31 Days of Hallowe’en 2022, Day 26: Chopping Mall [1986]

I know this is a cult favourite, but I couldn’t get past how overstuffed it was of all of the bad parts of ’80s cliche: casual racism, oversexualising teenagers (I can’t tell if it’s better that they’re clearly played by 40-year-olds so that the actors aren’t underage, or if by having them played by adults it’s normalising sexualising teenagers – who are children, by the way), and obvious, groan-worthy sexism.

Not like the rest of Chopping Mall, ‘directed’ by Jim Wynorksi, is much better. The plot revolves around a group of teenage stereotypes who stay behind at the mall after their jobs close for the day in order to have a pseudo orgy in between gulping terrible lines of dialogue like “fuck the fuschia, it’s Friday”. Unfortunately for them, their Friday night plans are interrupted when a trio of clearly faulty security guard robots start terrorising them.

Not that you’d care, because most of the characters’ reactions to some truly grisly deaths is just to stare blankly (not even out of shock, but more that nobody gave the actors direction on what to do) and not react. What follows is basically carnage as the three boys, including one who shouldn’t be chewing gum open-mouthed with a chin that Chad-like, arm themselves with long guns (yay, America) and pose comically while firing metal at increasingly provable indestructible metal (yay, American hubris) while they send their girlfolk off to hide.

I’m all for gloriously silly trash, even films that may have aged slightly poorly, and/orwith laughably dated, probably-shit-even-for-back-then visual effects; I fully subscribe to the fact that things can be so bad that they’re good, but this isn’t even remotely entertaining, funny, tense or memorable, and none of the characters are worth championing because they’re just unfleshed-out bags of flesh. It was slightly more fun for me once I started rooting for the robots.

Score: šŸŽƒ

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