C.H.U.D. is an acronym for “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller” & that should be enough to sell you on this movie.
Starring John Heard, Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry, the movie opens with an unknown woman being attacked by a creature that comes out of a manhole. It’s dark & the most we see as viewers are a pair of grotesque hands. It’s an intriguing start.
A police captain called Bosch (Christopher Curry) is investigating a worrying amount of homeless disappearances. Most coming from the ‘undergrounders’, a group that live within the city sewers.
Bosch meets A.J. “The Reverend” Shepherd (Daniel Stern), who runs the local homeless shelter. A man with a good heart & one desperate to help his friends. He believes he has proof that the government is covering up the moving of nuclear materials under the city.
Meanwhile, George Cooper (John Heard), a fashion photographer is working on a project that involves photographing the ‘undergrounders’. His time spent with them uncovers a dark truth. There are monsters lurking beneath the streets. Ones that were once human, but have been mutated by chemical waste under the city. These creatures have been feeding on the underground population but with food becoming scarce they have resorted to coming to the surface through sewer manholes in order to feed.
It’s up to Bosch, A.J. & George to put a stop to the killings & reveal the government’s shady actions.
C.H.U.D. is gloriously 80s in tone & style. The story is solid, the effects are great & the acting top-notch. Combined it makes for a very entertaining & satisfying watch, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Even though it has a message about government coverups & the environment, it’s at best, a side-point to the real story & that is the monsters under the streets. The effects are really good, the monsters looking delightfully grotesque while showcasing super-violent tendencies. They feel like legitimate threats & when they attack only death will follow.
Easily the most memorable thing about C.H.U.D. though is the cast. The leads all doing brilliantly with a pretty silly story. Characters are introduced, grow & reach a logical conclusion by time the credits roll. John Heard in particular stands out with his character being detailed & deep. His conversation with his girlfriend regarding an unplanned pregnancy showcases such range. You’ll believe every word that comes out of his mouth.
C.H.U.D. is showing its age now though. Still, it’s entertaining fluff that is well worth a watch if you enjoy your 80’s monster horrors!