Friday, April 20, 2012

Double Feature Friday: Killer Robot Edition

Humans are terrified of robots, and it's no wonder why. After the Industrial Revolution, machines replaced a large portion of workers' jobs. Therefore, as technology advances further, humans fear that robots will annihilate our species. Right now, there's nothing to fear except Google Glasses, so kick back and enjoy some dystopian futuristic cinema.

Let's start with one of the best worst movies of all time: Chopping Mall (1986). You may recognize some of the notable names attached to the picture. Director Jim Wynorski has also helmed such illustrious works as Piranhaconda and The Bare Wench Project 3: Nymphs of Mystery Mountain. The King of Camp himself, Roger Corman, also produced the film. If that doesn't have you queuing up this movie already, well, it gets even better.

The plot is one everyone can get behind: a group of horny teens wants to hang out at the mall after hours. What could be so bad about that? Well, they might knock over displays or have premarital sex on the display linens, and that is simply unacceptable. Enter the robots.

Chopping Mall

These robots are designed to act as mall security, but when their commanding computer goes haywire, they lock down the mall and must destroy the intruders. Perhaps I've been shopping in the wrong places, but I've never seen a mall incident that justified deadly force. These robots mean business, but they never lose their manners; after every murder, they declare, "Thank you. Have a nice day!"

Needless to say, trashy camp abounds in the movie. The highlight, though, is one of my favorite movie quotes of all time. The character Linda declares, with all seriousness, "I guess I'm just not used to running around a shopping mall in the middle of the night being chased by killer robots." I encourage you to pause and reflect on that. Killer robots made a teenage girl less horny. Talk about accidental realism! For its low budget charms and ridiculous so-bad-it's-amazing quality, Chopping Mall simply kills the murder robot competition.

So after that ridiculousness, you may become complacent with robots. You might even think that they're cute and cuddly like Wall-E. Think again, buster. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, James Cameron) proves that robots will eventually try to destroy humanity. What's scarier than a robot trying to destroy humanity? Simple: a robot going back in time to destroy humanity. Not only are they killing us, but they've also mastered the space-time continuum. Now, you may ask why I recommend the sequel instead of the original. Here's one great reason:

T-1000 in Terminator 2

Not only are the graphics simply better, but T-1000 (Robert Sean Patrick) is a much more formidable opponent than the original Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). T-1000 is mortifying because his body can change shape at any time. Not only can push himself through prison bars and transform his arms into weapons, but he can also shapeshift into any human being. Think that's your mom? Think again! It's T-1000 about to murder you! Patrick has an uncanny ability to remove any humanity from his acting, leaving the viewer ice cold. Honestly, he's so good that when he played Agent Doggett on the X-Files, I was completely convinced that he was an evil uncover operative (and maybe a future cyborg visiting the past to kill Mulder).

But T2 goes beyond teaching you to fear robots -- it also offers up some great survival techniques. For starters, it's time to start working out! Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) goes from frumpy to grade A badass while locked in an asylum with no gym equipment; what's your excuse? Another survival tip: stash a ton of weapons. Sure, they might not work on liquid robots, but they don't hurt to have. And finally, learn how to drive!

Now that you've had your robot defense training, I hope you're prepared for the inevitable robot uprising in our not-so-distant future. Don't say that I didn't warn you.

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