Review: C.H.U.D.

Posted by Peter Hall - June 29th 2006 @ 3:42 pm

Directed by Douglas Cheek, 1984


Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.  That is all you need to know about the letters C.H.U.D. to know what kind of movie it is.

I understand some things age better than others.  Cheese can age well.  Milk cannot.  Night of the Comet aged well.  C.H.U.D. did not.

The U.S. government has been forced to secretly store a boatload of radioactive waste under New York City.  Said waste is mutating the underground homeless into monsters with gigantic, floodlight eyeballs.  The only thing that can stop them is the father from Home Alone (John Heard), the dumber of the two burglars from Home Alone (Daniel Stern), and Casper Van Dien’s father from Starship Troopers (Christopher Curry).  That is one elite group of heroes!

If only the movie wasn’t a complete bore, even by 1984 standards.

The script maintains interest for the first 30 minutes as the mystery of the disappearance of homeless and socialites alike is investigated, but nothing ever really happens.  They find out about the waste, they find out about the government trying to cover it up, and some crazy Government guy goes postal trying to keep it covered up, but that’s about it.  The C.H.U.D.s themselves have about 6 collective minutes of screen time at best.

The only reason to watch this movie is to understand all its pop culture references.  Such as the Simpsons, when Homer says his first trip to NYC was ruined when the C.H.U.D.s came, or that the movie website Cinematic Happenings Under Development takes its ridiculous name from this ridiculous movie.

The only time I ever got any real reaction, good or bad, out of the movie was at the end when the two Home Aloners are trying to escape from the sewers, only to have a van parked on the manhole.  The crazed government guy gets in the van and tries to drive away, they get free and shoot him as he is trying to run them down.  The van then rolls along, its tire falls 6 inches into the manhole and the entire van explodes.

It has to be the most inane reason for an explosion I’ve ever seen.  And C.H.U.D. is an equally inane movie.  It’s not that the movie is poorly made, as you may think given its B-movie status, it is just dull.

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  1. Brian
    June 30th, 2006 | 12:13 am | #1

    I wonder why this movie is such a big deal pop culture-wise.

    This reminds me of another movie from my childhood. I thought it was this movie, but now I’m doubting that.

    My memories of the movie I’m thinking of: A small boy. Maybe an evil/demon/alien babysitter-type. A scene where the parents come in the boy’s room at night/morning and pull his covers back and see his bed is covered with blood. They call a Dr. The Dr. determines the blood isn’t the boy’s. It is possible the boy was evil or was being turned evil by the babysitter-type person. I could be totally off on the babysitter…maybe a step-parent? Maybe nobody like that at all. But the bed-blood scene for sure. It was quite disturbing.

    Any ideas?

  2. June 30th, 2006 | 9:04 am | #2

    Not sure, btu the step-parent thing makes me think it may be The Stepfather. I’ll be able to let you know soon, for sure, because coincidently, I have a VHS copy of the Stepfather downstairs right next to C.H.U.D.

  3. June 30th, 2006 | 9:21 am | #3

    Oooh, The Stepfather, good movie. Don’t recall that scene in it (actually don’t recall much of it at all, it was a while ago), but I do remember liking it.

    But back to CHUD… Completely forgettable film, but a great culture reference. Gonna take the subway home? Look out for CHUD. Going to Montreal to shop the underground city? Look out for CHUD.

  4. Brian
    June 30th, 2006 | 12:18 pm | #4

    Nope, definitely not Stepfather. Thanks for the mental effort though.

  5. June 30th, 2006 | 7:06 pm | #5

    I am proud…okay, not proud…to say that I saw “C.H.U.D.” in a theatre way back when. I’m sure it still sucks.

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