While shopping malls have been sadly declining in the last decade, they were once the pinnacle of American consumerism and culture. They were a place to shop, seek out entertainment, or just hang out with friends on a Friday night.
Reaching the height of their popularity in the 1980’s, one horror film sought to capture that popularity. Chopping Mall remains a cheesy but fun entry in 80’s horror, and today it celebrates its 35th anniversary. So in honor of today, we thought it would fitting to look at 35 fun facts about Chopping Mall!
1. The entire production started because producer Julie Corman (wife of Roger Corman) made a deal with Vestron Pictures to make a horror film set in a mall. So starting with the setting, they built the story from there.
2. Co-writer Steve Mitchell claimed that the story itself was written in 24 hours.
3. According to co-writer/director Jim Wynorski, he cast Kelli Maroney because he wanted to date her, and thought that casting her in the movie would be a chance for that to happen (which definitely could have been cause for scandal in the post Me Too era).
4. Initially, Dana Kimmell (Lone Wolf McQuade) was cast in that role but was replaced because, according to Jim Wynorski she, “didn’t want to do anything sexual” in the movie.
5. Before production began, there a press release came out claiming that the movie would star Linda Blair (The Exorcist) and NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon, however neither had anything to do with the movie.
6. The film was shot at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, a real mall in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles (which is still open today).
7. Film debut of Rodney Eastman, who would go on to play Joey in the 3rd and 4th Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
8. The very same mall was previously used as a shooting location for 1985’s Commando with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
9. The location was also used in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
10. Due to the low budget, they could only afford to shoot overnight when the mall was closed, as long as nothing was damaged, which was often reported by the head of security who didn’t like they were filming there. But the mall’s owner stood up for the production because he wanted them to film there.
11. The movie is oddly connected to a 1982 comedy film Eating Raoul, by featuring actors Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel playing their same characters from there.
12. At one point, Alison (Kelli Maroney) and Ferdy (Tony O’Dell) watch Attack of the Crab Monsters, which was another one of Roger Corman’s movies.
13. Kelli Maroney reportedly did a lot of her own stunts, most likely due to the low budget nature of the movie.
14. While technically funded by Roger Corman’s company, he wasn’t actually credit as a producer. His wife Julie Corman was the film’s main producer.
15. There were a total of 5 robots made. They were constructed out of a variety of items like wheelchair frames, pieces from conveyor belts, and plastic children’s toys for the arms.
16. Their design was inspired by the robot from the 1954 movie Gog.
17. Known for his incredibly low budget films, Roger Corman produced it for only $800,000.
18. The entire production lasted 22 days.
19. Mike references The Day the Earth stood still when the robot asks his name and he replies, “Klaatu Barada Nikto”.
20. During filming Jim Wynorski volunteered to do a stunt himself to demonstrate it was safe. He broke his rib in the process but didn’t tell anyone until after production ended.
21. Its working title during production was Robots.
22. The robots themselves were voiced by Jim Wynorski himself.
23. On the wall of the diner within the mall, you can spot a poster of campy 80’s classic Slumber Party Massacre, another Roger Corman film.
24. Angus Scrimm (famous for playing the Tall Man in the Phantasm series) pops up in a small role as Dr. Carrington. He was credited as “Lawrence Guy”.
25. When the movie was first released, it was titled Killbots, however it didn’t do well at the box office, so the title was changed to Chopping Mall, because producers thought people were associated “Killbots” with Transformers.
26. Many have pointed out that Chopping Mall has a similar plot to 1973’s Trapped (which sees a group of people stuck in a mall with attack dogs), however Jim Wynorksi claimed that he never saw that movie.
27. Some of composer Chuck Cirino’s score was reused a year later in Deathstalker II.
28. Upon its re-release with the new title, 15 minutes of footage were removed.
29. Initially there was talk of doing a sequel, but the poor box office returns prevented that from ever happening.
30. In a very odd choice, the movie’s poster features a severed hand with a shopping bag, suggesting this is a slasher movie with some sort of killer hacking limbs.
31. Despite not doing well at the box office, it did gain a cult following on VHS.
32. While IMDB does report that Chopping Mall had a “decent box office return”, there’s actually no financial figures available about its gross anywhere.
33. Back in 2011, Dry County Entertainment got the rights to the movie and had planned to do a supernatural remake of it, but nothing has ever come of it.
34. Despite being known as a low budget, cheesy horror movie, Chopping Mall has a higher critic score (50%) than audience score (38%) on Rotten Tomatoes.
35. Dick Miller’s famous line, “If I ever find the bastards who did this, they’re dead meat!” was incorporated into the name and intro of the YouTube channel Dead Meat.
Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? What’s your favorite Saw movie? Let us know in the comments!