The quintessentially ’80s horror movie Chopping Mall was released on this day back in 1986. A bonafide cult classic, the film blends haunted house and techno-horror tropes with aplomb while offering biting satire of rampant consumerism. If it’s been a while, or if you’ve yet to experience Chopping Mall for yourself, check out the trailer and synopsis below.
A group of young shopping mall employees stay behind for a late night party in one of the stores. When the mall goes on lock-down before they can get out, the robot security system malfunctions, and goes on a killing spree.
Chopping Mall is directed by Jim Wynorski (The Lost Empire, Camel Spiders) from a screenplay co-scribed by Steve Mitchell. The film stars Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet, Exorcism at 60,000 Feet), Tony O’Dell, and Russell Todd.
The film was allowed to shoot at a real California mall as long as they did not damage any facilities and had removed any traces of their presence before the mall opening time of 9AM. While the mall’s head of security didn’t like the filmmakers and was constantly accusing them of causing disrepair, the mall’s owner was supportive of the film and made sure the production was able to complete its work on schedule. (Source)
The special effects crew actually built five remote controlled robots to serve as the Protector killbots. Three were required for the scenes of the robots together in the first half of the film, with two extras as backups in the event that the originals were damaged during any of the action sequences. In order to keep the robots looking realistic (as well as due to the film’s budgetary constraints), they were constructed out of such items as wheelchair frames and pieces of conveyor belt. Excluding shooting laser beams, most of what the killbots are seen doing onscreen was the result of the effects crew operating them via remote control. (Source)