Sunday, 7 October 2012

Review - C.H.U.D. (1984 - Dir. Douglas Cheek)

This is one of those film where I can remember seeing the video cover in Creepy's Video Emporium but never rented it. Maybe it was because of the poorly named sequel, C.H.U.D. II - Bud the Chud. For whatever reason it has taken me 28 years to get round to watching it. Was it worth the wait?

George Cooper (John Heard - the dad from Home Alone) is a photographer investigating the mysterious disappearances of homeless people who live in the subways and sewers; nets may or may not have been involved. Captain Bosch (Christopher Curry - Home Alone 3) is a cop, with a vested interest in the case; his wife has gone missing. He is aided by 'The Reverend' (Daniel Stern - one of the burglears from Home Alone) who runs a soup kitchen and has his own suspicions. Something is lurking in the subways. Something with claws, large snappy teeth and glowy eyes (a little known fact is that Macauley Culkin, amazingly also from Home Alone, played all of the mutants). 

I would group C.H.U.D with some other films from that period: Alligator (1980), Q: The Winged Serpent (1982) and Mutant (1984), obviously made on a low budget, but fun nonetheless. It is played relatively seriously - which always helps - by some half decent actors. There is also a 'blink for a minute or so and you'll miss it' appearance by John Goodman as a cop.

It's not the goriest of films but one scene has quite a few corpses littered over the floor and a pretty effective severed head. The monster is a bloke in a costume and looks fairly rubbery. Thankfully, it is not seen that often. One effective moment is a precursor to the head-cam scenes in Aliens. A team of cops enter the subway, followed by a cameraman. The live footage is watched by Bosch from a safe distance. You can probably guess what happens, but at the time it would have been pretty nifty, nifty enough for Jim Cameron to give his beardy little chin a stroke.

The main problem I have with C.H.U.D. is the ending. There is some quality scientifically inaccurate gas that doesn't explode when near a naked flame, a burning truck perhaps (for more non-flammable flammable gas watch The Cave). The mutants seem to get a tad forgotten in the ending too. Maybe this all paved the way for the sequel. Also there is a reporter whose acting style consists of shouting. Good for singing. Bad for films.

It's a shame that this isn't currently available as a Region 2 DVD, but the sequel is. It's surely worth releasing it given some of the rubbish that does get released. Pretty enjoyable stuff. Especially good with vodka.

If you like this you could also try:
Alligator, Q: The Winged Serpent, Mutant.


  1. I've never seen the sequel... I liked this one though. Reminds me of The Stuff, another one from around that time...

    1. It's years since I've seen The Stuff but I can see that it would have a similar atmosphere to this. I'm not sure that I can face the sequel...