Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge (1989)

Yes, this is a real thing that I didn't just create out of thin air.

Welcome to Horrorfest 2017! And, wow, I only got one voter over on Patreon. Not that I blame anyone, because we've had a large number of disasters lobbed at us one after another, so I don't think giving money to the dude who rambles about things is a major priority. My sole supporter got their way though, so groovy for them, yes? That's why we're going to talk about a very obscure horror film today. A horror film that stars...Pauly Shore.

"I'm here to haunt your nightmares, buhhhhhhhhhhddy."

Yes, as startling as it may be to consider, Shore was indeed one of the leads in a slasher film from the 1980s. In a lot of ways, he's actually the real hero of the film. Marinate on that for a hot minute. Pauly Shore, saving the day from a crazed killer. All while putting gelatin body parts in yogurt as a flirting technique. Sometimes this job is a true gift, I tell you. So, for those unaware, the 80s was a time when malls were still a big deal. They had this powerful appeal that drew people to them, not just physically but also mentally. Setting a slasher film in one isn't a hard sell. But a slasher film that's also sort of (but not really) a take on the Phantom of the Opera set in a mall? That's a weird concept. Not the weirdest take on the Phantom though.

That title probably either goes to Birdman here or Robert Englund's turn where he basically played Freddy again.

Basically what you need to know is that this is the story of how a young man named Eric dies horribly in a fire and then a mall is built over where his house was. Only he didn't die, which is something spoiled very early on because it's in the damn title. Now he lives under the mall wearing a mask made from a mannequin face, planning his revenge while also being a vigilante. Yeah, it's a weird thing to note that throughout the majority of the film our titular slasher is actually not doing anything to terrorize our leads. Instead he's taking out rapists and murderers with a crossbow, lasso, and kickboxing techniques.

All he needs now is his own show on the CW.

Of course he does make that turn eventually, but it's kind of done in a bad way. You see, the basic plot relies a lot on our lead, Melody, and her feelings of love towards Eric. She has regrets about him dying while saving her and they clearly were very in love, which she illustrates throughout the film. But then we have Peter, the young reporter who is into her. Now, first of all, I'm fairly certain that Melody is supposed to be underage. Peter, who is a reporter, is not. Ewwwww. Second, dude has like no personality at all. Maybe they hired Shore just to make up for the lack of personality? Anyway, Eric reveals himself to Melody and her response to him is essentially "sorry you got horribly burned but I'm suddenly hot for this guy I've known for 2 days".

She just really had to burn him again, didn't she?

It feels a bit jarring is what I'm saying and it leaves me disliking our lead because she feels shallow. Instead of telling Eric she loves him, comforting him, and encouraging him to return to the world she rather abruptly rejects his affection after mooning over him through the whole film. Why? Probably because he disfigured now, so yeah, she seems like a shallow bitch. I don't usually put down female characters but wow, this felt especially shitty and bitch is the only word I can think of. Alright, well, some others words come to mind but I try not to be too awful. Eric takes it about as well as you'd expect: he plans to blow up the mall. Which leads me to our real hero. Not Melody or Peter, no. There is only one person who can save the day.

"I'm gonna drive this straight up a tree because I'm a squirrel looking for some grindage."

Yes, Pauly Shore really does save the day here. He's the one who keeps coming up with ideas, he evacuates the mall after the bomb is set, and he saves his friends on a motorcycle that he drives out of an exploding mall. No joke, these are things that happen. He even gets the girl. Not Melody but rather he gets with her best friend who he flirts with throughout the film. If this movie accomplished anything, it's that it made me see that Shore actually can be one of the best actors in something and can even be the most likable character. Now i didn't talk about our actual villains but there's not much to say. They're all greedy assholes who burned Eric's place for cliche villain goals. They're as stock as they come. And they all die at Eric's hands, so there you go.

Surprise, Morgan Fairchild played a villain. In other news, Steven Seagal likes to eat a lot.

I was also going to talk about how bloodless this movie was...but then I realized I'd watched a really bad cut of it where all of the gore had been cut out. So, a second viewing later and there we go, much better. Nothing special, but much better. Ultimately, while the movie isn't really anything special when compared to other slasher films, it's worth watching just so you can say to people "I saw a slasher movie where Pauly Shore saved the day" so you can see them look back at you with confusion. And in a marathon of his films, it'll probably be his least annoying performance. Make of that what you will. Later days, bleeders.

Oh yeah, Ken Foree was in here too. Not sure why, but he was there.