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Crossroads Mall

The Crossroads Mall from Dawn of the Dead.

Shopping malls are large public structures which houses individual market outlets of varying types and specialities including clothing stores, shoe/sunglass and other similar apparel outlets, music stores, video stores and sporting equipment outlets. Most malls also boast a food court which includes many notable restaurant and fast food chains and coffee shops.

A shopping mall served as the primary setting of George Romero's landmark 1978 zombie feature Dawn of the Dead. In the film, four civilians, Peter Washington, Roger, Stephen and his fianceé Francine Parker hole up inside of a shopping mall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in order to escape a zombie plague. The mall featured in the film was actually the Monroeville Mall, located at 200 Monroeville Mall, Route 22 in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Romero chose to film his movie in a mall due to a throwaway remark made by a colleague of his named Carnegie Mellon, who suggested that someone would be able to survive in the mall should an emergency ever occur. [1]

Romero used the setting to develop the subtext of the film, which was a statement against consumerism. In the film Francine Parker remarks about the zombies, "What are they doing? Why do they come here?", to which her lover Stephen replies, "Some kind of instinct. Memory, of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives."

In 1986, Jim Wynorski directed the comedy/horror film Chopping Mall, which included the fictional setting of the Park Plaza Mall. The mall was notable for its state-of-the-art security system, which included security shutters across all exits, and three high-tech security robots, programmed to disable and apprehend would-be thieves through the use of tranquilizer guns and tasers. Following the "science gone wrong" trope, the robots naturally go out of control and begin slaughtering a group of employees who decided to hold an after-hours sex party after the mall had closed. The footage of the Park Plaza Mall was shot at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, located at 15301 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California. The exterior shots of the mall were taken from the Beverly Center, located at 8500 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. [2]

The Prosperity Mall, was one of the main settings featured in the 2002 horror/comedy Eight Legged Freaks. The Prosperity Mall is where the citizens of Prosperity, Arizona made their final stand against a horde of giant spiders. Sheriff Samantha Parker made an emergency broadcast, telling people to convene at the mall because she felt that its concrete floors and steel doors would afford them reliable protection. As the group barricaded the entrance to the mall, Chris McCormick and Harlan Griffith went to the roof to use an antenna to get a signal so they could send out an S.O.S. call. One of the larger spiders tore open a hole through the front of the mall, allowing the smaller spiders egress. Many people died, but Mayor Wade managed to find an area that could be uncovered that led down into the McCormick Mines. The rest of the survivors fled down into the mines as the spiders tore apart the mall. Mayor Wade resurfaced just in time to see the entire mall collapse to the ground. He hoped that his insurance would cover the damage. [3]

A shopping mall was also the principal setting of the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, directed by Zack Snyder. The fictional Crossroads Mall, located in the state of Wisconsin, served as a temporary sanctuary for another group of zombie holocaust survivors. The actual structure used for the film was the Thornhill Square Shopping Center located at 300 John Street in Thornhill, Toronto, Ontario, Canada until it was partially demolished to make way for office complexes. Most of the set pieces and store fronts seen in the movie however are unique to the film and were not part of the original shopping center. Although the actual Thornhill mall was partially razed, it was not in fact the site of a zombie infestation as the movie suggests. [4][5]

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