AUDIO REVIEW: CHOPPING MALL (1986) / COMPOSER: CHUCK CIRINO / LABEL: WAXWORK RECORDS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Chuck Cirino's score for the 1986 killer robot movie, Chopping Mall, is absolutely insistent. Cirino knows how to keep the tension ratcheted up, and as anyone who's ever seen the trashy mall-based film, it's pretty much none-stop for its entirety. The movie spends more time on character exposition for the three security robots than it does for any of the humans, and the score reflects that. It's very much electronic-based, and sounds exactly as one would expect a “technology gone awry” film to do.
The majority of the score is based around Cirino's main title theme, which is an intense piece, shot through with screaming electric guitar. It's stupendously demonstrative of '80s horror scores, but wonderful all the more for it.
The main theme is revisited in other tracks, giving the score a unifying piece to which it can return, and Cirino makes ample use of it. The recurring theme gets its best makeover in “Scary”, which is a minor-key take on his main theme, demonstrating just how effective slowing something down can be. The repetition of the main theme might be a turn-off for some, but it's done effectively, in a manner similar to what John Carpenter did on Assault On Precinct 13.
It slows down for “Burning Terror” but given that Cirino's beat is a steady, menacing plod underneath increasingly-faster piano and synth, he does an excellent job of inverting everything by placing an increasingly beat under slowed-down piano. “Fergie's Dead” is a synth-y bit of elegiac beauty that moves into a full-on dance beat, then revisits the main theme, all buoyed by big kettle drum hits.
The vinyl quality is excellently neon – available in pink or green – and the packaging striking. There's been a mixed reaction to We Buy Your Kids' artwork for the release, mostly from individuals upset that it features no killer robots whatsoever, but instead opting for a bloody shopping mall motif. Those selfsame individuals must also absolutely despise the film's original poster, which features a gauntleted glove holding a shopping bag with a severed head – something which We Buy You Kids' design does an excellent job of both referencing and continuing.
Chuck Cirino's score is a must-own for fans of '80s synth scores, and another feather in the cap of Waxwork Records.