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Chopping Mall | 50 B-Movies To See Before You Die

B-movies are the glue stuck in between all the other genres, oftentimes refusing to conform to any particular genre presets. Some but not all of the hallmarks of a B movie include scripts that read like they were written by a room full of eighth graders, poor visual effects, cringe inducing dialogue, low budget production design, and zany plot contrivances. You’re aware of the hallmarks, right? B-movies often reek of amateur flair. Thought you were about to watch a great white shark hunted in dramatic fashion like only Steven Spielberg can deliver? Nope, this is Sharknado.

Why do we love B-movies? I think B-movies are comforting. You know what you’re about to watch is bad. If you’re fortunate it may be so bad that it’s good. You’ll often scratch your head trying to work out the plot. Out of the many good films you’ve seen, I bet you can talk with more vigor about the worst ones you’ve seen. They’re unforgettable. There’s something comforting about that I think. Besides they’ve been around just as long as the movie industry.

Believe it or not, chances are there’s a B-movie for you. So I compiled a list of 50 B movies you must see before you die. No decade is off-limits. No rating is too taboo. For the next 49 weeks, I will introduce and recommend a B-movie for your viewing pleasure. Yes, these are exciting times indeed my fanatical friends. But before I go any further, what is a B movie exactly?

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The B movie was created during Hollywood’s eponymous Golden Age. Its purpose was to play right after the main film being marketed. During that era, the B movie was more like the opening act for the headlining motion picture, though it played after the credits rolled on the main movie.

The history of the B-movie stretches back to when the price of a single ticket granted you admittance to not one, but two movies. I’ll lament briefly and say I do wish that era of the double feature returned. I would sure pay to see the latest Christopher Nolan film, Tenant followed directly after by something like Hobo With A Shotgun. It would be the ultimate chaser.

Today’s B-movies might not play right after the credits end on a Marvel movie, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed. There are far too many B movies out there, so making this list was difficult. I’d like to say forget the list and watch all B movies, but that’s completely irrational. Unless you were to tape open your eyes, strap to a chair, and stream B-movies continuously for the next year or so. Rough math says that with over four thousand B-movies to watch, it would take you a full year to watch them all.  Don’t do that because it would be irresponsible. So let’s cram these fifty cheesy low budget movies down our collective pie hole until we get queasy.

Chopping Mall

Chopping Mall. This movie makes the list because it is one of the best examples of what a B movie can be. Set in a shopping mall, Chopping Mall fully embraces the B movie camp. But not just any shopping mall, this is Park Plaza. This mall is supposed to be the mall of the future. Before the death toll starts ticking we are introduced to this unique multitier shopping extravaganza. This mall even holds bikini contests. We soon find out that the stores within need to be protected and security guards won’t suffice. Nope, this mall full of ’90s merch needs to be protected by world-class automated death machines. You know just in case you didn’t feel safe in that parking garage.

Cue the mad scientists who have somehow acquired funding for these Robocop rejects. They present their pitch to the mall staff that couldn’t be any more ecstatic and stupid enough not to consider what sort of legal hula-hoops they’d need to jump through should one of these robot mall cops go rouge and decide to God forbid, kill somebody. The setup seems like a disaster waiting to unfold. Hell the movie is called Chopping Mall. Suffice to say it isn’t too far into the movie when those robots get to chopping up the main characters.

In fact, in typical ’80s B movie fashion things are going smooth as diarrhea before it hits the fan. But just how does it hit the fan, thought writers, Jim and Steve Mitchell. Eureka they must have thought because the solution is an errant lightning bolt. Yes, that’s all it takes to send the advanced AI haywire because we’re deep in B movie territory. Things get wild. And I mean that because Chopping Mall embraces its campiness making sure lots of T&A are on display. It is a cheap ploy but it works.

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If I had to distill the plot of Chopping Mall down to a simple explanation it would be as follows. Robot mall cops versus horny teens locked in a mall. That’s basically it. Thankfully Chopping Mall maximizes the low budget fare. Somehow Jim and Steve were even able to write in murder slogans for the robots, known as Protectors in the movie. Chopping Mall has just about everything you desire in a B movie.

Chopping Mall has scenes of actors hooking up, extreme violence, nudity, bad effects, horrible dialogue, plot contrivances, plot holes, and a lot of screams. It’s the sort of movie that you’d catch after midnight. It’s dripping with B movie cheese. In 1986 the B-movie Gods said, “let there be light and Chopping Mall”. And it was so. Directed by Jim Wynorski, Chopping Mall has become a cult classic since its release.

Be sure to see it before you die. It’s so good. You won’t regret it. If you do, I bet you’ll never forget it. Director Jim Wynorski learned how to cobble together a proper B-movie from master craftsmen Roger Corman. Corman was so prolific the guy managed to direct at least thirty-four movies during his tenor. The guy knows how to shoot and he can do it fast. That skill comes in handy when shooting low budget B-movies. In fact, Corman taught Wynorski everything he needed to know about filmmaking over a lunch the two shared right before the filming of Chopping Mall. Check back next week to find out which film makes the list at number 49.

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