Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989, Richard Friedman)

When Shudder revealed they were adding Phantom of the Mall to their July lineup, I had to check it out. It’s a late 1980s slasher movie take on the classic old school tale, and this one has a bizarre charm to it that works in it’s favor and makes it better than most 1980s slasher movies. What helps is that Derek Rydall is perfect in the title role, although I’m not sure why they needed to include Eric’s Revenge in the title. I think we can figure that out after he starts killing people.

Kari Whitman also stars as Melody, Eric’s former love, who Eric continues to pine for in-between kung fu workouts and horribly killing people at the mall he’s hiding out in. Pauly Shore appears in this movie too and he’s actually the amusing comic relief and the helpful friend all at the same time. Rob Estes and Morgan Fairchild round out the other major players, so this movie actually has a fairly reliable cast which helps.

Is most of this movie’s appeal Eric getting his revenge? Sure thing. Does all of the material work? No, yet it oddly works all the same anyways. The finale is also exciting too, and Jonathan Goldsmith adds plenty of sleeze too as the mall owner with his own dastardly secrets. Ken Foree even pops up in this movie briefly as a security guard, which is nice. I’ll gladly champion Richard Friedman’s effort as one of the better 1980s slasher movies, and as one that helped close out the decade as that sub-genre was in decline.

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