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Awfully Good: C.H.U.D.

07.26.2017

John Heard may best be known as the dad from HOME ALONE, but I'll always remember him from this underrated movie…

 

C.H.U.D. (1984)

 

Director: Douglas Cheek
Stars: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry

The government dumps their toxic waste in to the New York City sewer, where it turns the homeless in to cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers.

That's quite a mouthful. If only there was an easier way to say it.

"Man, this is better than I remember" is not something I typically think when watching a movie for this column. However, that unfamiliar feeling was soon replaced with, "Man, this is different then I remember." New subplots were popping up. More things were explained. And the original ending, a forced teaser for a sequel, now takes place in the middle of the movie where it makes sense. A quick internet search showed that I wasn't crazy—the C.H.U.D. Blu Ray contains the "Integral Edition" of the movie, a director's cut that includes new footage and a new edit.

So suffice to say, if you haven't seen C.H.U.D. since the 1980s and plan on revisiting it, prepare to experience it for the first time again.


"Say what you want about cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers, dude. At least it's an ethos."

Changes notwithstanding, C.H.U.D. (not to be confused with the movie website of the same name) is a great forgotten gem of the decade. The schlocky creature feature is not your average B-movie, putting a blasphemous emphasis on things like characters and story before the title monsters. That's not to say it's all serious business. There's still an endearing goofiness to the C.H.U.D.s and some fun, gory kills for fans of the genre. If anything, it reminds me of 80s flicks like THE STUFF or STREET TRASH, but a little lighter on the overt satire.


After losing him twice, Mr. McAllister always kept a close eye on Kevin.

The film also has a great cast. The late John Heard gets to be both a hero and a sleazeball playing a smartass photographer who takes pictures of homeless people when he's not shooting nude spreads of his wife (HOMEWARD BOUND mom Kim Greist). It's easy to forget his range as an actor, but Heard gives a couple post-kill reactions here that are truly wondrous. However, it's his HOME ALONE costar Daniel Stern that steals the show. Stern's spastic performance as The Reverend is a blast to watch, with him constantly throwing things or telling government officials to "eat it." And to round things out, you even get a cameo by a young John Goodman and comedian Jay Thomas.


No one expected the Sticky Bandits prequel to crossover with the MCU when Marv accidentally stole Iron Man's leg.

C.H.U.D. may get a lot of stuff right, but there's still plenty of badness to enjoy. That includes a number of memorably cheesy scenes like Kim Greist taking a sensual shower that gets real bloody, real quick. Or my personal favorite: a goon is sent to intimidate Daniel Stern and ends up silently stealing his quarter at a pay phone and eating it, without ever saying a word. Sadly, the title characters are probably the worst part about the movie though. The C.H.U.D.s themselves have an unfortunate design, with a stuck-on derpy face and glowing eyes, that definitely instills more laughter than fear. (The first time I saw them awkwardly standing around together in the sewer I had to pause the movie I was laughing so hard.) Luckily, the creatures are barely in the film that's named after them, mostly unseen off camera and just popping in here and there for a quick shot. They're not even really involved for the film's climax or ending. It works in terms of suspense (and is a blessing for the FX department), but a little disappointing given the title and nature of the movie.


"Excuse me, do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?"

Now, if you really want to see something truly terrible and bizarre, check out the sequel C.H.U.D. II: BUD THE C.H.U.D., which involves a military experiment attempting to turn the C.H.U.D.s in to super soldiers gone awry.


Tarantino's long awaited sequel: KILL C.H.U.D.

Some funny bits of dialogue. BONUS: The best scene with NO LINES!

The best C.H.U.D. kills!

Kim Greist takes a memorable, but PG-13 shower.


Love a good acronym? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • A C.H.U.D. attacks someone
  • A manhole or sewer grate is opened
  • Someone says C.H.U.D. or what it stands for
  • Daniel Stern acts crazy

Double shot if:

  • The mom from HOMEWARD BOUND is naked

 

Thanks to Andrew and Riley for suggesting this week's movie!

 

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Extra Tidbit: Daniel Stern claims that he and Christopher Curry were so unhappy with the original script that they rewrote half of it during production.
Source: JoBlo.com

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