1987 – Lightning Video – 77 minutes – Directed by Jim Wynorski.
We go to the mall this month and catch some carnage with killer robots. Roger Corman’s company Concorde put this one out. It starts with some jewel thieves getting caught in the act by some robots and the bad guys get wiped out. The 3 robots look like the one in Short Circuit mixed with a Cylon from the old Battlestar Galactica TV show. We find out that the opening is actually a promo film for the robots that is being shown to some people at a big meeting where the robots are introduced. They are being used in a local mall to do security after hours starting immediately. Paul Bartel and Mary Waranov show up here and Mary says the robots are the Three Stooges.
The next scene we meet the characters, some mall workers, one being Kelli Maroney. The other one is Barbra Crampton who was the girl in Re-Animator that was in the scene that gives the term “head” a whole new meaning. Both girls have some bad 80’s hair and so does their friend who is also with them but I can’t remember her name. They are planning on staying in the mall after hours for a party. Anyway, a huge thunder storm id brewing outside and the building gets hit and it shorts out the computer and messes up the robots. They kill some guy in a control room.
After some plot transpires the mall is closed down. The girls talk about it in a locker room (!) while getting cleaned up after work then they go to find the boys that invited them to party. Two normal guys and a nerd. All with bad 80’s hair, the nerd having a serious Clark Kent image problem going on. They all finally get together and bad dancing ensues. We’re talking utterly horrible Dance Fever/Soul Train drop-outs here. While the kids all party, the robots start their patrol. When we get back to the kids, they are already all split up and looking for places to get nookie.
Barbara Crampton hums a goofy song and strips to keep the plot going and her boyfriend gets all excited. They find a bed and jump in it. The nerd and Kelly Maroney sit in a TV department and watch bad sci-fi movies together and she gets all goofy and acts scared. Then there’s some plot that tries to get in the way of the story, but a few more nude scenes won’t let it happen. Then Barabara Crampton screams “You’re The King” a few times and laughs. Then we get to meet some janitors who are cleaning up. One is played by Dick Miller, one of my fave actors. He bitches about kids messing up the mall and a robot attacks him. I like Dick Miller a great deal. He calls the robot an SOB and says he should be scrap metal. Then he gets fried like a grilled cheese sandwich. More important to the plot sex scenes. One of the guys, the jock one, goes to a vending machine after a bit of fun with his girl (who also shows her acting talents to propel the plot) and also gets killed by a robot. His throat is slashed. His girlfriend like the box-of-rocks she is, goes to find him and the robots shoot Star Wars type lasers at her as she runs away. The other kids all hear her scream and run to the big windows and see the robot chase her and blow her head off. This is a great scene, one of the best head exploding scenes ever. The kids all panic now and run away into a store room.
The robots (all 3 of them) shoot through the glass and chase the kids, firing lasers at them. Lots of stuff blows up, and as you know, massive explosions are ALWAYS important to the plot in a movie like this one. The girls all climb up into the ceiling and through the air ducts like in “Demons.” Barabara Crampton says the robots wanna “French Fry” them. She freaks out and gets all emotive and screams that she needs out of the air ducts. The two guys run a different direction to try and draw the robots away from the girls. They find a gun store like in “Dawn Of The Dead” and the nerd takes the lead because he has seen “Dirty Harry” 21 times! There’s a big showdown and one robot is wasted. Lots more laser fire and stuff blowing up and Barbara and the other girls jump down out of the air duct.
The girls and the guys all have the same idea, to fight back against the robots. The guys try and make some bombs and the girls, in another part of the mall, are chased by the two robots. They find gas cans (with gas!) and Barabara gets shot by a laser. It hits the gas can and we get a cool fire stunt where the hall blows up and Barbara catches on fire and flops around, finally looking like a burnt Totinos PIzza. Now this is a great actress, when the plot slows down she always does stuff to keep it moving, first that strip and now playing with fire. Good job, Barbara, we love ya! Anyway, the guys rush to help the girls and soon they are all chased by the two robots. They trick them into an elevator and then cut the cable. The robots plunge to their doom, only they don’t die from it. Then we get some talking parts that don’t matter, then the robots show up again and we get more chases with lasers. One guy sacrifices himself and traps one robot, electrocuting it, thus shorting it out. I think starting the sprinklers would have the same effect, but that is not how it goes.
The last robot starts taking people out until only Kelly Maroney is left. he chases her all over. She breaks a glass spider case and the spiders climb all over her. I would have to wet myself at this point if I was her. Finally Kelly defeats the robot by showering it in paint and setting it on fire with a flare. Big explosions happen here, I’m talking fourth of July here. Big finale. get the ‘smores! The explosion wakes up the nerd and he and Kelly hook up and smile.
I really liked this one. It had some cool fire stuff, explosions, some gore and not a hell of a bunch of plot to bog down the story! I say rent it or buy it soon
4 / 5 / 7