C.H.U.D.

Get this movie out of my house
★
☆☆☆☆
Released: 
1984
Director: 
Douglas Cheek
Starring: 
John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist
The Setup: 
Homeless people in New York’s sewers are being mutated into these monster-things.
Discussion: 

Yesterday I stayed home from work sick, with chills and general just feeling crappy, and one of the sole points of light in my otherwise dreary afternoon was that CHUD would be arriving in my mailbox. I remember the ads for it when it was out, and it always looked sort of awesome, I wanted to see it ever since then. Not to mention that this is EXACTLY the sort of thing I want to watch when I’m sick. So imagine my disappointment to find that not only is it not really that great, it is in fact really, REALLY boring.

John Heard plays this total asshole narcissist photographer who is ruining the life of a journalist friend by not giving him the photographs he promised him ages ago, ruining the career of his girlfriend by pitching a fit and insulting the client who is giving her her “big break, ” etc. I don’t think we’re supposed to perceive him as such a total asshole, as the film never acknowledges this and he doesn’t receive any kind of comeuppance, but he struck me from the start as a total dick and I couldn’t get over this for the rest of the movie. Daniel Stern is also on hand as a guy who runs a soup kitchen.

So it seems that the homeless are disappearing, and the ones that aren’t are arming themselves. Then there’s a lot of talking between Heard and his girlfriend, and a lot of talking between Stern and the police chief, and a lot of talking between the police chief and some other guy who is the typical “we can’t say anything that might disturb the public” guy. And I’m sitting there, getting ever more annoyed, thinking “This is A LOT of fucking TALKING!” Then I turned it off and took an afternoon nap.

When I watched the rest, the talking continued. And it’s the kind of police procedural talking that just starts to make you more and more pissed off. Where are the fucking CHUD attacks? When they do happen, they’re quick and relatively action-free. What a waste.

In the last 30 minutes the action ramps up a little bit, although in a way I found tedious. By then the movie had completely lost me. Then John Goodman shows up in a small role as a horny policeman, and our heroes, one of whom is still an irredeemable asshole, escape. The end. They don’t even bother trying to wrap up the CHUD story. I thought this was just me, that I had missed the part where they killed all the CHUD and everything was back to normal, but no, apparently they still have the same CHUD problem they did before, but the movie ends.

I think this one gains interest mainly from the concept alone. It’s kind of wacky / funny and it makes you want to see the movie, expecting a lot of scary, borderline ridiculous thrills. But they just ain’t here. Apparently this was a legendarily fucked-up production, which is detailed on what is said to be a very funny, interesting commentary track with Heard and Stern, which I didn’t listen to. Now I kind of wish I had it back to listen to, but by the end of the movie I was so fed up with all of it I just wanted it out of my house.

Should you watch it: 

Lots of people like it. Even more people hate it.