Wednesday, March 17, 2010
C.H.U.D. was released in 1984 and stars, then young and up and coming, John Heard, Daniel Stern, and Kim Greist. The film is based on the premise of mutated cannibalistic human drifters living under the streets of New York City who come out to grab people to feed on.
Although this is a much more fictional tale, rumors have persisted for years of subterranean colonies of homeless people living in the sewer and subway systems of NYC. Many disappearance's are attributed to them each year, though nothing has been substantiated. This film , however, follows police captain Bosch who is interested by a rash of recent missing persons reports that mostly stem from a single neighborhood which just happens to be where he lives. Since most of the missing are homeless, Bosch travels to a local soup kitchen helmed by a man with whom he has a past named A.J. or The Reverend. A.J. voices his concerns as well, especially for his "customers" that live underground. They have not been around for 2 weeks and he has started to worry. George Cooper, a photographer, has also taken an interest in the homeless as he had done an expose on some of the ones that have gone missing. All the while, they all suspect a governmemt cover-up dealing with toxic waste and the monsters people have reported seeing. Does it all tie together? Does C.H.U.D. actually stand for something else than what they are told?
I would rank this as one of my favorite 80's movies. Too many other horror films that dealt with toxic waste and monsters were done in such a schlocky way, ala Troma and their endless nuclear films. C.H.U.D., however, does something no other film of this sort did at the time, it took itself serious. I found that to be very refreshing as nuclear waste and it's effects on humans have been talked about since we droped the first atom bomb. I enjoyed the way they threw in the government cover up too because the way that the waste is disposed of and where has been fiercely debated for years. The acting here is top notch and it was hard for me to believe that John Heard went from playing characters like George Cooper to being in White Chicks. Daniel Stern was very beliveable as the government weary Reverend and it was cool to see him be heroic in a film. We also see a young John Goodman cameo as an NYC police officer and even though he is on screen all of 3-4 minutes, he gets to deliver the best comedic lines in the film. The effects were pretty good for the time but any fan now can tell the C.H.U.D. costumes are foam rubber. They had a good design and were effectively creepy looking although I could have done without the glowing yellow eyes. If you have never given C.H.U.D. a try, you should do so, I rank it an 8/10.