Tag Archives: horror classics

Really Awful Movies: Ep 194 – Chopping Mall

Scenes from a mall. A CHOPPING Mall. On this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, a look at this Jim Wynorski feature, Chopping Mall.

Wynorski (The Return of Swamp Thing / Hard to Die / Big Bad Mama II) is known as a highly prolific genre director. He directed 7 features from the mid eighties to the decade’s end. And usually worked on a really low budget. This Corman production was no exception, filmed at the same mall as the one used for the excellent Arnold vehicle, Commando (which we podcasted on this very show).

And the plot could not be any more simple: a team of robotic security bots malfunction, causing them to run amok and destroy everything in their path. The “everything” in question includes a bunch of “teen” partiers, some of whom work in a furniture store, and therefore have access to lots of bedding. It also includes some mall staffers unlucky enough to be working overtime/after-hours.

Chopping Mall has a few things going for it, namely, the always gorgeous Barbara Crampton, a terrific score, and of course, cheesy killer robots. But there’s more to it than that. There are some winking cameos by Corman regulars (you’ll have to watch the film, and then listen to our show!), a dash of nudity (according to the DVD extras, Wynorski reported that ““Roger wanted some nudity in this picture.”) and of course, a couple of terrific kills.

With a shooting schedule of less than a month, the film, released as Killbots bombed (audiences thought it was a cutesy robot feature). However, it was given a new lease on life with its new slasher audience-friendly title, Chopping Mall.

Thanks for listening!



Really Awful Movies: Ep 190 – The Stepfather

The Stepfather is a unique horror / thriller, featuring an amazing performance by Terry O’Quinn.

On this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, a discussion of the long-lasting appeal of The Stepfather, how we came to have it cross our radar, and the phenomenon of depicting divorce and blended families on television in the 1980s.

The film, directed by Joseph Ruben (who most will know from his work behind the camera directing Sleeping with the Enemy and Money Train) is an understated, low-key flick with a few over-the-top moments of inanity. Still, there’s much going for it (solid performances and a killer score) and it inevitably spawned countless sequels.

In a suburban enclave in Washington State, we see button-up business man Henry Morrison (O’Quinn). He washes off blood in a bathroom, cleaning up the aftermath of a crime scene.

This is before changing his appearance (snipping off a ratty beard) and putting his belongings into a suitcase, and tossing them into Puget Sound.

After packing his things, Henry leaves through the front door of his house, nonchalantly passing the butchered remains of his family in the living room. One year later, Henry — now operating as an uber square real estate agent named Jerry Blake in the suburbs of Seattle — has married the widow Susan Maine. And Maine has a teen daughter, Stephanie.

The relationship between Steph (Jill Schoelen) and new dad Jerry is strained to say the least.