rolling robot that chases him through the mall and eventually incapacitates him with a taser type weapon. It’s all a lead in for a commercial touting the robot security system that the mall has just purchased. The mall buys 3 of these robots, which are armed to the teeth with lasers, tasers, welding torches, and twice as much shit as a batman utility belt.
Meanwhile, some employees in a furniture store are planning a party that night while the manager is out of town. Tony O’Dell plays the nerdy goody two shoes role who is the voice of reason that warns the other two guys that there could be trouble if they have a party where actual girls are invited.
During the night of the security system’s big debut, a freak electrical storm hits the area and lightning hits the mall, shorting out the robot’s AI, giving them total self awareness, as lightning hitting electrical systems usually do. One time during a thunderstorm, my power went out. When it came back on, the microwave started chasing my cat around, and the tube on the vaccuum cleaner became attached to my penis… It was crazy.
Needless to say, the robots go crazy and start indescrimantently killing workers inside the mall. One of the teens leaves the store to buy cigarettes from a vending machine, and he gets cut up. His girlfriend then goes looking for him, finds the mess, and gets chased through the mall, eventually ending with a close up shot of her head getting blown to bits by a laser. It’s done great and it’s one of those “Holy Shit!” moments.
The rest of the movie is filled with 80’s cliches, like stocking up on weapons from a sporting goods store.Â I wish I could find a sporting goods store in today’s world where they stocked M-16’s and ammo, like you could back in the 80’s. It’s also very reminiscent of “Dawn of the Dead” with the store hopping and running away from deranged monsters.
This is movie that I’d have to highly recommend. It’s pretty readily available, I found it on Amazon and it’s easy to find new online. If you’re a fan of sci-fi type horror, this would probably be right up your alley, and if you’re a fan of the 80’s cheesy teen horror genre (and if you’re reading this site, hopefully you have some interest in that type of movie), this one is a must see. This thing is pure genius.