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Stern: "You Cooper?"
Heard: "Yeah ... who are you?"
Stern: "I run the soup kitchen ..."
Heard: "On Kenman?"
Stern: "Right ..."
Heard: "THANK GOD THEY DELIVER!"
You have to see it to appreciate it. The fact that this dialogue was ad-libbed says a lot about the gonzo film-making that produced C.H.U.D.
Story writer Shep Abbott came up with the word, "CHUD" during a party with actors Stern and Heard. The trio then brainstormed a movie idea around the word, Abbott wrote up an extreeemely rough draft (he'd never written a screenplay before), and it ended up on the slush pile of producer Andrew Bonime.
Bonime tried to get Abbott to polish the script, but was never satisfied with the rewrites (partially due to Abbott's inexperience), and took the screenplay away from Abbott, giving it to writer Parnell Hall.
Bonime had picked up the project partially because Abbott could get Daniel Stern and John Heard to star. (Heard and Stern have worked together in a number of movies over the years, including 'Home Alone I & II' and 'The Milagro Beanfield War'.)
The two actors agreed to work for scale plus a percentage of the profits, but insisted that Christoper Curry be hired to play the part of Police Detective Bosch, and that Douglas Cheek be hired as director. This didn't sit well with Bonime, but he agreed and the movie was produced.
Stern and Heard were not happy with what had been done to their friend's original script, and did their own page re-writes and ad-libs, which director Cheek left in the final cut. Bonime insisted that a shower scene with actress Kim Griest be written in, which Stern, Heard, and Cheek still complain about, 17 years later, on the DVD's audio commentary.
However, the unedited version of the shower scene (with Griest's body double) appears as an easter egg on the DVD. (From the main menu, click on Extras. At the top of the Extras menu is 'Trailer'. Click the Up button on your remote, and the eyes of the C.H.U.D. in the background will be highlighted. Click Enter, and the 'Unabridged Scene' will play.)
Despite, or perhaps because of, the civil war on the set, C.H.U.D. is a pretty decent horror relic from the 80's. Watch the movie first, then listen to Stern, Heard, Curry, Cheek, and Abbott do a hilarious commentary track. Stern boos and hisses when Parnell Hall's name comes on the screen. You'll find out that most of the cast are wives, sisters, or good friends with Stern and Heard. You'll learn how they wanted the monsters to look, and much more. And they really have fond, funny memories of the film, despite all the turmoil.
As a counterpoint to their comments, producer Andrew Bonime set up a website, telling his own side of the story.
Don't miss sitcom stars John Goodman and Jay Thomas in bit parts as extremely unlucky cops, during the movie's last half hour. This scene was placed at the end of the movie during its theatrical release, but has been moved to its correct sequence for the DVD.
I rate the movie, 'C.H.U.D.' a 6; with the commentary track running, it's easily an 8 or 9. Best cut-ups since the MST3K 'bots.
Highly recommended for DVD collectors out there!
Sure, it's got a low budget... but the story is good (probably with a grain of truth, too!) and the sewer sets look good. Daniel Stern is great as the cook/manager of a soup kitchen who is wondering where his assorted homeless buddies have dissapeared to. Christopher Curry is also very good as a police officer searching for his missing wife. The scenes with Curry and Stern are funny and it's neat to watch a friendship develop between them as they deal with the rampaging CHUDs.
Watch for John Goodman as a cop who gets slaughtered in a diner... this was one of his earliest screen roles. Stay away from CHUD 2 unless you REALLY like bad, campy horror. CHUD is freaking Shakespeare compared to CHUD 2.
In short: CHUD is a fun monster movie. Watch it by yourself or with friends... either way it's a good way to spend an hour and a half. Not overly gory like a bad slasher flick, not packed to the gills with nude women. Just a good cast and some funny, scary, and exciting cinema.
It's interesting to note that the original cut of the film that I saw on HBO differs from the regular TV version. The original mentions a slaughter in a diner where there's blood on all the walls but no bodies. At the end, a couple of bums see the CHUDs approaching "another" diner (the John Goodman cameo) and quickly scamper off. The last thing you see is a few CHUDs breaking into the diner to wreck havoc. The TV version has the diner slaughter in the proper timeline... you see it before, during, and after (when the cops find the bloody diner with no bodies). Strange that it would be edited that way, but so be it. 7 out of 10 - but not recommended for the uptight or "serious" moviegoer. If you can't appreciate Tremors, Lake Placid, or even Godzilla, then don't see this movie.
Under Manhattan, mysterious creatures terrorize the homeless who live in the sewers, and begin striking those who walk the streets as well. When one disappearance involves a precinct captain's wife, the captain starts investigating the situation by asking around a neighborhood soup kitchen.
The captain, Bosch, is played by Christopher Curry, a here-and-gone Martin Mull lookalike whose casual handling of his wife's disappearance would come off as absurd if we hadn't previously gotten a load of what she looks like. While Curry is the main actor, two better-known names have key supporting roles, Daniel Stern as the grimy soup kitchen director (only the destitute would accept a meal from him) and John Heard as a photographer.
Heard's character has little to do with the story, and the way he's brought in is lazy and forced. He has some photos of streetpeople, and one homeless woman calls him for bail. He takes a photo of a gored leg that shows something sinister is going on, though all I saw was bad make-up. Through most of the film, we see him blow off deadlines and interact unaffectionately with his live-in girlfriend, played by Kim Griest. Heard here is smug and charmless, yet we are supposed to be impressed by him because he's played by the great John Heard.
The torpor and aimlessness of "C.H.U.D." amaze me. Sewer creatures rising up in the big city is not a bad concept, but not only does the film fail to do anything with it, we get a lot of inert moments where people trade cliché-ridden dialogue like: "Keep a lid on it." "Nothing, huh? Sounds interesting." "Watch your step, Bosch, remember you don't belong here." "I don't believe you! What are you trying to hide?"
There's a stonewalling government official played by George Martin who bulges his eyes and sneers at every question and gives us an obvious central villain since the budget is too cheap to show us much of the monsters. The creatures are meant to horrify but merely look like inept Halloween window displays, while the unbearable synthesized score sounds like a seven-year-old toying with a department-store display organ. Then you get goofy sequences like the one where Griest is in a shower, gets drenched in blood, and is next seen dry and unfazed. Must have set the showers controls on "Bobby Ewing."
The whole movie is like that, jumping from effect to effect, hitting us with little shock moments here and there, not tying anything in. This is not scary, just annoying.
It's true I didn't see the director's cut, which is a bit longer and shows one C.H.U.D. attack in the middle rather than at the end of the film, where it makes less sense. But whatever the editing, the product on screen is deadly dull, and surprisingly unfunny given its enduring cult reputation. "C.H.U.D" gets mentioned as an askew satire, but just isn't in the same class as "Tremors" or "Return of the Living Dead," let alone an Evil Dead film. To recite another cliché: You have been warned.
C.H.U.D. stands for two things in this film. Seeing how one of those is "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers," you can probably guess just what has been responsible for the sudden rash of disappearances. The creatures, which are clawed, fanged and have glowing eyes, had once been bums living in the sewers beneath the city until being mutated by exposure to radioactivity and picking up a taste for human flesh in the process. They stay out of sight until they're hungry and then pop out of manholes long enough to drag dinner down there with them. Our trio of heroes eventually learn that Wilson (George Martin) and his cohorts at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have been dumping toxic waste into the NYC sewers for years, and the city's police chief (Eddie Jones) has been helping them cover it all up.
I have no clue what some others see in this dreary and completely routine film aside from the fun title. Hardly anything surprising ever happens. Nearly every frame has been shot before, every character has been seen before, any chance at fun is consistently undermined by the depressing, grimy setting and the whole cover-up subplot is THE laziest possible way to structure one of these things. Other moments, like Greist's character (who contemplates getting an abortion earlier on) getting sprayed down with blood after trying to unclog a bath tub with a clothes hanger, seem like botched attempts at social statement. The creature design isn't exactly awful, but you can certainly see much better-looking creatures elsewhere. C.H.U.D. is also excessively talky. There's a surprisingly low amount of horror scenes, nearly all of the carnage takes place off screen and the creature action is slim, which are the only things that could have possibly made the useless plot worth sitting through.
The only real pluses here are a few good lead actors (whose talents are wasted in service of a film beneath them) and some amusing lines of dialogue (apparently much of it improvised on the spot). There are also brief appearances from some up-and-coming (and now fairly well-known) actors like John Goodman, Sam McMurray and Patricia Richardson. None of them are given much of anything to do here. In fact, the scene with Goodman and comedian Jay Thomas was completed removed from some prints of the film and was also moved around in the narrative to several different places in other cuts. The fact you can put an entire scene in the middle of a movie, at the very end of a movie or remove it altogether and it doesn't make any difference whatsoever pretty much says all that needs to be said about the movie in general.
The film received terrible reviews upon release and wasn't a big hit or anything, but a sequel nobody asked for was made anyway. It turned out to be a follow-up in-name-only and was a zombie comedy that has nothing at all to do with this original film.
C.H.U.D. definitively had a pair of effective moments. Too bad there were just two of those and the rest, sadly was either discounted "from around the corner" effects or just plain boring. I have always been curious to see this movie since I was a lad, but never got around to it until about a week ago.
Sadly, since that's time has passed (9 days,) I've forgotten most of this movie. Well, it wasn't a great movie anyways. It's boring for long stretches, incredibly cheap horror, humor that falls flat and couldn't live past its creepy opening kill.
Basically, it's 1980's Alligator, but with humans, sorta. Creatures from below are snatching people, animals, whatever while inept police decide what to do with it. You can tell this is extreme low budget with the lack of full-on attacks and most are done around the corner, behind a door or in the dark.
Today, in 2013, it's not even worth visiting, or revisiting if you've seen this before. It doesn't necessitate a remake nor a recommendation from me, despite two minute creepy moments. (And they don't last long enough to promote a viewing.)
* * * Final thoughts: They made a sequel to this? Really? I'll have to check that (off my list and toss the idea of watching it) out.
The problems are very numerous with this venture. The writing is incredibly inept. The direction is lacking. The pacing is really off, as well. One of the biggest flaws is with the basic story construction. There are simply too many characters. Kim Greist is nice to look at, and gives maybe the best performance, but her character is really tacked on. She just gives us a pretty face to put in danger. She and John Heard have no chemistry what so ever, and I did not buy them for an instant as a couple. But these kinds of problems are found in some of even the most watchable of horror films. Why are they so noticeable here? The true flaw of CHUD is that it just isn't either scary or exciting. The CHUD monsters, who are homeless people exposed to radiation, look kind of cool. They look kind of like the mutated salmon in Humanoids From the Deep. Only they have glowing yellow eyes! But they don't seem to move fast enough to be a threat to anyone under age 80. Their sharp claws and teeth aren't enough to make them seem formidable. We don't see enough of them in action, either. Only body parts and wounds from their victims. This is a sign of a very low budget. And of course the government, working with big industry types is the culprit. Once the head of the chemical company is killed at the end, the film concludes abruptly and on a high note. As if killing this suit is all that really needed to be done. What about all of the monsters still left in the sewers??? Other than the one beheaded by Ms. Greist, I don't recall seeing any of the others killed! What the heck? This really could have been more exciting. There are not enough funny lines either in the script, but there are a few chuckles. The whole thing is topped off by a putrid synthesizer score. Really it isn't worth more than 3 of 10 stars.
C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) is a classic monster movie with an urban exterior and a very gritty interior. It has a good story, cool looking creatures and lots of familiar faces. These faces include John Heard, Daniel Stern, Eddie Jones, genre veteran Frankie Faison, an unrecognizable Jon Polito, and even John Goodman. There's an originality to the movie as well. I really like the way the story comes together from so many angles; the cop, the cook, the photographer, and the reporter. There are bad elements as well (aren't there always). The first is the shower scene towards the end of the film. What in the hell was that all about?? The chick pokes her shower drain, blood spews everywhere, cut back later and she's fine with no mention of it again. That scene makes no sense whatsoever. Also, it has a really poor ending. There's is one line about the trucks being rigged to explode, so you really have to be paying attention. If not, when the truck does explode, you will be clueless. There's no real resolution to the C.H.U.D. situation either. We're left to believe they all just died in the sewer. All this negative stuff happens in the last 20 minutes however, so the good portion outweighs the bad. All in all, C.H.U.D. (and I'm going against the grain here) is well done B-movie.
I had the fortunate luck to revisit "C.H.U.D." again, now 25 years later give or take, and it was a sweet trip down memory lane. First of all, because I was able to remember things from the movie from way back then, and to see how much impact this movie actually had in my future choice of movie genre and preferences.
The story told in "C.H.U.D." is easy to follow and have some good elements to it. There are strange disappearances and murders happening in New York and the police is without a clue. Then some locals take an interest in the events and venture underneath the city, where they stumble upon government secrets and mutation beings.
Now, looking back to when the movie was made, I would say that the creature effects were actually quite good. Of course, with todays standard they are primitive and out of date. But I remember them being seriously scary back in the mid-80's. Actually, my friend and me were somewhat scared of getting too close to manhole covers a couple of days after seeing the movie. Haha...
The music score in the movie bears typical tones of 80's horror music. It is symphonic in a way and always leading up to the scares. And it does work well. Without such music, movies would be less interesting.
I was actually surprised to see the faces of some of the cast in the movie, now that I am older and more wise in the history of cinema and movies. John Goodman and Jay Thomas were actually in this movie, as cops visiting a diner. Patricia Richardson (from "Home Improvement") was actually in the movie as well. Plus, the lead roles were played by John Heard and Daniel Stern, all names that sit well with me today. So the cast list was actually quite good.
I liked "C.H.U.D." back then and I still like it. Of course it is not all that scary by today's standards, but still it is a good horror movie in itself. Plus, it has a special place in my memory, as it lead me down the path of horror and scary movies. If you haven't seen "C.H.U.D." yet, do yourself the favor and get your hands (or claws) on the DVD and see this wonderful 80's horror gem.
However, this kind of movie is definitely not for everyone if you're looking for a horror movie look elsewhere because you will be massively disappointed. Now to be honest with a title like C.H.U.D. you're expecting to see nothing but mayhem involving strange creatures attacking people, there are a few attack scenes but they all only last a few seconds and there is almost zero gore, there's a bit of suspense but the film is never actually scary. If I have one genuine complaint it's that we barely even ever see the CHUDS, their screen time throughout the film combined is guaranteed to be less than 5 minutes. A little bit more monster time and a little less public commentary could have really made this film substantially better. But the rest of the film is entertaining enough so that it's still not a deal-breaker, especially with the great acting from this stellar cast.
Overall rating: 6 out of 10.
C.H.U.D. tells the story of George Cooper (John Heard), a noted news photographer who is trying to take a break away from the news to pursue a new career as a fashion photographer at the bequest of his girlfriend Lauren (Kim Greist). He's picked a bad time to start the change since a series of bizarre murders and disappearances are happening in New York at the same time.
Ties between the murders and a set of homeless people that George once did a photo essay on, a group that lives beneath the city streets in the abandoned tunnels of the NY subway system, draw the attention of the police and the curiosity of George. They especially interest a Det. Bosch (Christopher Curry) whose wife we later learn is one of the missing. Bosch turns up the pressure on A.J. Shepherd (Daniel Stern), an ex-con who now runs a soup kitchen for the homeless.
The paths of all three cross as they begin to investigate the crimes and find clues on their own leading to the discovery of a creatures living deeper in the tunnels that are killing the people of New York. Dubbing them C.H.U.D. or Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, the government may be involved in their creation. If so the term C.H.U.D. may have a different meaning. In any event, we're offered a new urban legend and monster to tie in with the explanation.
The movie is not blockbuster summer hit material but it does offer something rarely seen in many horror films today and that's originality. As I said from the start, movies tend to rely on tried and true formulas and creations from vampires to the currently hot zombies. That the film makers here could come up with a new creation, a new monster, deserves credit. The low budget film actually looks quite good and the fact that it stands up to the test of time serves it well. When you consider that the movie came out in 1984 and people can still tell you what C.H.U.D. stands for speaks volumes.
The camera work is good for a low budget film. The acting ranges from good to bad but good for the most part. The story has a few holes but hey, this is a horror film and they often have more holes that a brick of Swiss cheese. Here they don't detract from the film itself but turn it into one of those films you love even for all of its flaws.
I can't sing the praises of Arrow Video enough. Once again they've offered fans the opportunity to witness this film in the most pristine version possible. And as always the extras here are many worth watching as opposed to the usual making of extras new films get with stars sitting and repeating the same lines about how great their movie is before it gets released. What does Arrow offer this time? -Brand new restoration from original film elements -High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation -Original Uncompressed Mono PCM audio -Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing -Audio commentary by director Douglas Cheek, writer Shepard Abbott, and actors John Heard, Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry -Brand new crew interviews -Original Theatrical Trailer -Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford
If you love the film you'll want to add this to your collection. Horror fans will want to do the same. And if you've never seen the film then by all means make it a point to seek it out. It's solid entertainment that will have you walking a wide path around manhole covers for the rest of your life.
While the cast charge that the movie would be better if the monsters *weren't* so goofy looking, the C.H.U.D.s lend this low rent movie a great deal of cheesy charm. They have big, bulky bodies, glowing eyes, and can extend their necks if they take a notion to do so. Director Douglas Cheek (another member in the circle of friends that made this classic) and company gain memorable atmosphere by shooting on and under NYC. It's quite the grimy, aesthetically unappealing tale indeed, all enhanced by delightful electronic music. And it all comes complete with a subtext about society's treatment of the homeless.
Heard and Stern, especially Stern, are very amusing to watch, with the absolutely lovely Kim Greist cast as Heards' wife, a fashion model. One truly amazing thing about the actors & actresses assembled is how many familiar faces there are in supporting and bit parts, from future stars (like 'Home Improvement' wife / mom Patricia Richardson, 'Roseanne' husband / dad John Goodman, and Jay Thomas) to top character actors like George Martin, Peter Michael Goetz, John Bedford Lloyd, Jon Polito, Vic Polizos, Eddie Jones, Sam McMurray, J.C. Quinn, Ray Baker, Graham Beckel, Bill Raymond, and Frankie Faison. Heards' sister Cordis plays a cop; the first on screen victim, Laure Mattos, is Sterns' wife.
The script (on which Curry and Stern worked, uncredited) has some priceless lines, especially when Stern saves Heards' ass and Heard improvises.
To somebody such as this viewer, it's immaterial how "good" or bad it is. All that matters is how damn entertaining it is!
Followed by "C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud" five years later.
Eight out of 10.
I later learnt that the version I saw on video was actually a heavily butchered TV edit which screwed around with the order of the scenes. The Director's Cut, now available on DVD, not only includes the missing gore, but also puts events back in their correct order; however, even though things are now as they were originally intended by director Douglas Cheek, C.H.U.D. still feels like it could do with more work, the film devoting far too much screen-time to dull chit-chat when it should be delivering monster mayhem. When the creatures do appear, the film is a lot of fun, the creepy critters boasting rubbery claws, snaggle teeth and glowing eyes; there just isn't enough of the good stuff to offset all of the scenes where very little of interest occurs.
4.5/10, rounded up to 5 for the decapitated heads, one of which belongs to a C.H.U.D. that meets the business end of a samurai sword.
The C.H.U.D monster for 90% percent of the film is barely there. The only time it's there only last 10 seconds plus the kills is off screen so there is little to no blood. What troubles me is the fact the rating is R which is weird considering the fact the film in my eyes is tame comparing to other monsters film but it's nothing that is getting points off for. Most of the film is drama/mystery storyline among the people with their everyday problems which could have been cut down. It is because of this the film suffers pacing issues and for a movie that claims to be horror is falsely informed. Also whenever the characters are having a conversation there seems to be jump cuts to another scenario and then back to the previous conversation which is distracting. The least they could do is finish the scene between the characters and then switch to another scene instead of cutting forth then back. The acting was bland so no one seems to care and the delivery of dialog was either exaggerated or emotionless. Special effects were pretty good on the C.H.U.D monster. The makeup department did a great job on costumes.
Overall I did not like the film. The only time I liked the film is the C.H.U.D in which I wish they were present instead of short seconds.
Standing for either Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller or Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal C.H.U.D. was directed by Douglas Cheek & I vividly remember renting C.H.U.D. on VHS here in the UK because of very impressive looking video cover artwork (when will we learn not to judge a film on a few decent looking stills on the back of it's box?) & I didn't like it all that much, I just finished watching it mere minutes ago & I have to say I didn't like that much now either. C.H.U.D. is one of those frustrating films which is available in two different versions, the original theatrical cut & a more recent director's cut which is eight minutes longer, adds scenes, eliminates any humour & has the John Goodman diner scene where it is supposed to be rather than tacked onto the end as an awkward sequel driven twist. The script by Parnall Hall & it's two stars Daniel Hall & Christopher Curry uncredited had potentially the making of a great horror film but the pace is so slow it's untrue, there just isn't enough dramatic incident to maintain ones interest. The script focuses far too much on how the C.H.U.D. monsters were created, boring politics & arguing between different Government agencies & lots of little various sub-plots which amount to nothing & as the end credits roll on reflection feel like padding. The ending on this director's cut is poor too, it seemingly completely forgets about the C.H.U.D. monsters (nothing new there then since it does for most of the film) & just stops rather than ends. I respect C.H.U.D. for trying to be a serious, well thought out horror film with depth & meaningful character's but Jesus Christ is anyone out there going into it for those elements or are they going into C.H.U.D. looking for some good old fashioned monster fun? I'd wager it's the monster angle every time & since that's the most neglected element of C.H.U.D. it must go down as a disappointment & a missed opportunity.
Director Cheek does a really good job & C.H.U.D. is a great looking & feeling horror film, there's a real sense of atmosphere & the constant threat that it will burst into life at any moment which unfortunately it never does. There are plenty of opportunities for the filmmakers to show some solid C.H.U.D. action but refuse on almost every occasion, you can count on one hand how many times the C.H.U.D. creatures are involved in a scene, we hardly ever see them & that has to be a bad thing since when we do actually get a look at the things they are pretty impressive & nasty looking monsters. The special make-up effects are really good as well with one or two decent gore scenes, there's a couple of ripped in half bodies, there are several severed limbs seen, someone is shot in the neck, there's a gory leg wound & a couple of really yucky looking decapitated heads. For those interested no John Goodman isn't seen being killed. No nudity either.
With a supposed budget of about $1,250,000 C.H.U.D. is a really well made film which was shot on location in New York with high production values. This is the New York of two decades ago though with it's grimy streets, the New York in C.H.U.D. no longer exists. The acting is alright, even pretty good but the film spends too much time focusing on the human cast rather than the monsters.
C.H.U.D. could have been a really great modern monster film, as it is it has to go down as a big disappointment for me as it's just so slow & pedestrian. When it's good C.H.U.D. is a really good monster film but when it's bad C.H.U.D. nearly sent me to sleep. Followed by C.H.U.D. II - Bud the Chud (1989) which has no connection to this other than in title.