Lionsgate’s first Vestron Video Collector’s Series release guarantees fans a very nice day indeed.
As we first reported last month Lionsgate has finally decided to dig into their monstrous, decades-spanning inventory of Vestron Video titles and start releasing certain films in newly remastered collector’s editions. Their inaugural title, Chopping Mall, hits shelves on 9/27, and after spending some time with a review copy I’m happy to say it should be a must-own release for fans of the film as it’s a definite upgrade from all previous versions.
A group of friends make plans to spend the night in a shopping mall knowing that it’ll be a ton a fun screwing around in the department store’s floor model beds. Unfortunately for them though they’ve chosen a mall that’s recently installed a brand new security force ‐ a trio of robots that patrol the mall’s levels armed with claws, lasers, and a strong work ethic. An electrical glitch turns the metallic guards into murderous mini-tanks, and now the teens are forced to fight for their young lives.
Jim Wynorski currently has over a hundred credits on IMDB as director of films ranging from The Lost Empire to A Doggone Christmas, but he’s probably best known for an abundance of low budget schlock overflowing with inexpensive effects and frequently exposed breasts. A lot of them are forgettable, but he’s delivered a few winners too including this terrifically entertaining little horror/sci-fi flick.
Part slasher, part home/mall invasion, this is a fun ’80s thriller that finds laughs on its way to the carnage, and once the bots start killing the action and bloodletting deliver plenty of fantastic beats. The teens do something rare for the genre in that they quickly make coordinated efforts to fight back with weapons and strategy ‐ because back in the ’80s you could buy guns in shopping malls ‐ and it makes for some exciting action sequences. It’s not an overly gory film, but we do get a pretty great exploding head scene, and that’s never a bad thing.
And don’t get me started on the the pairing of Barbara Crampton (From Beyond) and Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet).
Lionsgate’s gone all-in with their inaugural Collector’s Series release, and it bodes well for upcoming Vestron Video titles. The remastered video, from an original film source, looks sharp and clean throughout offering details you’ve never seen before and adding depth to . (This should be obvious, but the image above is not a screen grab.) There are a handful of exceptions to this beautiful new image as brief shots feature vertical smudges in the center of the screen ‐ it’s unclear if the marks were on the camera’s lens or if it’s due to irreparably damaged film, but they appear a few times. The greatly improved picture is paired with a hefty selection of special features old and new with the highlights being two new commentary tracks and an entertaining making-of featuring interviews with cast and crew.
- NEW commentary with director/co-writer Jim Wynorski, co-writer Steve Mitchell, and actor Kelli Maroney ‐ The trio offer an entertaining and enlightening track filled with anecdotes and reflections on the film’s popularity.
- NEW commentary with Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson and “film executive” Ryan Turek (previously of ShockTillYouDrop, Rue Morgue, and other sites) ‐ Both men are here first and foremost as fans of the film, but their extensive genre knowledge adds additional insight and context to their thoughts. Be aware though, their references and comments (laserdiscs! M.A.S.K.! USA’s Up all Night!) will make you nostalgic for the simple joys of the ’80s and early ‘90s.
- Commentary with Jim Wynorski and Steve Mitchell
- NEW Back to the Mall ‐ Interviews with the Victims and Makers [26:29] The cast and crew reflect on the film’s production from its birth as R.O.B.O.T. through its release with observations on casting, Wynorski’s on-set persona, the fun they all had fighting robots, and more.
- NEW Chopping Chopping Mall ‐ A Conversation with Editor Leslie Rosenthal [8:19]
- NEW Talkin’ About… the Killbots ‐ with Robot Creator Robert Short [12:11]
- NEW Scoring Chopping Mall ‐ An Conversation with Composer Chuck Cirino [11:04]
- NEW The Robot Speaks! ‐ Ten Questions with the Killbot [2:12] This is a goofy little featurette with a killbot being interviewed via onscreen text, vocal zooms, and a couple humorous bits.
- NEW The Lost Scene [3:01] Mitchell and Wynorski recall a scene they wrote for Paul and Mary involving a horse they were trying to sneak into the mall for obvious purposes. They’re not sure why they never shot it but assume it was due to knowing Roger Corman would never pay for the horse, trailer, and trainer for such a short scene. They share the written scene here.
- NEW An Army of One ‐ A Visit with Chopping Mall’s Biggest Fan: Carl Sampieri [6:01] He recalls watching the movie with friends after picking it from Blockbuster based solely on its cover art, shares his favorite scenes, and more. He’s also the proud owner of the only surviving robot from the film.
- Chopping Mall ‐ Creating the Killbots [15:41]
Chopping Mall [Blu-ray]
Related Topics: Home Video