Story: The Midwood Mall is about to take over the local shopping scene and owner Harv (Jonathan Goldsmith) couldn’t be happier, especially since he taken some special measures to make sure the mall is an instant success. He has forged some less than ethical deals with Mayor Karen Wilton (Morgan Fairchild), but those two aren’t the only ones in the mall with drama in their lives. Melody (Kari Whitman) continues to try to cope with the mysterious death of her boyfriend Eric (Derek Rydall), as well as some recent events at the mall that have been odd, to say the least. Unexplained, strange events seem to be happening all over the mall in fact, at a time that couldn’t be worse for those that are counting on it to be a smash success. Who or what is behind the weirdness at the mall and will things at Midwood be thrown off course by the mysterious events?
Entertainment Value: Just the title promises, this is indeed a movie that recreates Phantom of the Opera, but inside an 80s era mall. The story is about what you’d expect when it comes to the core premise, but there is some wackiness in the supporting threads that is fun to watch, not to mention the host of colorful characters in humorous performances. The horror elements are ineffective as far as scares, despite some solid gore in some scenes, but it adds camp and to me, the unintentional humor is what makes Phantom of the Mall an interesting picture. The bloodshed and light sleaze are a little out of place perhaps, given how tame and corny the rest of the movie is, but I certainly won’t complain about fun kill scenes or random nakedness. The 80s vibes are intense as well, between the dated mall setting and the cast, which sports some iconic talent from that decade. So it is also a fun time machine of sorts, with 80s visuals and lingo galore throughout. No pacing issues from my perspective, but the story can feel disjointed at times, though again, the narrative is not likely crucial to most viewers of this one. I don’t think Phantom of the Mall will ever rise to the peaks of some of its 80s horror peers, but it is a fun, cheese laden movie that offers solid genre entertainment.
I have to start by saying that this movie features Pauly Shore as an ice cream scooper, which is fun just on its own. But while I am glad Shore made the cut for this one, it is Morgan Fairchild that steals the show in Phantom of the Mall. I wish Fairchild was in every scene here, even if it makes no sense, as she is on and a blast to watch. She embraces the camp in the material and dials Mayor Wilton to the moon in some scenes, with so much attitude on showcase. This makes even basic interactions with most of the other characters a real sight to behold, as Fairchild nails her lines and has venom on her insults, not to mention impeccable timing with her banter. I love drama and dysfunction, so her toxic behavior and aggressive verbal barbs were immense fun for me to watch. As I said, I wish she was in every scene, as she entertains and then some in Phantom of the Mall. The cast also includes Ken Foree, Derek Rydall, Rob Estes, and Kari Whitman.
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