Thursday, December 8, 2011

Occupy The Body Shop! It's B-Movie Mall Madness!

"Can you play Tears for Fears?"

Even though I'm generally occupied with beer, string cheese and a stack of whatever bad movies had "apocalypse" in the description that day, I find the time to be aware of how shitty the current American economy is.  Pabst Blue Ribbon should never cost more than $8 for a six pack.  Anarchy!  Anyways, I may not have a T.V. box, but I do ride the bus which has been re-routed several times due to the current Occupy Seattle movement.

"ZOMG!  Sale at Mr. Rags you guys!"

I completely agree with the politics of the movement, but pooping in a bush and listening to bongo drums in the rain really isn't my deal, so to do our part here at TEC, in the spirit of taking down evil corporations and criticizing mass consumerism during the holiday season (unless you are consuming mass amounts of PBR and string cheese), I give you my list of the best of the worst horror movies involving mall murder and department store death!  Okay, so the criticism on consumerism here is pretty poorly conceived, we're not talking Dawn of the Dead metaphors, but it's basically the idea with just more boobs!  So break out your pepper spray and let's shop till we drop...our corporate bank accounts in favor of local credit unions!!!  Fuck yeah!


B-Movie Genre: Horror/Slasher
Criticism on Consumerism: Vapid, spoiled, rich sorority girls are mall murdered
Mall Madness/Department Store Death Score: 4 out of 10

Kelly Fairchild (metaphor!) is a wimpy emotional rich girl.  She is portrayed by actress/Druish Princess/Melrose Place resident Daphne Zuniga.  These are all parts of this film's plot.  I think.  Anyhow, Kelly has this weird fear of seeing people catch on fire due to this persistent nightmare she has been having since childhood of seeing a guy (who might be her birth father) on fire and possibly burn to death.  This dream is portrayed in a dream sequence shown several time throughout the film in order to helpfully remind us she is a crazy person.

Since Kelly is already socially stunted due to these crippling burning man night terrors, she decides to head off to college and pledge a sorority.  In case you don't know, sorority girls are bitches.  Or at least that's the general rule of movies involving sorority girls.  It might seem odd that a bunch of women that hate other women would choose to live in houses full of women, but you're going to have to remember that the key to great film fantasies like this is to suspend all disbelief.  I think.

Even when written in murder blood,
turn out Kelly is still not a menacing name.
Anywhos, so Kelly and her fellow pledges and soon-to-be sorority sisters at Delta Ro Kai have several discussions in over-sized t-shirts and underwear leading up to the ultimate unnecessary initiation dare that involves her breaking into a department store located in the local mall.  Omigod.  They are SO bad!  Good news, her dad owns the store so this the feasible worse thing that could happen, would be an extended grounding more than jail time.  Bad news, nothing equals a more permanent "grounding" than mall murder.  God, I love puns.  Also, turns out sometimes when you break into secure buildings, you can accidentally activate a lock down mechanism that prevents assumed criminals from leaving the premise.  Trapped in a mall, what's a thin, attractive girl to do!?!  Wait, you mean free ear piercings, Sbarro pizzas and Cinnabon's for me and all my friends?

"Omigod, Teresa, you spaz!  What did I say
about borrowing stuff from my room!"
Okay.  Maybe I don't know what attractive thin girls do at malls.  What I do know is that stolen mini skirt from Wet Seal isn't going to look that good on your totally dead body (death makes you gain like, ten pounds) since there is some killing killer person intentionally trapped in the mall too!  From this point on, Kelly's "friends" are slowly stalked and murdered by this "unknown" mall maniac culminating in a massive climax involving...STUFF!  Actually, I'm not too sure.  I started paying only half assed attention mid-way through the movie when she started some awkward romance with a professor's aide after being submitted to a sleep study psych ward.  Bored yet?  Me too.

 4.  NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984)

B-Movie Genre: Sci-fi/Horror/Comedy
Criticism on Consumerism: Southern California, the land of fake boobs, movie magic and asshole celebrities, is destroyed by a passing comet which turns the population into dust or slowly dying brain dead zombies.
Mall Madness/Department Store Death Score: 6 out of 10

Regina "Reggie" Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart) is a disillusioned twenty something whose life consists of working at a small movie theater, boning her mediocre boyfriend, dealing with her teenage little sister and maintaining the top score on the arcade game Tempest.  Everyone in the city is gearing up to watch the passing of a famed comet with the hopes of having something to do or being amazed by flashing lights or whatever.  Reggie remains uninterested.  The night of the comet (HEYO) she discovers that her Tempest score has been usurped by some dick fart with the initials, "DMK."  Feeling as though her life has obviously lost all of it's true meaning, she decides to have a "I just want to forget" fuck in the projection booth at work with her boyfriend.  Luckily for her, the steel lined walls protect these two horny kids from the unpredicted zombie radiation of the incoming passing comet.

"So, do you think ALF is like, cancelled now?"
After the fateful night the comet passes, everyone in SoCal has now become lifeless red dust or brain dead zombies.  Like, literally instead of like, metaphorically!  Reggie's BF is pretty much immediately murdered and eaten by an attacking zombie (see, mediocre), so she sets off to find her sister Sam (Kelly Maroney) who also spent the night in steel for some reason and has survived.  The rest of the film consists of the two of them fending off zombies, meeting a Mexican, Mary Woronov and shady scientist types.

Sam reflects on the untimely passing of her parents.
Most importantly and why this film is included, Reggie and Sam eventually find refuge inside a mall.  A sequence in which they dance around and try on different uns, slap bracelets and scrunchies while listening to Cyndi Lauper's feminist pop hit, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."  Cause when your friends and loved ones have been fried dead and the crying is done, oh girls, girls still want to have fun!  Will they be able to fight off the zombified mall staff?  Will the identity of DMK ever truly be revealed?  When are they ever gonna live their lives rai-ight?  Oh Daddy dear you know, the answer to all of those things is, like, obviously.         

3.  HIDE AND GO SHRIEK (1988) 

B-movie Genre: Horror/Slasher
Criticism on Consumerism: Misunderstood cross-dressing ex-con/crazy person and furniture store employee hunts down spoiled teenagers who break into the store to spend a night partying and boning.
Mall Madness/Department Store Death Score: 8 out of 10

Let's say it's 1988.  Leave out your past regrets, I'm just setting a scene.  You and your white attractive (this word was more loosely applied in the 80's so it's okay) friends want to celebrate your upcoming high school graduation.  What do you think?  Cabo?  Palm Beach?  Six Flags?  If you thought of any of these things, you are NOT concentrating on 1988 like I totally just TOLD you to DOGAWD!!!!  Anyway, why do something as gay as roller coasters or sandy beaches when you can break into your friend's dad's furniture store for a night and party?!?

"I call the bunk bed!"

That's right.  Endless beds and beer?  Um, yes!  You mean my best friend and I can lose our virginity in adjacent beds in the same room while our unattached friends stand by in awkward silence?  Awesome!  I hope we can give birth to our first children this way!  So as I just made clear, a group of wacky teens decide to do just that and break into one of their dad's furniture store to spend graduation night.  While some of them wrestle with their moral upbringings in deciding whether or not the stage is set and the lights are right to finally become a woman, the rest of them just fuck each other.

Dear LGBT community,
Love, TEC
Meanwhile, an ex-con/store employee/cross dressing/crazy person is secretly living in the store's basement after receiving consensual permission from the owner who feels sorry for the poor guy.  After he hears the ruckus created by the teens, lots of misunderstandings happen that lead to a fated game of hide and seek and a cross dressing murder spree!  By the way, I'm not suggesting being a cross dresser makes you crazy, but if you are a man that dresses in women's clothing (which is totally your business) and stalk the streets at night looking for prostitutes to murder mid-bone than you are probably crazy.  Moving on, one of the stand out parts about this film that helps it to earn an 8 out of 10 for department store deaths, is the fact that it includes one of the greatest decapitation shots in an elevator ever.  Also, it manages to ball every inappropriate old horror cliche/80's social stigma into one killer by making him a gay, cross-dressing, punk rock, murdering, ex-con with tattoos.  Bravo HIDE AND GO SHRIEK.  Bravo.           


B-Movie Genre: Horror/Comedy/Romance
Criticism on Consumerism: Local Mayor is bought off by corporate giant who burns down a young man's house when he refuses to sell in order to build a giant mall on the property.  Dicks.
Mall Madness Score: 9 out of 10

One time, in a year far far away, someone that was French wrote a novel called Phantom of the Opera or the French equivalent anyway.  It tells the romantic story of a disfigured composer who stalks a young opera singer and tries to woo her with murders and kidnapping.  Or is that the musical?  Or the movie?  Or, who cares?  Well anyways, PHANTOM OF THE MALL: (spoiler alert) ERIC'S REVENGE is similar in the way that he wears the half mask, is disfigured and get's creepy with a non-disfigured girl.  Eric (Derek Rydall) is a young and hunky house owner dating young and girl hunky Melody (Kari Whitman).  A corporate honcho has been pressuring him to sell his property so he can tear down Eric's house and build a gigantor mall.  Eric, knowing how hard it must be to find cheap housing in the Valley, refuses, thus setting in motion his path to disfigurement and phantoming.  The corporate big wig sends a thug out to Eric's place to set it on fire.  Unfortunately, Eric and Melody are inside at the time involved in romantic coitus.  As the fire envelopes the house, Eric risks his life to save Melody's, pushing her out of a window as the house falls on top of him.

"Nobody murders in my mall
I built on murder.  Nobody!"
Cut to a year or some more later - the corporate guy succeeds and the Midtown Mall is erected on Eric's previous property.  The whole city, even Mayor Karen Wilton (Morgan Fairchild) have come out to oversee the opening of the new mall.  Melody, still alive and unscarred, comes to the mall opening with her friend to look for a job.  If you're wondering why she hasn't been suing the fuck out of these people who obviously murdered her boyfriend, it will become obvious.  This character we are supposed to find sympathetic and meek is actually a heartless asshole.  This is not implied, but obvious to any normal person who has ever loved and lost someone to a murderous fire mid-coitus.  Just saying.

Pauly Shore works hard to pay off
all he owes for nugs, weezin and grindage.
So as the film progresses, we see a shadowy figure with a half mask climbing through air ducts, spying on Melody, petting pictures of her face and murdering the fuck out of anyone who harasses her.  This becomes obvious pretty quickly that it is Eric.  Technically, the title sort of gives it away.  Melody is eventually hired at a murder mystery themed mall restaurant.  Oh the obvious, trying too hard irony!  The corporate guy and his thugs soon recognize Melody and try to do her in during her day job.  Thankfully, poor, crazy, confused, and burn scarred Eric is there to save her every time.  We are eventually introduced to Peter (Rob Estes of Silk Stalkings), a young reporter who gets involved in the mystery of Eric's death and falls for, but mostly just wants to bone Melody.  We are also introduced to a young Pauly Shore who is named Buzz in the film and plays Melody's friend, a frozen yogurt shop employee who eventually shows us his butt.      

After several life saving situations, romantic notes, flowers and secret gifts, Melody finally puts together that the phantom might be, omigod...Eric?!?  To confirm this, she and new soon-to-be boyfriend Peter dig up his grave which is, WHAT?  EMPTY?!?!?  I don't think you can actually get away with this at a mortuary without anyone knowing, but I'm no death expert.  Following the grave disturbance (pun!), the thugs attack Melody again in which Eric finally whisks her away to the lovely mall catacombs where they are reunited.  He professes his love to her.  Melody on the other hand makes no mention of, "Oh my God, I'm so glad you weren't burned to death," or "Thanks for saving my life which has caused you to sacrifice your mental well being and physical appearance," or "Thanks for saving me all those other times," instead she just becomes grossed out and asks Eric if she can leave.  This rightfully pisses him off and he flips out, deciding to blow up the mall and all the assholes that tried to murder him within it.  Peter finally makes his way through the air ducts, finds Eric's lair and grabs Melody.  They run away and clear out the mall of all the innocent vapid people that don't deserve to be blown up.   

Mayor Karen decides to STICK around!
Ha! God, I'm funny.
Eric comes face to burned face with his murderers, including the, SHOCK, girl mayor.  All the bad guys and girls, besides assholes, Melody and Peter, who are now in love for some reason, escape the mall bomb Eric sets off.  Don't worry, no Pauly Shore butts were harmed in the bombing of this mall.  This movie gets 9 out of 10 for a Mall Madness score because the entire thing happens in a mall, plus actual legit 80's mall stores such as B. Dalton Books, Sam Goody and Miller's Outpost are shown.  Oh, the pointless memories!  It only comes shy of one point for making the lead characters (not including the mall phantom) some of the most unsympathetic dick weeds ever.  Long live Eric!          

1.  CHOPPING MALL (1986)

B-Movie Genre: Horror/Sci-Fi
Criticism on Cosumerism: State of the art robots placed in the local mall for security purposes go rogue and murder sex-having teenagers.
Mall Madness/Department Store Death Score: 10 out of 10!!!

For B-movie lovers, this is the most obvious go-to non-shocking pick for #1 mall-related horror films.  Though it was an easy choice, tt simply can't be topped.  CHOPPING MALL is the Holy Grail of all bad mall murder!  Starring Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet), Tony O'Dell (Head of the Class) and Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel reprising their roles from Eating Raoul!  Plus, killer robots!

Okay, so if you don't know, CHOPPING MALL tells the story of four teenage couples who decide to stay after hours in the furniture store some of them work at in the Park Plaza Mall for what else...a night of beds and beer!  Unfortunately for their as yet unlasered butts and unblown up heads, the mall has just installed a new (painfully 80's) state of the art security system involving futuristic robot guards (who laser butts and blow up heads)!

"You dickweed!  You totally messed up my hair!"
When a bumbling janitor spills water on the robots, they some how get rewired and go rogue, murdering the janitor with lasers and trapping the as yet unsuspecting couples inside the mall.  Once the couples figure out about the deadly robo-murdering going on, it's all out mayhem as half naked girls run from robots only to have their heads blown off!  Need I really say more?!?  Occupy the CHOPPING MALL and get me one of these killbots for Christmas!