If you like your cute robots to draw blood, here’s the perfect double feature: robot movies with slasher plots! And honestly, they look like they may be siblings….
CHOPPING MALL (1986)
Back in the day when every movie that played on HBO felt like a major event, Chopping Mall was a must-see. Along with cameos by a bunch of 80s veterans—Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, Gerrit Graham, Dick Miller—it features a cast of young faces any 80s teen would know.
Our main girl is adorable Kelli Maroney of Night of the Comet. Our other scream queens include Karrie Emerson of Evils of the Nights and Barbara Crampton of Re-animator, Body Double, Castle Freak, and From Beyond, who has come back to horror more recently in movies like You’re Next, We Are Still Here, and The Lords of Salem.
And the guys are a group of adorable 80s favorites as well. There’s Tony O’Dell of Evils of the Night and the Karate Kid franchise. Russell Todd of Friday the 13th Pt. 2 and He Knows You’re Alone. Nick Segal of School Spirit. And John Terlesky of Death Stalker II.
Running only an hour and fifteen minutes, Chopping Mall delivers it all. A group of horny kids gets trapped in a mall overnight with security robots gone wild. There’s sex, nudity, and gore. Wahoo! There’s synth-drenched horror music. There’s neon lighting. And there are laser shooting robots that will make a bitch’s head explode! These crafty kids have to use everything mall stores have to offer to take the robots down in this action-packed cheesefest.
I’d take this sci-fi horror mall flick over the original Dawn of the Dead any day.
90s teen actor Ethan Embry of Disturbing Behavior and Can’t Hardly Wait is a kid named Kyle who takes on a killer robot in this teen sci-fi horror. He actually wins the robot in a virtual reality arcade game contest. At first, it seems like the robot is going to be like a cute family pet.
But the robot’s skill level increases the more Kyle has foam ball bullet shootouts with it in his living room. And it begins to have a mind of its own. And I like how it thinks. It sneaks into the school locker room and watches a stud shower, taking special note of the stud’s fine ass. And then it makes a gory mess of the poor dude. Actually, the guy was a jock bully prick, but the robot should have taken that ass home and mounted it over the fireplace.
Around Kyle’s house, the robot shows signs of absorbing all bad things in life and curses like, well, William H. Macy, who voices the robot. Kyle and his friends suspect something’s wrong so they dig into the origins of the robot (naturally it involves sneaking into a corporate lab). Meanwhile, the robot gets some sort of Jason Voorhees complex, taking out teens left and right and eventually going after Kyle’s little sister.
Kyle has to use his virtual reality skills in a real world battle to the death.
In fact, when the robot returns to Kyle’s house for a rematch, the movie gets quite horror-esque, with the robot pursuing his family in the darkness during a suspenseful chase scene. Best sequence in the whole movie that delivers a psycho killer franchise ending promising a sequel we never got.