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YouTube HOF: Schlock Horror

[This week, we celebrate the upcoming debut of Piranha 3DD. Note: If you don’t see the videos, please try another browser. We put them in, we promise.]

Chopping Mall
Alex Pappademas: This clip compiles all the death scenes from director Jim Wynorski’s Chopping Mall, a 1986 film that apparently featured a whopping five death scenes — six, if you count the death of the primary antagonist, which is totally cheating, the way putting “Don’t soil yourself” on a to-do list in order to cross it off at the end of the day is cheating. Also, the primary antagonist is a robot, so it’s not, strictly speaking, a death. Chopping Mall‘s IMDb plot keywords include “Mall,” “Shopping Mall,” “Teen,” “Exploding Head,” “Female Nudity,” “Person on Fire,” “Blood,” “Violence,” “Murder,” “Throat Slitting,” “Sex,” “Electrocution,” “Killer Robot,” “Actor Shares First Name With Character,” and “Pet Store.” All the ingredients were there — I mean, dude, pet store! — and in the sense that anything you come to with low enough expectations is pretty much incapable of disappointing you [cut here for Criterion-reissue-DVD-slipcase blurb], Chopping Mall does not disappoint.

My favorite part of this movie is definitely the video-box art. My favorite part of this YouTube clip is the five parts where people are killed by a malfunctioning mall-security robot. It’s a fantastic robot. It looks like a $48 Tandy product and appears to have a top person-chasing speed of 8 mph, and there’s no way to stop it except (spoiler alert) by ramming it with a golf cart at approximately the same speed, which will cause it to self-destruct. Is it the greatest ’80s horror film co-starring Kelli Maroney ever filmed in the Sherman Oaks Galleria? No — that’s Night of the Comet. Night of the Comet is amazing. Honestly, you should probably just watch the first two deaths here — particularly the one that starts around 0:50, during which the actor playing the nerdy scientist really gives us a full-ride scholarship to Double-Take University — and then go watch Night of the Comet, whose IMDb plot keywords include “Consumerism,” “Kneed in the Groin,” and “Sunglasses.”

Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Rafe Bartholomew: I don’t know what is more embarrassing: That the only movie that made me weep openly in the theater was My Girl or that Killer Klowns From Outer Space has been responsible for some of my most vivid nightmares. These alien clowns have cocooned me up in cotton candy and then sucked the fluids out of me more times than I can count.

Mark Lisanti: “Don’t get me wrong, I loved Jaws, but I always felt having to keep it in the water was limiting.”
“Couldn’t agree more.”
“If only a shark had feet. Then it could get out of the water, run around on dry ground, and terrorize people more effectively.”
“I like where you’re going with this.”
“You know what’s kind of a like a shark?”
A killer whale?”
“Still has the water problem.”
“An alligator. It’s basically a shark with legs and armor.”
“I love it! Wait, it’s going to be a giant alligator, right?”

Lake Placid
Chris Ryan: This is a clip from Lake Placid, a very funny, mildly frightening movie about a giant, prehistoric, hungry crocodile living in Lake Placid and terrorizing the locals. It has a great cast, with Bill Pullman, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Platt, and a delightful Bridget Fonda (second-best Bridget Fonda performance outside of Jackie Brown) (seriously). There’s also a scene (spoiler) where a croc eats a whole cow. While Betty White watches.

Street Trash
Tess Lynch: The villain in Street Trash is an insidious form of grain alcohol called Viper that turns its victims into Gak. People ooze out of their shoes and morph into flushable slime while on the toilet, and a lot of passersby get splattered in the face by dead drunk gunk. Street Trash‘s premise wasn’t scary — hey, just stop drinking it! Go buy some Wild Turkey at Trader Joe’s, it’s the same thing, but only liquefies you on the inside, like booze is supposed to! — until I realized, in May of my freshman year of college, that we were all still drinking Popov vodka even after some of us had suffered Viper-like consequences (poor Bethany never got her diploma; she’s just a Jackson Pollock installation all over the walls of the Science Library now).

Deep Blue Sea
Dan Fierman: Best. Death. Ever.

Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace

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Andy Greenwald: Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace is a 2004 British comedy about a 1980s British hospital horror show dreamed up by a fake British Steven King, then buried for two decades because the powers that be found it “too radical” to air. The result is a tongue-in-cheek documentary that is itself a ludicrous tongue buried within a larger, sillier cheek. It’s also terrible, but only in the way that bad cuts, worse acting, and awe-inspiring mullets are meant to be terrible. If this all sounds meta in a way that would make even Dan Harmon go running to the Pax network, well, it’s meant to be. But it’s also deeply funny, born of the same Brit brains responsible for things like The Mighty Boosh and numerous Vampire Weekend videos. Tune in if you dare, but be prepared for, in Garth Merenghi’s words, “Nothing but blood, blood, blood. And bits of sick.”

Dead Alive

[Embedding disabled; watch it here.]
Dan Silver: Before he was following hairy-toed Hobbits through Middle Earth, Peter Jackson was chopping up zombies with lawnmowers and sliding his camera across blood-lined linoleum floors while tracking severed heads. This clip is hilarious, the gore is stomach-turning, and I’d argue that there’s more on-screen blood in the first 90 seconds than there is in the entire Friday the 13th series. And this from the guy who would go on to rule us all with just one ring (and let’s not forget Jackson’s murderous puppets from Meet the Feebles or his rapey Orson Welles from Heavenly Creatures ).