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Black Friday: Top 5 Movies Set in Malls

Congratulations! You survived your families, football and food yesterday. Now you get to experience the great American tradition of racking your brain to remember if your 2nd cousin like The Hobbit or Harry Potter more as you stand in line to by him a deeeply discounted box set at your local mall or mega-store.  Whether you’re reading this while in line to return the outrageously cheap 3D LCD TV your wife punched a baby to grab a few hours ago or sitting at home waiting to pounce on a gold deal on, malls in a post-holiday funk are sadder than the Joker thinking about someone else killing Batman. In honor of the slog to the mall, here are the top 5 movies that take place in a mall.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Kids in the ’80s sure liked hanging out in malls. Really, who wouldn’t? While, yes, a good portion of the action takes place at the eponymous Ridgemont High, the local mall is the touchstone where all the various ne’er-do-wells and rarely-do-wells eat, work and shop. Now, when going to the mall, you have to ask yourself one question: Are you a Hamilton, a Damone or a Spicoli? There is a definitive answer here, and your life will forever be changed. Oh, also, “No shirt, no shoes, no dice.”

Eight Legged Freaks – Malls may well be the best place to hole up during any kind of monster invasion. Apparently, they’re like the Alamo for horror movies. While the mall might be better associated with other monsters (which we’ll get to momentarily), it is also a perfect place to try to ward off genetically-enhanced, ginormous arachnids. We can’t think of anything worse than having massive spiders and David Arquette to deal with, but at least we’d also get to hang out with MTV’s Kari Wuhrer and a young Scarlett Johansson. That nearly makes up for all the horrific, disgusting death, right?

Observe and Report – Mall security guards might be the lowest rung of the law enforcement ladder. Really, they’re more rule enforcers. Really, they’re more rule reminders. They can’t do a whole lot. There might be nothing more terrifying, though, than a mall security guard who decides he’s gonna take down all the crime in his vicinity. Seth Rogen plays the lead character with a mix of Travis Bickle and Paul Blart. He thinks he’s helping, but he’s really just making things worse. Kind of like malls as an entity in general.

Mallrats – Rarely has a mall seen so much action, what with a TV game show, an attack on the Easter Bunny and the most intense Magic Eye-starer in history all contained within one shopping establishment. What better place to drown your romantic sorrows and argue about Superman’s bedroom activities? Brody and T.S. sure are good at frittering away an afternoon, but unlike the proprietor of Fashionable Male, we salute people with no shopping agenda. We’ve seen this movie a lot of times, could ya tell?

Dawn of the Dead – Malls have everything someone who is trying not to get eaten by zombies could want, like an entire grocery store, a gun retailer and a skating rink. Oh, the ’70s. Once you’ve blocked all of the building’s doors and killed all the undead inside, you could pretty much live there until you go insane or get invaded by a biker gang. It’s all pretty implausible, but after seeing George A. Romero’s classic, and later the quite-good remake by Zack Snyder, we can’t go into a mall without making a mental tally of all the exits, the types of stores and the ease of rampages. We like to think ahead.

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  1. Dan Casey says:

    @Kevin, I’m with you on Night of the Comet. Good call.

  2. Prof59 says:

    Scenes From a Mall? Seems too obvious to miss.

  3. Kevin says:


  4. RG says:

    Observe & Report.

  5. Mike Bailey says:

    Um, Paul Blart, Mallcop?

  6. Joelle says:

    Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

  7. Iastagehand says:

    Honourable mention to the mall car chase scene in The Blues Brothers