• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Chopping Mall

TITLE: Chopping Mall

YEAR: 1986

GENRE: Horror and Science Fiction

I grew up in the 1980’s, and it was customary at the time for teenagers to go to the drive-in to watch the plethora of cheesy horror movies coming out at the time. Yes you had to deal with the bad mono-sounding speaker that you put in the window, yes there were bugs everywhere, and yes it was not as comfortable as the currently developing multiplexes, but it was nostalgic, a lot of unsupervised fun. Many of us middle aged people had out first beer, first got to third base, and developed a love for those terrible movies that most of did not watch until later in life because we had the significant other in the back seat of the 1973 Chevy Chevelle. Chopping Mall was one of those horror films I first saw at a drive-in yet did not watch at the time, and later rented it about fifteen years later. I missed an interesting film at the time, as Chopping Mall is an amusing ride that is definitely worth revisiting.

As with most horror films in the Reagan era, Chopping Mall beings with a group of college students planning a party. Four couples plan a night of beer and sex in a mattress store after close in a mall that has a sophisticated lock-down system complete with three state of the art security robots equipped with lasers and stun guns. A lightning bolt hits a terminal and the robots become confused, killing any human that they run across. Trapped in the mall of terrors, the young, dumb, and full of cum students break into a sporting goods store and arm themselves to the teeth for what is sure to be a confrontational battle to the death with the high tech tin cans (sort of like a low budget R2-D2).

This film is not The Godfather by any stretch, but Chopping Mall knows its limitations and through that can entertain its crowd. The robots look pretty good and could pass in most 1980’s science fiction, and the humor of them saying “Thank you! Have a nice day” in a too cheery tone as they whack our twenty-something heroes adds a fun element to the carnage. The gore is also fairly well done, especially the scene when one of the not so bright females loses her head in a blood soaked, mop-worthy sight. One of the most humorous—and hopelessly 80’s—aspects of Chopping Mall is the mane of the lead actress Kelli Maroney, as she gets tossed about, blown up, and pushed through HVAC systems without messing up her perfect Farrah Fawcett-style hairdo that probably has a gallon of Aqua Net in the feathering. There are a couple explosions in the film and they look acceptable enough especially the crescendo of the film which is nicely done. The script also includes quite a few in-jokes that most die-hard 80’s movie fans will like, plus short appearances by Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, and Dick Miller add to the fun. On the naughty voyeur side, Suzee Slater does give us one of the very best gratuitous topless shots in any film from the 1980’s.

Yes the script of Chopping Mall is thin and the robot security guards are a bit far fetched, but Academy Award-style writing is not the intent of the film. It was geared more toward that carousing crowd at the drive-in who wanted fun and frolic over substance, and in that respect Chopping Mall delivers the goods in style. This film will not be mentioned in the same breath as A Nightmare On Elm Street or Re-Animator as classic 80’s horror, but it is an entertaining offering that deserves a rental. This is a fun film, and there is a reason why Chopping Mall was given a DVD release when many of those drive-in films were left on the scrap heap of bad 1980’s cinema. It is a remembered film that deserves to join us in the 21st century, albeit when we are on the less serious side.

* * * *

–Mark

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