Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Horror Movie Review: C.H.U.D.


John Heard lead the 1980's love for sleeveless shirt.Starring: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist, J. C. Quinn, and George Martin

Directed by: Douglas Cheek

Written by: Shepard Abbott and Parnell Hall

Production Company: C.H.U.D. Productions and New World Pictures

Release Date: August 31, 1984

Awards: Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film - Best Fantasy Film
Kim Griest joins in on the sleeveless fun...But John convinces her pants have sleeves, too...
Ah, the 80's...the hayday of radiation, sewage, and cannibals. So comes C.H.U.D....Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.

There's some waste being stored in the sewer system of New York. Unfortunately, as radiation tends to do, it begins to mutate some of the homeless who prefer to live underground. The mutated creatures begin supping on human flesh and eventually, that gets people's attention.

Enter photographer George and his model girlfriend Lauren, soup kitchen head A.J., and police captain Bosch. George hears about the CHUD from the underground dwellers of whom he has taken photos, Lauren finds herself living in an aparetment that connects to the underground where the CHUD live, AJ hears about Christopher Curry asks why he didn't get the sleeveless memo.the weird happenings from his regulars and notices some of his regulars disappearing, and Bosch, well...he has a personal connection. Throw in nosy reporter Murphy on the case, and eventually we learn that Wilson of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is also connected to the growing CHUD epidemic and that CHUD may not mean what it's said to mean.

I'm really torn on what to think about this movie. On the one hand, I love the cheesy, radiation mutated, cannibal beasties, and the creature effects were cool too. The glowing eyes were a great addition to what may have been a generally disappointing creature and certainly made the CHUD impressive. While not going all out comedy, it carried moments of natural, every day humor...well, you know, if everyday had radioactive cannibals...
Daniel Stern says, I once had a sleeve THIS BIG!
On the other hand, it was kind of slow and plodding. Not enough CHUD. Too many characters. Throw in some more creature kills, or elaborate on what we see...more than just a slimy arm grabbing someone from off screen. Get rid of some of the characters, or combine them...J. C. Quinn as Murphy seemed superfluous, and Kim Greist seemed thrown in just to add a damsel in distress. Her shower scene, the requisite shower scene found in all good horror films, appeared to be added just so there would be a shower scene and a touch of gore, which didn't make since.

The rampant lack of sleeves helps this CHUD overcome his shyness.The acting was fine, though, naturally enough no real strong performances. Daniel Stern as AJ and Kim Griest as Lauren are the standouts here. Christopher Curry did a decent job as Bosch. J. C. Quinn and John Heard were pretty flat in their roles of George and Murphy, while George Martin brought is a nice performance as asshole government man, Wilson.

I guess you have to ask yourself...How much do you like 80's b-movie horrors feature radioactive cannibals? If your responsive is "meh" or less...pass it by. If it seems interesting but only because it sounds like a film where you can see breasts...pass it by...Griest keeps herself covered. But if it sounds like something you could get mostalgic over the days when sleeveless shirts were the rage, then I recommedn you have a CHUD night.

Where Else Can I Find Them?
Single Radioactive CHUD seeks blonde, sleeveless woman willing to be eaten. Loves moonlit walks in the sewer. No smokers.
John Heard: John Heard is one of those actors who appears everywhere but almost never gets a starring role. Thus he doesn't gravitate toward one genre. He did come back to horror in 1988 in the apocalyptic Seventh Sign, though in a small role. He'll deal again with government comspiracies in the upcoming Formosa Betrayed starring James Van Der Beek. In the early 1980s, an FBI Agent is assigned to investigate the murder of a respected professor. Through his investigation, he unearths a spider web of international secrets that has been thriving within college campuses across America for decades. His investigation takes him across the Pacific to the island nation of Taiwan, where with the help of the outspoken widow and an unlikely spy, he learns that the Professor's killing was not a random act, but a desperate move by a scandalous government intent on keeping its nefarious activities under wraps. Our detective soon finds himself on a collision course against the U.S. State Department, the Chinese Mafia, and the Nationalist Chinese Government - in a land where the truth is not what it seems and the only people he can trust, cannot be trusted at all. Inspired by actual events.

Traumatized by the sudden presence of sleeves, John Heard and Daniel Stern seek solace in each others arms.Daniel Stern: Stern is more prolific a comedic actor, so following up CHUD with Frankenweenie 3 months later just makes sense. When young Victor's pet dog Sparky (who stars in Victor's home-made monster movies) is hit by a car, Victor decides to bring him back to life the only way he knows how. But when the bolt-necked "monster" wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of Victor's neighbors, he has to convince them (and his parents) that despite his appearance, Sparky's still the good loyal friend he's always been. He returned to straight horror with more human mutations in 1989's Leviathan. Underwater deep-sea miners encounter a Soviet wreck and bring back a dangerous cargo to their base on the ocean floor with horrifying results. In a story owing a lot to _Alien_ and _The Thing_, the crew of the mining base must fight to survive against a genetic mutation that hunts them down one by one. It kind of got lost amonst the other undersea horror like Abyss and Deep Star Six. Most recently Stern appeared in the straight to video horror-comedy Otis. After being captured and tortured by the psychopath Otis (Bostin Christopher), teen cheerleader Riley Lawson (Ashley Johnson) escapes and informs her parents (Daniel Stern and Illeana Douglas), who quickly sidestep the sluggish FBI and take matters into their own hands. But the Lawson's revenge plan hit a snag when Otis's unusual brother (Kevin Pollak) enters the picture. Jere Burns co-stars as the FBI agent assigned to the case.

Christopher Curry: In 2002, Curry appeared with another cannibal in Red Dragon with Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down "The Tooth Fairy", a mysterious serial killer; aiding him is imprisoned criminal genius Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.

Kim Griest: Griest also appeared with Hannibal Lecter, but it was 16 years before Curry. She appeared in the 1986 Manhunter, based on Thomas Harris's Red Dragon.

J. C. Quinn: In 1986, Quinn switched from facing people becoming cannibalistic monsters to facing maching turning homicidal in Maximum Overdrive. A group of people try to survive when machines start to come alive and become homicidal.

George Martin thinks CHUD means Cannibalistic Humanoid Underwear Dwellers and wonders why he's not in any of the good scenes.George Martin: CHUD seems to be Martin's only horror role. His last film was in the funny 1999 Outside Providence. After one too many run ins with the law, a punk teenager from a working class background is sent to prep school by his frustrated dad, and learns a thing or two.

Douglas Cheek: This is Cheek's only film directorial work working predominantly as an editor on documentaries on the scary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.

Kim Griest heard she was the reincarnation of Elizabeth Bathory.

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