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Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘CHOPPING MALL – Slashing Prices and Trespassers’


The 1980s were chock full of formulaic horror fare. Many of those involved horny teenagers with questionable morals getting slaughtered by a larger than life antagonist. In that sense, Chopping Mall is not all that unique.

The set up: Moronic young adults gather at a mall after hours to engage in youthful frivolity. Unfortunately for them, a lightning storm causes a power surge, frying the mainframes of the mall’s new crack security squad and turning them into Killbots. Sex, alcohol, panic, and murder ensue. Sound familiar? Aside from the Killsbots, it should.

But they are what make this movie so memorable. They’re a trio of tiny, comically cheap looking robots equipped with an equally low-grade variety of gadgets. Oh … and they shoot lasers out of their heads! Cyclops style!

One oughta think twice before trifling with the Killbots!

Based on that description alone, it shouldn’t surprise you that this film was a product of Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures. Nor should it be enlightening to discover this wasn’t a box office smash. Yet it has endured, finding its niche on late night cable television throughout the 80s and 90s.

That’s where I discovered it, and I haven’t stopped shouting its praises to people since. Look, I know it’s not some piece of high art, but its ludicrous concept is just too much damn fun not to find joy in. When your central conceit revolves around three foot tall robots, who can’t go up and down stairs, menacing a group of slackers in a suburban mall, you can’t go wrong.

So sit back, grab a Five-O IPA from Jailhouse Brewing, and get ready to swipe those credit cards as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla survive the horrors of the Chopping Mall—where shopping can cost you an arm and a leg!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – Everything is up for sale in our deep dive look at this schlocky horror classic! (00:00)
  • The Top-5 Explosive Decapitations in Cinema History – The film’s signature kill—a head vaporizing laser—is one for the ages, and we see how it stacks up to similar gore-tastic deaths from cinema history. (43:04)
  • Recommendations – We provide our mostly horror-centric picks for the week. (57:59)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—each scene from our Top-5 and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!


Thomas L. Kelly

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