I think for anybody that was a teenager in the 80s and 90s, the mall is a place that holds a certain kind of magic. The indoor malls started in the late 60s to mid 70s, but really bloomed in the 80s. Malls were like planets unto themselves. They were these fortresses built of Musiclands, JC Penneys, Waldenbooks, and arcades. Sustenance was found in the form of Hot Sams, Dairy Queens, and Orange Julius stands; not to mention what you’d find in the food court. Malls were self-contained islands filled with everything you needed to survive a Russian invasion(or zombie invasion.)
My mall was the Glenbrook Mall. It was where I went school clothes shopping with my mom, and tape and CD shopping with pals. There was the Apple Orchard for lunch, and Blondie’s Cookies for dessert. Musicland and National Record Mart was where I stopped for the latest cassette from my latest music obsession. You could sit in the food court and watch people ice skate for years, until they closed the rink and put up a giant carousel. There was the Glenbrook Cinemas as well, where I saw Silence of the Lambs three times.
I would also often imagine being in Romero’s Dawn of the Dead while at the Glenbrook Mall. Strolling on the second floor as my wife was shopping for bras at Victoria’s Secret, I’d look down to the first floor and imagine myself pushing a buddy in a wheelbarrow as we went from shop to shop finding supplies to take back to our secret hideout in the mall office. Hiding from the walking dead that lurked just outside the mall doors, we’d plot our escape in the chopper parked on the mall roof.
Watching Hauntlove’s excellent video for Xander Harris’ “Mall Walk” brought all those old feelings back. The cheesy shops, the mall pharmacy, the dead-eyed shoppers roaming the mall aisles like zombies looking for the best sales. Hauntlove captures beautifully the strange allure and intoxicating melancholy of those lonely mall walks. Harris’ excellent track traps inside of it the feeling of early 80s electronic pop, but with a hint of dread. Much like waiting for your wife to step out of Lane Bryant, only to say she needs 20 more minutes. Or maybe the zombie hordes have overtaken the Sears doors and are on their way to you.
Either way, finish that pretzel and enjoy Xander Harris’ “Mall Walk”, courtesy of the wonderful Hauntlove.
You should check out Hauntlove, aka Justin Miller’s work. It’s absolutely amazing. Go here and have a look.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/275620330″>Xander Harris – Villains of Romance</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/hauntlove”>Justin Miller</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>