Toxic waste dumped beneath New York City's streets mutates the local homeless population into Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, who then start noshing on unlucky pedestrians. When a cop, a photographer and a homeless advocate discover the secret, the government comes in to try and cover it up. Dirty, grungy, slimy low budget horror fun with a great cast incl. Daniel Stern and John Heard.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
More fun than a barrel of toxic waste
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 06/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When you think of the 1984 horror movie "C.H.U.D.," try and think of an old 1950s or 1960s atomic bomb crazed monster movie. The only difference is that they updated the concept to fit the late 1970s and early 1980's fear of nuclear waste. Most long time fans of horror-I'm talking about fans old enough to watch this junk on cable television around the same time MTV appeared on the scene-have seen this movie before. In some ways, it's a classic even though it isn't particularly gory or scary. I can't tell you how many people I have ran into in the intervening years who have mentioned this movie when a discussion turns to horror films. I always nod my head in understanding and then try to drop in a few titles that better represent the horror franchise. Still, "C.H.U.D." is a charming little film that every new aficionado of shriek cinema should see, and since good old Anchor Bay released it on DVD with a great picture transfer and several fun extras, there's simply no excuse not to watch this one in the near future. It's been years since I saw it, and I was greatly surprised at how much I had forgotten. It's always nice to revisit old friends, eh?Set in the gritty and grimy streets of New York City, "C.H.U.D." We soon learn something isn't quite right in the city that never picks up after itself. George Cooper (John Heard), a big shot photographer working on a new project concerning the homeless, starts hearing things about missing people. Intrigued, and worried considering some of the vanishing are people he has worked with recently, he decides to quietly start investigating the disappearances. Meanwhile, a city cop named Bosch, whose own wife vanished without a trace some time before, begins assembling reports on sudden disappearances. His superiors could care less since nearly all of these people are vagrants and similar forgettables. Captain Bosch perseveres, always remembering the grief and horror over his own personal tragedy. In order to get information, the good cop pays a visit to A.J. Shepard (Daniel Stern), affectionately known on the street as "The Reverend," a man who runs a soup kitchen to feed the poor. Shepard isn't happy about seeing Bosch, and only reluctantly agrees to help when the cop emphasizes he is truly sincere about solving the mystery. It isn't too long before Cooper, Shepard, and Bosch join forces to defeat an evil lurking under the streets of the city. What could possibly dwell in the sewers under New York City? Why, something called C.H.U.D., of course! When Cooper goes underground to check on one of his pals, he discovers that monsters have been preying on the homeless. These people are so scared they've started arming themselves in order to fend off the evil ones. The photographer takes a picture of one of the mutilated corpses he finds in the sewer, pictures that ultimately end up in the hands of Shepard and Bosch as they take their case to the chief of police, the mayor, and the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, a guy named Wilson. After an attempt to stonewall these three heroes fails (Shepard threatens to go to the newspapers), Wilson reluctantly reveals that the C.H.U.D. are something called cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers. Wilson claims a small amount of nuclear waste leaked into the sewers of New York and turned a few vagrants into ravenous, glowing eyed monsters with a fondness for human flesh. A mission to flush out the monsters with flamethrowers fails miserably, so it's up to our three heroes to do the job themselves. The C.H.U.D. aren't about to take any attempts to eradicate them lying down, and eventually move aboveground to wreak mayhem on the innocent residents of the city. More painful truths come out when Shepard and Cooper discover that Wilson lied about the toxic waste leak, a truth that is much worse and one that paints the bureaucrat in an extremely unfavorable light. Expect to see plenty of explosions, fires, and general carnage before the credits roll."C.H.U.D." is one of those fun movies you just can't help but chuckle over as you watch. The success of the film is mostly due to the cast, especially Daniel Stern as the frenetic A.J. Shepard. The Reverend is a cranky, anti-authoritarian type who just loves to cause trouble. His haircut, a cross between Mark Twain and Don King, adds to the general sense of ridiculousness. When he goes mano a mano with the evil Wilson, you know the common man will finally get his due. Of course, John Heard isn't a slouch either as the outraged George Cooper. Christopher Curry adds a bit of seriousness as the inquisitive Captain Bosch. Be sure and look for John Goodman and Jay Thomas as two cops unfortunate enough to have an encounter with a C.H.U.D. in a diner. The only disappointments in the movie are the lack of gore and the short screen time allotted to the creatures. More C.H.U.D. and fewer messages about the threat of bureaucratic conspiracy and nuclear waste disposal would have made for a better horror film.Once again, Anchor Bay turned out a great disc. There's a trailer, special effects stills, and an excellent commentary track from director Douglas Cheek, John Heard, Christopher Curry, and Daniel Stern. These guys have a lot of fun taking potshots at the movie and it's amusing to listen to them. Another plus is the amazing picture transfer and audio quality (crystal clear, folks). You just gotta love that cheesy '80s synth score! If you haven't seen "C.H.U.D.," get cracking. This movie definitely falls quite high on the "must see" list. It's not gory and not scary, but it is loads of fun."
They're not staying down there anymore!.
Puzzle box | Kuwait | 09/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"C.H.U.D. is a brilliant cult classic 80's horror film that I remember watching when I was a kid, I used to have this on vhs along with the awful sequel called C.H.U.D.2: Chud The Bud. What I've noticed about this dvd is that the film is completely uncut and seems to be much longer than the previous version which is great, there were a couple of gore scenes that were cut along with the bloody shower scene. Anchor Bay did a terrific job transferring this film and the picture quality was high, there wasn't any blurry images or maybe that was from my old vhs. Anyway the plot was about some bad government guys who are dumping toxic waste beneath the sewers in New York thus transforming homeless people into C.H.U.D.s (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) weird reptilian monsters with glowing eyes and taste for human flesh.
A soup chef played by Daniel Stern is concerned about his missing customers who are basically homeless people living on the streets, he decides to report this to the police and the police commissioner (Christopher Curry) who is also a friend of his investigates the case since there also seems to be a couple of mysterious deaths, along with a former fashion photographer (John Heard) their investigations all leads in the same direction.... the sewers!. They soon uncover a plot by the government to cover-up some of their dirty wok. Yes the premise was extremely cheesy but you gotta love it, it was a great cult classic horror flick with some nice and dark atmosphere and good locations and the acting from most of the cast was pretty good. The fx on the creatures does look abit outdated but they were great for the time and not to mention the film had a low budget.
Director Douglas Cheek balances some of the over the top cheesy monster fx and humor (The New York City Police Department has flamethrowers lol) with some serious scenes and there was an unnecessary subplot about George the photographer (John Heard) who is trying to support his pregnant model girlfriend which I thought dragged on a bit it was slightly boring, the movie would've done better without that scene. Anyway C.H.U.D. was great fun but the sequel sucked, it was more of a comedy and was completely unfunny so its better to avoid it and watch the first C.H.U.D. instead, oh yeah I almost forgot to mention that the monsters have the ability to stretch there necks to a long height without any explanation, yep it's a hoot!."
Best Movie With Daniel Stern You'll Ever See!
Stanley Runk | Camp North Pines | 02/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Admit it, you love C.H.U.D. Hell, every healthy red blooded American does. It's the story of toxic waste that's turning homeless folks who live underground into glowing eyed beasties that rise from the sewers.......AND KILL!!!! A fashion photographer, a paranoid hippie and a police captain all find out about this, as well as the government coverup. These three characters all have run ins with the creatures at various points. The police captain is trying to do what he can within his power, and the photographer(John Heard) and the paranoid hippie(Daniel Stern) take to the sewers and find out just what C.H.U.D really is. There's also a subplot involving Heard and his fashion model girlfriend. It doesn't seem terribly necessary, but it's a painless addition to the movie and develops Heard's character a bit more. This is one of those rare B monster movies that many critics actually liked. It's easy to see why because it's handled quite well. The acting, writing and directing are better than one would expect from this kind of film. Besides the concept of toxic waste monsters and a few other things, the movie doesn't really come across as campy or laughably bad(you know it has something going for it if my mother stayed up til 2am to watch it). The subject matter is treated with as much realism as possible, but a few chuckles do slip through when they creatures are onscreen. That's another thing, don't expect to see alot of the creatures. There's actually quite a bit of dialogue in this film and the actual creature carnage is kept to a minimum. The movie focuses a bit more on the investigation and coverup of the situation. There is one out of place scene with Heard's girlfriend that exists solely for more C.H.U.D screen time. This scene brings to mind the Hare Krishna zombie scene from Dawn of the Dead. It doesn't seem within the C.H.U.D's modus operandi to go exploring apartment complexes, but at least we get to find out that they can stretch their necks to absurd lengths. C.H.U.D. is definitely a classic. If you missed it as a kid, it's better late than never to catch it now, coz as you can probably guess, some pinheaded schmuck is remaking it."
DVD is a Director's Cut!
M. Nelson | Minneapolis, MN USA | 03/23/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For those of you, like me, who felt that the original version of C.H.U.D. was really lacking in many ways may find this unlabelled director's cut quite a welcome surprise. The changes include a few extra character development scenes, a different ending, and some original scenes that appear in a different order. These changes helped this pulpy gem stand a bit higher than its b-grade horror bretheren. Plus, the monster effects are very ambitious. All-in-all, a fun movie to watch with friends."
The Tweeder | Indianapolis, Indiana | 12/31/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Director: Douglas Cheek Cast: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist, Laure Mattos, Brenda Currin, Justin Hall, Michael O'Hare, Cordis Heard. Running Time: 88 minutes Rated R for language, violence, and gore.
One of the opening images in the supremely cliched "C.H.U.D" (which stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) is a full-on shot of a truck banner reading "Slow Moving Vehicle." That's the most valid image in the whole film. Under Manhattan, mysterious creatures terrorize the homeless who live in the sewers, and begin striking those who walk the streets as well. When one disappearance involves a precinct captain's wife, the captain starts investigating the situation by asking around a neighborhood soup kitchen. The captain, Bosch, is played by Christopher Curry, a here-and-gone Martin Mull lookalike whose casual handling of his wife's disappearance would come off as absurd if we hadn't previously gotten a load of what she looks like. While Curry is the main actor, two better-known names have key supporting roles, Daniel Stern as the grimy soup kitchen director (only the destitute would accept a meal from him) and John Heard as a photographer. Heard's character has little to do with the story, and the way he's brought in is lazy and forced. He has some photos of streetpeople, and one homeless woman calls him for bail. He takes a photo of a gored leg that shows something sinister is going on, though all I saw was bad make-up. Through most of the film, we see him blow off deadlines and interact unaffectionately with his live-in girlfriend, played by Kim Griest. Heard here is smug and charmless, wasting away as "C.H.U.D." decomposes before the very eyes of the audience.
Sewer creatures rising up in the big city is not a bad concept, but not only does the film fail to do anything with it, the audience get a lot of inert moments where people trade cliché-ridden dialogue and ridiculous characterization. There's a stonewalling government official played by George Martin who bulges his eyes and sneers at every question and gives us an obvious central villain since the budget is too cheap to show us much of the monsters. The creatures are meant to horrify but merely look like inept Halloween window displays, while the unbearable synthesized score sounds like a seven-year-old toying with a department-store display organ. The whole movie is like that, jumping from effect to effect, hitting us with little shock moments here and there, not tying anything in. This is not scary, just annoying. "C.H.U.D" gets mentioned as an askew satire, but just isn't in the same class as "Tremors" or "Return of the Living Dead," let alone an "Evil Dead film". To recite another cliché: You have been warned."