So Bad it's Good!

Shaun vs. Chopping Mall (1986)

Ichoppingf you ever imagined Johnny 5 from Short Circuit going crazy working as a mall cop, this may be the movie you’re looking for!  Ah, the 80’s…where we dared to dream about the future…of mall security.  The movie is really about a group of mall security droids that go haywire and have urges to kill the unfortunate teenage mall employees who decide to have a sleepover that very same night.  What a crazy coincidence!

Directed by Jim Wynorski

Starring Kelli Maroney, Tony O’Dell, Barbara Crampton and Dick Miller

The Story

A group of mall employees decide to party it up overnight at the mall.  Unfortunately, the mall has set up a state of the art robot security system that goes haywire on their first night after lightning strikes the building.  Now they’re on patrol for anything that moves…and who moves more than partying teenagers?


The film was originally released more appropriately as “Killbots.”  When the film didn’t do well, the filmmakers changed the name to something more snappier.

The voice of the robots was supplied by director Jim Wynorski.

To keep the film under budget (reportedly $800,000) the effects crew built the robots out of wheelchair frames, conveyor belt pieces, and plastic toy grips and were controlled by remote control.

I liked the film so much, I bought the T-shirt.

The Trailer

The Review

Tell me if you’ve heard this before: a group of partying kids get stuck where they are and wind up getting massacred in one night by a psychopath, a monster, and/or a killer machine until there’s only a few left to save the day. For themselves, cause everyone else got killed.  Pretty standard 80’s stuff, but the real twist is that the killers are mall security robots that go haywire after the building is struck by lightning.  Mythbusters should look into that because I’m pretty sure nothing works after getting struck by lightning.  Except for Frankenstein or a time travelling Delorean.



The very idea of a robotic security system may have sounded like a great futuristic idea, but after watching this I’m glad it hasn’t happened yet.  These machines have way more firepower than any mall cop ever (not located in Texas.)  They have frickin’ laser beams, they can electrocute people, and slit throats!  Even robots have to have a little bit of slasher in them.  Who built these and thought it was a good idea?

The film isn’t played too seriously, the filmmakers really tried to keep the film scary but they knew it was a silly enough premise to have fun with the gimmick and they mix in some laughs.  I’m OK with that because I was fully expecting to laugh at it anyway.  It’s not a perfect mix but I had a few chuckles at the robots delivering their brand of justice to the poor teenage victims. 


That’s the quick way to get the candy out of a piñata.

If you were to judge the film by the box art, you may think it’s more violent than it really is.  While there are some slit throats to show us some red stuff, there’s only so many things these robots can do, be it shooting people, electrocuting them or tossing them off a high floor.  The highlight of the film is one character’s head blowing up after a laser beam shot that’s totally given away in the trailer but hey, it’s still a good shot.

The Score

Story: 6 – It is a movie filled with slasher cliches but with robots!

Gore: 6 – Aside from the head explosion, it’s not that bad.

Nudity: 4 – Some brief boobage, I’ll take what I can get.  If you know Jim Wynorski’s work, you’d expect a LOT more.

Overall: 8 – I really enjoyed the campiness of the film.  It’s well-made, has some cool effects, a few laughs and again, robot security droids!  What’s not to like about this?  In fact, why isn’t there a remake?

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