Film / Chopping Mall

A 1980s Slasher Movie involving malfunctioning killer robots chasing people through a mall..

Eight teenagers get locked inside a mall and think they're in for a night of debauchery. The mall also has a shiny new robot security system. The creator of the system says "nothing could go wrong". Things go less than stellar.

Thanks to a lightning strike on the mall's transformer, the computer running the security robots begins to malfunction, deciding all humans in the mall are intruders and in need of removal with extreme prejudice. This leads to a running Chase Fight throughout the shopping center as the humans try to evade detection and destroy the robots.

A classic Roger Corman B-Movie from The '80s, which has gained a cult following due to its hokey plot, tongue-in-cheek dialogue and gruesome robot kill scenes. Also known as "Killbots," the film's original working title and what it was syndicated to television as.

Tropes seen in Chopping Mall include:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: A lightning-induced power spike is all that it took for the security robots to go into full-on "Kill All Humans" mode.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: Homicidal security 'bots.
  • The Cameo: Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov appear briefly at the beginning of the film as their characters from Eating Raoul.
    • Dick Miller shows up as Walter Paisley, a character he has played in multiple films.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The road flare.
  • Covers Always Lie: The robots do not have humanlike, scaly looking arms (instead they have stubby, robotic claws), and no-one's body parts get stuffed into a shopping bag.
  • Crush. Kill. Destroy!: Apparently the security bots' default setting following a computer malfunction.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: A customer ogles a group of girls in bikinis on an escalator, and falls over, crushing the boxes he was carrying.
  • Elevator Failure: How Protector 2 meets its end, thanks to the humans rigging it to blow.
  • Faux Affably Evil: While they're not technically evil, whenever a killbot, well, kills someone, it wishes its victim a nice day.
  • Final Girl: Partly subverted; Alison has to fight the last killbot alone, but it turns out her boyfriend was only stunned.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Protectors' main weapon. They fire them from their visors.
  • Genre Savvy: Having seen his fair share of horror movies, Ferdy counts as this. He definitely knows the stupidity of the Let's Split Up, Gang trope when it comes to them, as shown when Alison suggests she and him split up to look for the computer mainframe:
    Alison: Okay, you try over there, and I'll try over here.
    Ferdy: No, I don't want to split up!
    Alison: What can happen?
    Ferdy: You want a list?
  • Hollywood Nerd: Ferdy.
  • Ironic Echo: "Hey! Have a nice day!"
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: when asked if he knows how to shoot a gun Ferdy says he's watched Dirty Harry twenty-four times.
  • Killer Robot: The Protector 101 series security robot.
  • Klaatu Barada Nikto: spoken by Mike when he showed one of the killbots his security badge.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Greg gets a fatal case of this while running through the mall blindly, leaving his friends far behind.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Apparently, the mall being struck by lightning is all it takes to make the robots murderous.
  • Lock and Load Montage: The guys stocking up with weapons and ammo at the sporting goods store.
  • Lowered Monster Difficulty: The killbots quickly and efficiently dispose of most of the cast. But when Protector 1 has Alison at its mercy in a storage room...
  • The Mall: The setting for the entire movie. Even the few exterior shots (so we can see the lightning strikes) are all of the mall.
  • Man on Fire: Suzie dies when a killbot blows up the gas can she's carrying with incendiary results.
  • Molotov Cocktail: The girls try to use these on one robot, with poor results.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The robots suddenly develop Frickin' Laser Beams with no real explanation why beforehand.
  • Oddly Overtrained Security: Mall Ninja subtype, robot version.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: On more than one occasion, the killbots manage to sneak up behind humans, even in situations where their presence should have been noticed way in advance.
  • Pun-Based Title: The film was originally titled "Killbots" (and was syndicated to television as such), but it had trouble finding an audience with this title. It was given it's current title for its re-release.
  • Saw Star Wars 27 Times: When asked if he knows how to handle a gun, Ferdy assures that he does because he's seen Dirty Harry 24 times.
  • The Stinger: A robot tells the audience, "thank you, have a nice day".
  • Super Powered Robot Meter Maid: The robots are supposed to be mall security guards. Who the hell decided they needed lasers powerful enough to explode peoples' heads?
  • Terrifying Pet Store Rat: Snakes and spiders, literally in a pet store. They serve no real purpose, beyond forcing one girl to put up with terrifying things crawling on her without alerting the killer robots.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Whoever decided to employ robots with weaponry capable of blowing up someone's head to guard a shopping mall apparently believed this.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Linda, the tough girl mechanic is killed by a random laser blast while Protector 3 is malfunctioning, while Alison, the more chaste and feminine one survives the night.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The film ends with the three security robots destroyed, but the malfunctioning computer that controlled them (and supposedly has control over other parts of the mall as well) is still operating. Although it can't send out any more robots to do its bidding, it can still cause trouble for any humans in the area.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Leslie, the first girl to die in the movie, goes out this way courtesy of a killer robot's Frickin' Laser Beams.