“I’m sorry. It’s not you, Ferdy. I guess I’m just not used to running around a shopping mall in the middle of the night being chased by killer robots.”
“Eight teenagers are trapped after hours in a high tech shopping mall and pursued by three murderous security robots out of control.”
For your listening pleasure, start up the theme music.
Everyone who was involved with CHOPPING MALL should be proud to be part of this classic 80s film. Starting with the opening scene, but let’s jump a little ahead to Alison’s workplace (Kelli Maroney). On the walls of the restaurant there are posters of “The Lost Empire,” “Slumber House Massacre” and others. “At the time we were filming CHOPPING MALL, the restaurant in the mall where we shot had rather bland grey walls. I brought some posters from home to spruce up the place with color” explains Jim Wynorski. Watch the film and try to spot and name all the posters.
Next, Leslie’s (Suzee Slater) head exploding has to be mentioned. Not only were the effects impressive, but it was critical to the momentum of the film. After the group witnesses the KILLBOT blowing her head off, they are smacked with the reality that these KILLBOTS are ruthless killing machines. In order to escape, they know they will have to heavily arm themselves and go to war with the KILLBOTS. Fortunately, there was little or no drama between the characters. Sometimes too much drama between characters takes away from the action and suspense.
On the DVD there’s a Special Features section with Robert Short talking about how they came up with the concept and the making of the KILLBOTS. Jim Wynorski and Steve Mitchell also share behind the scenes moments. One thing we learn is Jim’s vision derived from the 1954 classic GOG.
In addition, Robert Short explained to B-Movie Nation that he based the coloring of the KILLBOTS on Robbie the Robot, whom he actually operated during his appearances during the mid-70’s. “I’m still impressed with the film because it stands up today as a mini classic of that era but I’m surprised that no one has ever done a model of the KILLBOTS” exclaimed Robert. Robert also talks about how nervous he was presenting the KILLBOTS to the Cormans’.
Enjoying the theme music? You can thank the talented composer Chuck Cirino for that. If you’re a Jim Wynorski fan, Chuck informed us that he slipped a CHOPPING MALL riff into another one of Jim’s films, A.I. ASSAULT. Ironically, the musical cue in A.I. ASSAULT is titled KILLBOT. Another interesting fact is that Chuck still has a ¾” cassette video print with the title KILLBOTS over the credits (The title changed after Chuck scored it). Don’t ask to see it, the tape is hidden so well in his garage in the piles of music and video masters that it’ll take him awhile (maybe years) to find it. That cassette tape may be filed away, but you can still get Chuck’s music through BSX Records http://buysoundtrax.stores.yahoo.net/cinfilmusofc.html
By the way, Chuck’s production office is in a completely rebuilt Galleria…Sherman Oaks Galleria…..the mall the movie was filmed IN, and Chuck jokes about hearing the ghost of the alive B movie legend Dick Miller sweeping up the halls.
CHOPPING MALL was a huge inspiration for Chuck to score many more films after. He told us, “What surprised me most about scoring CHOPPING MALL was the fact I discovered I could actually write music for a feature film. This was my first score. I know my IMDB says it way GYPSY ANGELS… but it wasn’t. I was directing and editing TV commercials for The Federated Group in LA when Jim approached me. Doing the gig for him was kind of a lark too. I already had a really fun job directing and editing TV commercials for The Federated Group with Shadoe Stevens. But once I experienced the ‘film music writing’ bug it was off to the keyboard for a long, long time.”
Near the end of the film, hats off to Kelli Maroney for her bravery to allow live tarantulas and snakes to crawl on her while hiding from a KILLBOT. Originally, scorpions were supposed to be in the mix. That may have been a bit too much though. Possibly not even Jim would have been able to handle the scorpions himself, so he saved Kelli by eliminating the scorpions. In that same scene, as Alison (Kelli) was leaving the pet shop a screeching cat leaps past her. It’s a horror film essential.
CHOPPING MALL, a classic film that stands the test of time, get your copy of “Chopping Mall” today.
In the words of Kelli, “Have a nice day”
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