Black Friday! Even its name conjures visions of a horrifying battle for survival in the most hostile environment known to humanity - the overcrowded shopping mall. But it could be worse. Science fiction has given us several stories of death and destruction in malls. Just to console you as you battle crowds today, here's our rundown of the 10 deadliest fictional mall massacres of all time.
Secrets of the Shopping Mall.
In this young adult novel, two kids run away from home to escape a troubled home life and the King Kobra gang. They travel to find Paradise Park, which turns out to be a shopping mall, and then they don't have enough money to leave. But they soon discover that the mall's mannequins come to life at night. And the leader of the mannequins, Barbie, suspects the kids of being "mouth breathers," the mannequins' greatest enemies. If the kids are found guilty of mouth-breathing, they'll be executed! (Seems only fair.)
The Ultimate Mallworld.
Author S.P. Somtow collected all the stories he'd written for Asimov's Science Fiction about a planet-sized shopping mall into this collected edition. An alien race, the Selespridar, have locked the Earth and most of the solar system behind a force field because the rest of the galaxy doesnt want to associate with us. To keep us distracted, we have Mallworld, which includes deadly pursuits like "Human Pinball" and the Way Out Suicide Parlors, which include 300 different ways to die.
In this 1986 movie, a group of teens sneak into a mall after hours to have some fun "testing out" the beds. But the mall has installed new security robots, which go haywire and turn into "Killbots." Every time one of the robots kills someone, it says, "Thank you. Have a nice day." Best line of dialogue: "Let's send these fuckers a Rambo-gram." You can watch the entire thing here, but here's the film's most famous exploding-head scene:
Dawn of the Dead.
The last survivors of the relentless zombie assault hole up in the Monroeville mall, and it works out okay for a while... until a biker gang breaks into the mall intent on looting. And those fuckers let in a huge swarm of zombies, killing everything in their path. Fuckers. The 2004 remake, directed by Zack Snyder, keeps the idea of people barricaded inside a mall, but no biker gang.
In this early David Cronenberg classic, a mutant strain of rabies spreads like wildfire, turning people into deadly zombie-like maniacs. Rabid shoppers tear people limb from limb, and the mall's Santa Claus gets shot to death by a careless police officer. Here's the trailer:
Project: New Man.
The first issue of this short-lived superhero comic is called "Mall Massacre," and it's just what it sounds like. New Man has to fight a shopping-mall killer who uses a super high-tech weapon that "doesn't leave a lot to body bag." His last rampage left 17 dead and 12 injured. (Click cover to enlarge.) You can read the whole thing online here. There's also an issue of Marvel Comics Presents, featuring Wolverine, called "Mall Massacre," but I was unable to find out much about it other than the fact that it's part of the "Against A Rogue God" storyline.
In the classic series, the Nestene Consciousness can implant itself into anything made of plastic - including special shop window dummies. And these dummies come to life and start massacring people. But the new series, in its first episode, finally brought these deadly Auton dummies where they belonged - to a busy shoppping centre. Here are some great Auton moments from "Rose":
Screams From A Mall.
When The Simpsons' Bart and Lisa start writing for the "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoon, they come up with an instant classic. Okay, it's not technically science fiction. (Although Itchy and Scatchy have visited the Moon before, and Scratchy can apparently survive without his skin.)
Night Of The Comet.
Thanks to Amy Vernon for suggesting this one! A comet passes over the Earth, killing most people instantly. Only those who are shielded by metal survive, and anyone who was partially exposed turns into a killer zombie. So our valley girl protagonists handle the desolation the only sensible way - by going to the mall! Ohmygod! Unfortunately, their mall jaunt turns into a shootout, and then they're taken prisoner by psycho stock boys:
You're a photojournalist, trapped inside a zombie-filled mall, in this awesome video game. Anything you can lay your hands on becomes a weapon, in your fight to survive and uncover the truth about the zombie plague.
Bonus: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
Okay, this one isn't really a massacre, but we had to throw it in there anyway. Bill and Ted bring a bunch of historical figures to a shopping mall, where they cause total insane havoc. Check out Joan of Arc's aerobics routine:
Additional reporting by Katharine Duckett.