Watch these soothing tours of barely-open malls

Dan Bell proves he's the Ken Burns of suburban decay with his beautifully shot and narrated Dead Mall Series.

The Rehoboth Mall episode above is especially interesting because he interviews one of two remaining tenants, husband and wife tailors working on the periphery of the abandoned food court. Dan's eye for detail and music choices are sublime. It's the sort of footage that historians will cite decades hence, it's that good.

Thanks to Bryan Menegus, I just spent four hours watching these videos. They make great background music. Below: Oak Hollow Mall in High Point, North Carolina.

Dead Mall Series (YouTube / Dan Bell) via

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  1. That was not soothing at all. It was smug and condescending. Go to any mall in America before it opens in the morning and it will look dead. It's a pity the stores didn't look hip and edgy to Bell. I wonder what kind of stores would get his approval? And what on earth was going on with those models at the beginning?

  2. Wouldn't being the "Ken Burns of suburban decay" mean that most of his footage would be panning around still photographs while depressing letters from doomed people are being read over fiddle music?

  3. I can only assume there's some real estate tax advantage in letting your mall go to seed. Because I'd think if you can't fill your mall you'd lower your rent to make the mall more attractive to potential tenants. As long as you charged enough to recoup your HV/AC costs, isn't any extra money a gain?

  4. Mall culture is still alive and well in Canada. Every once in a while some earnest and trendy developer tries to make a near-unwalkable "town center" styled shopping area, completely forgetting that November through March is fucking cold and we would all rather be indoors anyway.

  5. I wish he didn't take such a hipster attitude towards these places.

    It was fascinating seeing what'd happened to my old hometown Forest Fair Mall in Cincinnati. The area he shows in front of the movie theater used to be an indoor amusement park, and the entire front of the theater was covered in strobing colored blocks. They had to remodel when multiple people had seizures.

    I wish I'd had a chance to get inside Columbus' dead Northland Mall, where I spent much of my teen years.

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