C.H.U.D. (1984)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry
Extras: Commentary Track, Theatrical Trailer, Still Gallery

The odd thing about the film ’C.H.U.D.’ isn’t the story, which deals with cannibalistic monsters living under the streets of New York. (I believe that part.) The odd thing is what’s happened to the cast and crew of ’C.H.U.D.’ since the film was released. ’C.H.U.D.’ is full of instantly recognizable actors, who have gone on to much bigger films, such as Daniel Stern (’City Slickers’), John Heard (’Big’), Christopher Curry (’Starship Troopers’), Eddie Jones (’Return to Me’), Sam McMurray (’Drop Dead Gorgeous’)and in a bit part, John Goodman. (I swear, the man is in every movie. He’s the Michael Caine of the new millenium!) But the people behind the camera, the director, the two writers, and the producer, have never made a movie since. That’s just weird.

Anyway, ’C.H.U.D.’ is a film with an ecological and a socio-political message, as it tells the story of radioactive waste which is creating monsters in the subway tunnels of New York city. Soup-kitchen Samaritan Sheppard (Daniel Stern) begins to wonder about some of his missing patrons, just as police detective Bosch (Christopher Curry) stumbles onto the case. Together, they delve into why so many street people are missing and discover the monsters. We learn that ’C.H.U.D.’ stands for ’Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers’ and the EPA is well aware of them. At the same time, George (John Heard) a photographer who once did a piece on the homeless gets involved in the situation as well. Sheppard, Bosch, and George realize that they are the only ones who know the truth about ’C.H.U.D.’, and they decide to expose the truth to the public.

As with many horror movie from the early 80s, the first hour of ’C.H.U.D.’ really drags, but the last third of the picture is quite fun and exciting. The movie features some very cool looking monsters and some nice gore effects. The problem with ’C.H.U.D.’ is that there are too many characters, which leads to too many situations going on at once. The result is a film that was edited seemingly at random, as ’C.H.U.D.’ cuts back-and-forth between different storylines at its own strange pace. Given the interesting and relevant plot and the strong cast, ’C.H.U.D.’ could have been something very special. As it stands, ’C.H.U.D.’ is just another monster movie that offers a pulse-pounding finale and some above average special effects. Actually, the best special effect is Daniel Stern’s afro, as he appears to be starring in ’Crazy Hairdo Under Development’!

’C.H.U.D.’ comes to DVD from the only people who would have the guts to release a title such as this, Anchor Bay Entertainment. And, as usual, Anchor Bay has done a nice job with the transfer. The film is letterboxed at 1.77:1 and is enhanced for 16×9 TVs. The image is clear and sharp, showing little grain or noise. There are some minor defects from the source print, but these are of little consequence. The colors are quite nicely presented, as fleshtones look natural and the glowing green ooze for the monsters looks very good. The audio on this DVD is a Dolby Digital Mono track. While this renders clear and audible dialogue, it takes some of the punch out of the musical stings and the explosions.

The DVD contains an audio commentary with director Douglas Cheek, writer Shepard Abbot and stars Stern, Heard, and Curry. This is a very fun and humorous commentary, as this group jokes and generally cuts up throughout the film. When they aren’t joking, they do manage to tell some interesting stories about the making of the film, with each having surprisingly vivid memories of working on ’C.H.U.D.’ The theatrical trailer for the film is included as well as a still gallery. While ’C.H.U.D.’ may have lost some of its luster over the years, any film that has been referenced on ’The Simpsons’ has to be somewhat cool.