Face-Off: Chopping Mall Vs. Deadly Friend

There was little to no doubt that the proper winner was crowned in our last Face-Off. Indeed, Fright Night does seem to reign supreme as one of the best horror/comedy vampire films ever and bested Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie). Thankfully, readers were still kind enough to show some love toward the Buffster's underrated and fun first outing. Still, Peter Vincent would not be denied!

For today's Face-Off, we our serving up a big ol' slice of 80's horror cheese with a robotic twist (on account of CHAPPIE opening this Friday). And when I think of killer-robot-run-amock-so-bad-it's-kinda-good movies, the following two come to mind. So stay away from any wacky microprocessor chips and don't go trespassing at the mall at night. Instead, stay right here and dip your nachos in the forthcoming cheese that is Chopping Mall Vs. Deadly Friend!

A group of horny teens get locked in a mall overnight when a collection of security robots go all haywire on account of a bolt of lightning (cough Short Circuit) and start killing anyone that crosses their path. Scared and cornered, the teens decide to take action and strike back. They raid the mall for weapons and attempt to take down those bastard robots!
Paul, a young scientific genius, builds his very own robot named BB and also falls for Sam, the girl next door. When Sam suffers a fatal injury at the hands of her abusive father, Paul attempts to bring her back to life Dr. Frankenstein style! He inserts BB's special computer chip into her brain and actually reanimates her. However, Sam is not quite herself and things soon turn... deadly!
Well, this is extremely low budget horror filmmaking here, so you shouldn't expect high caliber acting. All of the guys come off as cocky meatheads, except for nerdy hero Tony O'Dell. The ladies fare a bit better with genre staples Kelli Maroney and Barbara Crampton delivering quality performances. Suzee Slater delivers as well, but in a different double-D kind of way ; )
Matthew Labyorteaux is actually quite good as Paul, torn between keeping his friend alive and the cost it bares. Kristy Swanson, yes Buffy in her first film, is cute and sweet as Sam when she's alive. She gets a little stiff once she becomes reanimated, but that was probably the idea. And Anne Ramsey is hilarious as the mean old lady who hates trespassers.
I have a feeling that many of the laughs in this flick that seem unintentional were in fact, intentional. Either way, you will definitely be laughing your ass off many a time (especially if you're drinking) as those teenage buffoons flee from and fight back against those silly, violent robots. The dialogue is ridiculous and actions taken are hilariously dumb, but the biggest laugh may be the result of a bot's laser shot to the head!
The funniest aspect of Deadly Friend has to be the robot BB, a totally 80's-looking collection of nuts and bolts. It doesn't speak English, rather a mumbling form of gibberish while occasionally inserting his name. It's hilarious, especially the rap-like song that plays over the closing credits that is really just him saying "BB" repeatedly, and you really have to hear it.
If you're looking for some brutally insane kills that really take you by surprise, you will enjoy Chopping Mall. Surprisingly, no one gets chopped, which doesn't make much sense (not sure why they didn't keep the flick's original title, Killbots). Anyways, the bots impale, shoot, and set fire to many a victim. And, of course, there's that famous head explosion.
Initially, Deadly Friend wasn't supposed to be that deadly. However, once the studio realized who Wes Craven was, they ordered some gory, Krueger-esque kills. The abusive father gets a fittingly harsh demise from a cracked neck and then burning in a furnace. Actually, there aren't too many kills, but the flick still earns points for the bizarre basketball-to-the-head demise of the old lady.
The motorized killing machines in C.Mall somewhat resemble rejects from a Star Wars or Robocop movie, however that isn't necessarily a bad thing. They swiftly roll all over the place, blasting laser beams from their eyes at anything that moves. They're nearly unstoppable and really seem to hate partying teens!
As I said before, BB is a hilarious 80's-looking robot. He's strong, loyal, and protective... perhaps a tad over-protective. And he's got one hell of a digital temper. When a biker dude threatens his owner, he's quick to shoot out his mechanical hand and crush the douche's balls. Plus, his gibberish-spouting vocals are done by the same guy who voiced Roger Rabbit!
Chopping Mall
Now that was a freakin close race! I suppose that is what you get when two gloriously cheesy horror bot movies battle it out! When the sparks all cleared, Chopping Mall was the one standing atop the trash heap. Does this result compute with you? Or was Deadly Friend unfairly denied? I urge you to fire them BB Bullets below! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at [email protected]



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