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Chopping Mall (1985)

This film isn’t half as gory as it’s name and the box (which shows a metal hand holding a shopping bag filled with dismembered parts,) would have you think. The victims here die by laser blasts, or are electrocuted, or are dropped off high ledges. One girl is burned to death. The film’s dummy title, “Killbots”, is probably far more appropriate for this particular movie. The plot: at a shopping mall, presumably sometime in the not-too-distant future, a supercomputer is installed which is activated at night. It activates solid steal doors which seal off the entrances, making breaking in (and getting out,) almost impossible. The computer also controls three high tech security robots, known as “protector,” units. Then, one night, there is a thunderstorm. Lightning strikes the antenna on the roof of the mall, scrambling the computer’s circuits, and the computer turns the protector robots into killing machines. After offing two technicians hired to operate the computer overnight, and a janitor, (B-movie vet Dick Miller,) the protector units go after four teenage couples who’ve decided to spend the night in a mattress store for an orgy. Anybody who’s familiar with the teen extermination flicks of the 80’s, or who’ve seen “Scream”, will figure out right when the couples get together who will live and who will die. But the film is still worth seeing just for Kelli Maroney’s performance as Alyson. She manages to play a strong female heroine without becoming a male clone. Her character is comparable to Ripley from the “Alien” series. Also, unlike some splatter movies, this one’s more interested in that the young people find out right away what’s going on, and then they all battle the robots together, instead of one person getting separated and killed, one by one until there’s only one left.