bill-swift - May 23, 2013
When I first moved to New York City several years ago I liked to seek out places I'd seen in movies. The Ghostbusters' firehouse in Tribeca, the park by the Queenboro bridge from Manhattan, and The Godfather's house in Staten Island. But I only had to look down at my feet at a manhole cover to think about all the C.H.U.D.s that were hankering to eat me. C.H.U.D. was ahead of its time in a way. It addressed both the problems of the environmental impact of toxic waste as well as the growing homeless population in New York. But really it's all about the goofy monsters and their love of eating people that make this movie so wonderfully terrible.
C.H.U.D is an acronym for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller. It seems that some crooked politicians have been dumping toxic waste in the sewers and this has mutated the homeless people that live underground into monsters with a taste for man flesh. Naturally. John Heard stars as a photographer doing an assignment photographing the city's homeless population when he learns that they have been disappearing. He teams up with Daniel Stern, (you know, from City Slickers, Home Alone, and the voice of adult Kevin from The Wonder Years), who plays "The Reverend" to find out what's happening. They discover the C.H.U.D.s and the conspiracy that led to their creation and have to figure out a way to stop them before they eat everyone!
The message of the movie is laid on pretty thick. Government complicity in causing pollution, the general lack of care for homeless people, and the deliciousness of human flesh is very much on the screenwriter's mind. The only problem is that I don't really see what solution he offers other than saying, "You better be nice to homeless folks and recycle or they will become monsters and eat you." An important lesson. The movie is a classic in the of mid-eighties schlocktacular sci-fi/horror genre. It was really the second coming of the B-monster movies from the 50's. C.H.U.D. definitely has a bit of The Blob and even Godzilla in its DNA. Only the rubber lizard costume from Godzilla looks like The Matrix compared to the rubber masks in C.H.U.D. even though it was made 30 years before. Watch it today and give the homeless dude on the corner a dollar tomorrow...or else!