There is a monster within all of us and its name is C.H.U.D.! Released in late 1984, the horror flick C.H.U.D. was truly one of a kind and that was a very good thing as it turned out. For a pretty bad movie, C.H.U.D. had a bit going for it-a very good cast, a decent idea and a place in infamy as the term C.H.U.D. has hilariously lived on for years. C.H.U.D. has been referenced to this day in everything from TV shows such as The Simpsons, Archer, Workaholics, Castle and Robot Chicken and other films such as Clerks II. Plus, I always say the word and this blog is named after both C.H.U.D. and my late beagle who looked like a C.H.U.D. when she would wrinkle her nose and show her teeth if she was angry!
The genius of C.H.U.D. is that it is C.H.U.D. I think that sums things up fairly well. C.H.U.D. is an acronym for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. That fact alone should win you some points on trivia night at your local bar. Impress your friends-you know you want to!
In any case, the film opens with a woman walking her dog and she passes a manhole which opens beneath her. Something pulls her in, and also grabs the dog. Eventually, we learn there are a series of missing persons reports being filed at the precinct of a Captain Bosch played by Christopher Curry who really tries hard here. Bosch is friendly with a fella named A.J. “The Reverend” Sheppard who runs a soup kitchen above an underground homeless shelter (isn’t that nice that we can keep those smelly, insane people underground?) and has evidence that there is some sort of government coverup going on and that the missing homeless people he knows of are tied into it. Sheppard is played Daniel Stern of Home Alone fame! How that happened, who knows?
Would you also believe another star of C.H.U.D. is John Heard who was the Dad in the Home Alone movies? So, we have a serious C.H.U.D./Home Alone drinking game to start working on someday. Heard plays a photographer who comes across some strange things he doesn’t quite trust. His girlfriend is played by Kim Greist (of Brazil fame) who doesn’t get naked but is in her underwear at least.
Of course, there IS a coverup going on but we don’t know what it is. Bosch finds out his superiors are in on it and are being told what to do by a scumbag named Wilson played by George Martin whom I can assure you is NOT the famous Beatles producer. Wilson works for something blandly called the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. All this is just bullshit-but it does lead us to the C.H.U.D.s!
Ya see, Stern is worried that he sees hardly any of his usual homeless people except for one lunatic who Bosch tries to interview. The fine gentleman goes bonkers with a knife describing the sky falling and doing his best Charles Manson impression.
For some reason Heard is buddies with an elderly homeless woman he has done photos of (always a big market for photos of filthy, homeless elderly women) arrested for having a gun (turns out it was to protect her from them there C.H.U.D.s). He bails her out and goes underground to see her friend with a wound. Well, not so much a wound as a chomped-on leg. His suspicions will now arise further. Curry and Stern pal up and Stern shows him a Geiger counter still working. Hmmm…why would THAT device be there? For radioactivity? But why? Do we care? Not really. But, we DO find out what C.H.U.D.s are and why they are there.
C.H.U.D.s are actually former people now turned into flesh-eating creatures/zombies that feed on the homeless who live in the underground. Due to a drop in the underground population, the C.H.U.D.s have started coming to the surface through sewer manholes in order to snack and get their groove on. Makes sense. One hilarious scene has a little girl with her grandfather at a phone booth. As the guy babbles on about nothing on the phone, the girl watches a C.H.U.D. come up from the manhole and soon Grandpa is a Hungry Man dinner for the C.H.U.D. The phone dangles as the girl sits on the floor of the phone booth in shock with blood all around her. Awesome!
“I am C.H.U.D. and you NEVER call collect you cheap bastard!”.
Well, Curry is convinced something is going on and calls a meeting (going there with Stern) where Wilson ignores everything Curry has presented as evidence and of course the other men in the room join in despite the overwhelming facts. In frustration, Stern throws Wilson’s briefcase across the room and it spills open revealing a document with the heading…C.H.U.D.!!! It is explained that the toxic waste the government has secretly been dumping down there turned the homeless into C.H.U.D.s. Cool. After Stern and Curry leave Wilson has Stern followed by an evil guy in an Izod shirt! The horror!
In a scene of cinematic brilliance par excellance, Stern puts in a dime (or quarter-I forget) to make a phone call to the police, but the goon takes out Stern’s change from the phone and eats it! That’ll stop him. What a bad-ass. Could he eat a cell phone in this day and age? I’d like to see him try. It’s amazing how public phones played such a key role in C.H.U.D.
“I wear an Izod because I’m evil, and I can eat a dime and shit it out as a quarter”.
Anyway, in the sewers some of the government “scientists” are down there doing whatever but Curry has pissed off Wilson because he hired some dudes with flamethrowers just in case the C.H.U.D.s want some food. Doesn’t matter much because we lose video power as it’s obvious the C.H.U.D.s have gone to town on the morons.
What’s especially awesome is the scene much later on that is rather well-known where a C.H.U.D. gets into Heard’s apartment. He’s off with some wannabe reporter looking in the sewers for the old lady so his girlfriend (Greist) is…home alone (I had to say it)! She takes a shower yet there’s no nudity-a major flaw in any horror flick. The drain gets clogged and she unclogs it and gets covered in blood. After that mess she’s visited by a very angry C.H.U.D. with glowing eyes.
This C.H.U.D. also has the power to do a few Michael Jacksonesque moves with his head, even extending his neck like a fucked-up E.T.!
But that doesn’t impress Greist who has grabbed a samurai sword that just happens to be there and slices off the C.H.U.D. head and its green slime. This slaying also turns the glowing eyes off and it’s lights out for this C.H.U.D. I weep for the fallen C.H.U.D. as he was simply misunderstood.
Back in the sewers, Heard and a reporter played by J.C. Quinn are trying to gather evidence but Quinn gets yanked in by a C.H.U.D. down a pipe and Heard scrambles away.
Stern is also in the sewers trying to get out and accidentally walks into a C.H.U.D. orgy where they appear to be bathing in a pool of Shamrock Shakes or a batch of barf from the aftermath of a frat party.
“Toxic waste for everyone!”
Stern wisely runs away but drops the Geiger counter they’ve been using. Later, we see some cops eating at a diner of what seems to be pretty low quality. But little did they know that C.H.U.D.burgers were on the menu! And, in another “how the hell were they in this movie” sequence, the cops are played by both John Goodman and Jay Thomas (the latter of Cheers and Murphy Brown fame). Neither are in the film for long and will get maimed and eaten by the non-paying customers known as the C.H.U.D.s.
So, yeah the C.H.U.D.s kicked ass at the diner though we only see the aftermath aside from the C.H.U.D.s surrounding the diner and pressing their faces against the glass like a little kid. C.H.U.D.s really can be cute as the dickens. Note the blood all over the diner windows! Prior to the diner we see two drunks sleeping on a sidewalk and one runs when he sees a C.H.U.D. come up from the manhole. The other bum who is still asleep is the actual director Douglas Cheek so there’s some more C.H.U.D. trivia for ya. Bizarrely, this diner scene is the final scene in the TV version of the film which got edited to bits.
Here’s 2 awesome minutes of the carnage in C.H.U.D. dudes! The director is the guy on the left.
Outside the diner Curry and Wilson argue and we find out that the government likes two acronyms for C.H.U.D. with the other being Carbon (or Contamination) Hazardous Urban Disposal (in other words, toxic waste that we will dump in the sewers so the homeless can eat it and turn into C.H.U.D.s). Wilson plans to eradicate the C.H.U.D.s by opening up the gas lines and choking them sons-a-bitches. This of course is not a good idea for the people of New York or Stern and Heard who are still down there. Curry is sent away to cool down. He has a great line where he tells Wilson he is “nothing more than the government garbage man” which sounds much better when you actually hear that silly statement!
Curry and Wilson are now away from all the police with Curry telling Wilson his madness is over and Curry punches Wilson. Wilson has had trucks cover all the manholes so nobody and no C.H.U.D.s can escape which screws Stern and Heard. Curry tries to pry the manhole loose, but Wilson shoots Curry. Wilson then staggers to a truck and tries to run down the future of Home Alone, before they get out of the manhole, but they do get out just in time (I guess Curry loosened it just enough). Wilson then tries to run them over repeatedly and by this point Greist has escaped her apartment and somehow found exactly where her boyfriend (Heard) and Stern are. Stern finds Curry’s pistol seeing that he’d been shot and shoots Wilson ending his reign of terror and bad driving.
The truck then explodes after hitting the open manhole because that’s what happens in movies for no reason. At least the “government garbage man” is now toast (literally). Of course, we get a wounded Curry lying on the street wounded telling Stern, “nice shot” so he lives! Heard and Greist make out in joy although she may not be so happy when she finds out he was probably getting some radioactive poisoning in the sewer, but hey-he gets lucky and that’s all that matters. And so, C.H.U.D. comes to a thud.
Ya know, C.H.U.D. is pretty damn fun and I won’t be slamming it too much. The writing is pretty decent and there’s way too many good actors preventing it from being bad in that department. And, you’ve got C.H.U.D.s so that’s a major, major plus! C.H.U.D. moves along at a good pace even though you don’t see the monster/zombies until well into the film. I saw it in the theaters so I am a C.H.U.D. Bud (I made that up-I hope that’s not like being a Dead Head). Here’s my proof (it’s the oldest movie stub I have [wish I had those 70’s stubs-damn] and I always write down to this day who I went to see the film with)…
$4 for C.H.U.D. on a Saturday night??? What a deal! Such a shock I didn’t bring a girlfriend that night as C.H.U.D. surely would’ve gotten me some action. Or maybe an ex-girlfriend. I’ve seen terrible, unwatchable movies and my friends, C.H.U.D. is not one of them-it is worthy, and while it’s also kinda crappy it does have a certain C.H.U.D.-like charm to it!
1. C.H.U.D. cost $1.25 million and grossed $4.65 million of which $4 came from me.
2. C.H.U.D. won best fantasy film at the Brussels International Festival Of Fantasy Film in 1985 whatever the hell that is. I’m guessing there were no other candidates!
3. A shitty sequel C.H.U.D. II: Bud The C.H.U.D. came out in 1989 and was a zombie comedy with no laughs and was no relation to the original film in the least. It was a bomb and is regarded as one of the worst sequels ever, even though it is really just using the C.H.U.D. name as though that was some sort of box office draw!
1 1/2 beagles out of 4 for awfulness
Q: Should you see C.H.U.D. ?
A: Don’t waste my time with stupid questions-yes, you should see C.H.U.D. and not be a dud!