“It has 126 store fronts, one major food court with 10 other food or coffee stands throughout the mall. We boast a ten screen movie theater, playing first-run films and we just celebrated the grand opening of a 16-lane bowling alley and arcade. Every Sunday and Monday night we play the major NFL game of the day on a giant projector screen in the food court, and of course let’s not forget the jewel of the entire mall- the small replica of the famous Eiffel Carousel that has been operating in this mall for the last thirty years,” Harrison said with obvious pride as he swept his right arm in front of the twinkling glow of hundreds of lights and the regimented parade of carousel ponies.
The group of seven Harrison was charged with escorting through the mall looked with appropriate appreciation at the whirling machine bedecked with pastel horses, pretty carriages, whimsically painted Parisian street scenes and half a dozen laughing riders. A few of the group snapped some photos, each from a different angle while two others began walking the perimeter of the ride, stopping every few feet to look at it from varying points of view.
Harrison stood at the front of the ride, casually chatting with the remainder of the group but he was holding his breath in anxious anticipation. Since the rise of online shopping and the decline of the economy, shopping malls had been hit hard. What once was a thriving hive of commerce, the pride of his father’s portfolio, New Bridge Shopping Mall was now barely limping along. Harrison shifted in his loafers and smiled at the head of the group. If he could convince this somber looking group to use New Bridge in their venture then his father might just be able to make this place profitable again.
“So, what do you think?” Harrison asked, hoping the confidence he was feigning didn’t sound as hollow to them as it did to his own ears. The group quieted, and in one movement looked to the leader of their outfit. Dressed in faded black jeans and a black t-shirt, Harrison couldn’t believe that this was the man that held his family’s finical security in his power. Putting his hand to his chin in a dramatic move of contemplation, the man looked around him, nodding slowly all the while before returning his attention to Harrison.
“I think it’s perfect. I’m very excited. This will be the perfect backdrop for what I have in mind,” he said with surprising enthusiasm.
One year later…
Harrison leaned back in the theater seat, almost giddy with anticipation. After enduring the obligatory Silence your cell phone message and the fifteen minutes of previews, Harrison leaned forward as the lights dropped and the film’s title spun onto the screen. And there it was- his mall (well, his father’s mall, but whatever) on the screen. Machine gunfire from the movie ripped through theater as hooligans stormed in through his food court. Shoppers (extras) were gunned down at every angle, blood was splattered on store fronts, pretzel carts and plastic food court food trays. The gore and senseless bloodshed went on for another 90 minutes until Harrison barely recognized his beloved mall. Then in the coup de grace, Harrison watched in horror as the hooligans approached the beautiful carousel and sprayed it with bullets. If my father ever sees this, he is going to kill me, Harrison thought as he pictured his very conservative father’s face should he ever bear witness to the bloody mess the film had turned New Bridge into. On the upside, the mall had received quite a bit of attention thanks to its role in the film, in fact business what up for the first time in two years.
Following the release of Shopping for Death the New Bridge Shopping Mall received quite a bit of attention. In fact, due to the film’s unexpected cult-like following, it became a kind of mecca for the horror/bloodbath film enthusiast and every Halloween, the mall put on a viewing of the film drawing huge crowds. Harrison’s father did see the film, and despite his initial shock of seeing his mall shot to pieces he became one of the film’s biggest fans (turning a huge profit has a tendency to do that).
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Putting off my To-Do list yet again, (whatever, it’s my life) I tagged along with Andy on a location scout for an upcoming feature he will be working on. While I haven’t read the entire script, I do know that it involves a cop that flips his ish and starts randomly killing people- including shoppers at a shopping mall. Securing an entire mall for a few days to shoot part of a movie is not easy, or cheap, but it pays to know someone- someone whose parents happen to own a mall. So a group of us, the director, art director, director of photography and a few others caravanned down to Lake Wales to check it out. Walking around, it was pretty neat to think about having the whole place to film (look at me talking like I have anything to do with it!). The mall had this wonderful carousel too, and I was dying to take a ride (for only 1 token!) but I restrained myself, not wanting to embarrass Andy as he was working. I couldn’t help wondering though, if the owners had any idea of what they were getting themselves and their mall into… guess they’ll find out.
Love & Squirrels.