J.F.K. P.T.A. U.F.O.
C.H.U.D. is one of those movies that you always saw in the video store (remember those?) when you were younger, but were always too afraid to watch. I knew that CHUD stood for “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller” but beyond that, knew very little about the actual movie. Originally panned by critics, C.H.U.D. has gained a cult following, thanks in part to multiple references on shows such as The Simpsons, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Castle.
I was also unaware that many well-known actors appear in C.H.U.D. John Heard (Home Alone, The Sopranos), Daniel Stern (City Slickers, Whip It) and Kim Greist (Throw Mama From The Train). Even John Goodman makes a brief appearance. It's nice to see that actors in a B-movie are still getting work to this day.
Above: C.H.U.D. Nelson
We follow the story of police captain, a photographer, his model girlfriend and bum in the dirty, squalid, hell hole known as New York City in the early 80's. Strange disappearances and murders plague the local police force already strained by a rampant homelessness problem. A government conspiracy and mutated monsters are the cause and all four must band together to save the day.
All four actors work enough with the script to make their characters easy to relate to and sympathetic without overdoing it, and Daniel Stern stands out especially as the former criminal turned Reverend. Each character could easily be turned into an obnoxious stereotype, but in the end you're rooting for all four to survive.
C.H.U.D gives commentary on homeless and environmental safety in a casual way, so you don't really feel lectured while watching it, though it can get a bit heavy-handed at times. There is also a government coverup so big that it would make Lyndon LaRouche scream in fear, this movie is definitely smarter than meets the eye.
Above: Ashley C.H.U.D.
The only issue I do have with the movie is with the monster itself. Great detail was put into the design of the creatures head and claw-like hands. The sharp, animalistic teeth and light-up eyes are a nice touch and feature prominently when the monster is shown, almost to a fault. Close-ups of just the teeth, eyes, and hands for a majority of the movie remind me too much of Jaws; unlike Spielberg the cinematic chops aren't here to pull off compensating for mechanical issues or what was likely a lack of funds. Most disappointing, though, is when you finally do see a full-body shot, the creature looks like a guy in a wet potato sack. For so much detail spent on the head and arms, they really didn't try on the body.
I'm usually very wary of any remakes, especially when it comes to horror movies, but I think I'd like to see a modern take on C.H.U.D. I think updated effects and a proper advertising campaign could bring the original some much deserved attention. This movie is definitely worth your time to check out.