Bryan Byrd | Earth | 05/01/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"C.H.U.D. is not that good of a movie.
Should I be surprised? Well, a movie that has been released twice on DVD in the past ten years (one of which with 'cult classic film series' plastered across a new slipcover) seems like it should have more going for it than what shows up on the screen. This may be one of those movies that owes its continuing popularity to the teenagers who snuck in the theaters during its initial release, and are keeping it alive as an offering to their youth, but I suspect that the real reason it's still around is that there are a lot of horror fans who like having a movie titled 'C.H.U.D.' in their collection.
I must be one of them, as I didn't hesitate to pick this up when I went shopping with a 25 dollar coupon at a local electronics store. It must have had something to do with the bright shiny packaging, but I'll get back to that later. Suffice it to say, though I never got to see it in the theaters, I was one of those teenagers when it was released, and the trailer must have left an indelible impression in my mind, cause I still remembered it, all these years later.
Anchor Bay has released this movie once again - with a dozen or so others - all sporting new slipcovers and a cult fiction stamp on the front that makes it look as though it's been approved by the USDA. I'm all for forgotten and obscure films getting their due, but I have to think the quality of this series is wildly disparate as not only is 'C.H.U.D.' included, but so is Werner Herzog's 'Fitzcarraldo'. I don't know what criteria Anchor Bay used to pick out these 'cult classics' - whether it was based on sales or some kind of fan voting - but I couldn't see anything in "C.H.U.D' to elevate it into *any* kind of classic status.
People are disappearing below the city's streets, and that catch-all 80's bogeyman, toxic waste and what it does to people, is ultimately to blame. With that brief synopsis to work with, I'd have thought that the producers could have made an entertaining B-movie, but perhaps they took themselves too seriously, as C.H.U.D. has none of those quirky plot elements required to launch a movie into 'cult' territory. The acting ranges from ok to serviceable to not good, with such notables as future 'Home Alone' alumni Daniel Stern and John Heard, 'Brazil's' Kim Griest, and a brief John Goodman cameo, none of whom turn in the requisite oddball performances I expect in my cult classics. And lastly, the movie is just silly, without any redeeming horrific special effects to juice it up. Instead, we get guys in rubber suits that look like guys in rubber suits.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh on a movie that shouldn't be judged by any other standard than it's own, but I think Anchor Bay tried to pull a fast one here. I've looked on their own website and compared the DVD information there with the case inside the slipcover, and I can't find anything different between the version released in 2001 (without the cover) and this one. Amazon lists the 2001 DVD version at 88 minutes, but I'm not sure if that isn't a mistake - maybe a carryover from the VHS version. As I said, on Anchor Bay's site, this movie is listed (without the slipcover) and they say it's 96 minutes - the exact same as what this newer, more expensive version says also. The extras remain the same too; a commentary with John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Director Douglas Cheek, and Writer Shepherd Abbot; production stills; theatrical trailer; and an Easter egg that shows the shower scene with Kim Griest's nude body double. Transfer information, widescreen info, audio - all the same except the price and the new slipcover. As if they thought slapping 'The Cult Classic Film Series' on the case might influence somebody to buy it...ahem...well, apparently it works, cause I did.
Anyway, Caveat Emptor - if you already own this in the last release, the only thing new you might be getting if you buy this version is the slipcover. Instead of a classic, I'd call it a two and a half star effort, rounded up for the commentary, which may be the best thing about the entire movie. If this *is* one of your cult favorites and you don't own it yet, check out the 2001 release, which is still available on Amazon for less.
C.H.U.D. a grat cult film......................
George Carabetsos | Chicago Ridge, IL USA | 03/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I always enjoy this film. But when I saw the knew Anchorbay cover, a must have. Looking at the cover brings back alot of memories. It's about time these cult classic are getting the respect they deserve. Thank you Anchorbay, a job well done."