Whether you’re an 80s kid or a horror fan, chances are you’ve stumbled upon the trashy 1984 movie CHUD. While many remember it fondly as a relic from a bygone era of low-budget, low-production scream festivals that were scattered throughout the decade, others came out and called it for what that it is: an awful film that has remained relevant due to its high ratings on the “unintentional comedy scale”. In fact, in some circles, the film about cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers, or CHUDS, who emerge from Manhattan’s sewers to feed on unsuspecting prey is a cult favorite. While I respectfully disagree, there’s no denying that you can still find plenty of Saturday night fun with CHUD and popcorn, but it may not be for the reasons anticipated by those involved in the project.
As a director Play Douglasfrom the camp menagerie, we find our main character, AJ “The Reverend” Shepherd (Daniel Stern) as the manager of a soup kitchen for homeless people who call New York’s abandoned subway tunnels home. Stern is an excellent comedian who has carved out a great career by not taking himself too seriously. In CHUD, Stern is a young artist who portrays AJ as a fiercely overworked protector of his wayward clients and when he notices some of them mysteriously missing, he takes action – melodramatic actions. Deciding to involve the police, AJ meets Captain Bosch (Christopher Curry) who is initially skeptical, but when his wife is among the missing persons, he is all right with AJ and the two team up as the schlocky Starsky and Hutch in an effort to get to the bottom of it.
Another concerned citizen is George Cooper (John heard) who apparently gave up a very lucrative and well-paid job as a fashion photographer to document the lives of illegal homeless people. Aside from his character’s bad career decision, it’s also his passion. So when he also decides to venture into the tunnels in an effort to document the disturbing disappearances, we have an investigative dream team of pretty good actors who make seriously questionable dramatic choices and are approached by various subterranean inhabitants of the human race who are depicted. like urban hillbillies who are either madly mad or unable to speak in full sentences. The result is very high notes in misdirected pulp that can make you cough up popcorn kernels of laughter instead of fear. Nonetheless, they’re on the case, and a mysterious menace hangs around every dark corner and serpentine abandoned railroad.
But what are CHUDs and why did they suddenly appear in the heart of the New York underground? More and more people are disappearing as the cannibal monsters have been forced to the surface and are driving people off the streets because the food supply in the tunnels has dwindled. Sounds like something out of the HG Wells classic The time machine, is not it ? Subterranean Morlocks who are supported by the helpless and itinerant Eloi population. Maybe it’s Cheek’s homage to one of the greatest sci-fi horror stories ever created or maybe just pure coincidence? We’ll let you decide. The creatures that are supposed to chill us to the bone are not Morlocks. Instead, they appear as a bunch of misfit abominations. A collection of half-gorns from star trek and half sleestaks of Land of the Lost. Their eyes are a bulbous, glowing yellow and their movements are at an icy pace. These B-level monstrosities move so slowly that the Titanic could have easily avoided them. The scare jumps are more like jump cuts to a close shot of a dagger-toothed lizard followed by some screaming and a bucket of blood thrown right off the camera. And when our director asks the camera to roll out to get a better view of our terrifying marauders, it becomes very apparent that the CHUDs are little more than uncredited extras and production assistants who have been tricked into donning ridiculously restrictive scaly costumes. . The editing and special effects are so amateur that even Russian film judges should award a 10 on the “unintentional comedy scale”.
As our trio of protagonists get nowhere with the suspicious and reckless bureaucrats above ground, they continue to dig into the mystery of the CHUDs. After some comical clashes with the creatures, they manage to uncover some well-placed top-secret files that explain everything. The cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers are actually the result of a plot by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to cover up the toxic spill, or a program called VScontamination Hdanger yourban DThe waste somehow turned humans into radioactive mutants. Unfortunately, we lose Captain Bosch to a gunshot to the back, as the head of the Commission must keep his dastardly deeds from being exposed to the public, but not before he can free the trapped AJ and George from a precarious situation within the sewers. They immediately avenge his death and kill the commissioner in a disappointing sequence involving an explosive vehicle that looks more like an ice cream truck.
And that’s all! Generate credits. Fade to black. No links between several details and no explanation of the consequences for the people involved. Perhaps it’s a fitting ending for a film that marked a period of horror where even a film with a shoestring budget that’s just a rung above a home movie could gain wide release and earn $4.7 million at the box office. A tribute to a bygone era of trashy 80s cinema that, if you like laughing at movies that are supposed to be serious, you really should see. So the next time you’re browsing through your options looking for something to watch, ignore the comedy suggestions and search CHUD streaming now on Amazon Prime. With its high “so bad it’s good” quotient, it makes for fun on a quiet Saturday night.