• RELEASE DATE: Now Available on Blu-ray (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
• WRITTEN BY: Parnell Hall, Shepard Abbott
• DIRECTED BY: Douglas Cheek
• STARRING: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry
-Reviewed by Daniel XIII
Ahh C.H.U.D.; that timeless tale of a race of underground monsters feasting upon the fine (and not so fine) citizens of ol’ Manhattan town. For me and my Coffin Club, this flick has been a classic since the days of video rentals and wasted weekends, so I was pleased as poison punch to hear those sexiful devils o’er at Arrow Video were givin’ it the ol’ royal treatment! Join me know as I lay my eerie eyeballs upon it and give ya the lurid low-down!
For those of you new to the wild n’ woolly world of C.H.U.D., here’s the skinny; when a group of homeless folks living beneath the city streets go missing, it’s up to a police lieutenant (who’s wife has also pulled a vanishing act), the proprietor of a soup kitchen, a photographer, and a reporter to solve the case…which naturally involves radioactive homeless people transformed into bitey monster mother fuckers and a governmental cover-up. Social commentary and monster mauling is slung six ways to Sunday with equal aplomb.
While a bit of a slow burn, and with minimal screen time for the titular creatures; C.H.U.D. may not be what the diabolical doctor ordered for some horror hounds; but for me it’s aces all the way! The leads have solid chemistry, the pace is brisk, and the effects, while not plentiful until the third act, provide some memorable (and awesome) creature designs and great gore.
Besides being a fun creature feature; C.H.U.D. is also a fascinating time-capsule of the grit and grime that composed the bulk of New York City in the 70’s and early ‘80’s. This is a city that looks every bit as dangerous as the monstrous mutants that utilize the citizenry as hors d’oeuvres; and it adds a ton of atmosphere to the piece and makes it seem like a lost flick from Larry Cohen’s oeuvre.
So, I love C.H.U.D., and I’d tell ya to buy this release based on the strength of the flick itself (which as an aside looks absolutely great in this brand new restoration of the Director’s cut of the film)…but; this being a “special edition” and all I’d be remiss not to tell you about each and every beastly bonus contained therein! First up you get two commentaries; an uproarious, anecdote filled track with the cast and crew (including director Douglas Cheek, writer Shepard Abbott, and actors John Heard, Daniel Stern, and Christopher Curry), and one from composers Martin Cooper and David A. Hughes (although this one plays out like a brief interview followed by the film’s score). Next there’s interviews with production designer William Bilowit, an interview with creature designer John Caglione Jr., and a look at the film’s locations as they appear today. Rounding out the package are an image gallery, an extended shower sequence (because bewbs), and the film’s trailer. Also included is the film’s theatrical cut on a separate disc.
C.H.U.D. is a fun creature feature that absolutely deserves a place in your creepy collection; and with the quality of the transfer and wealth of bonus features, there is no better edition than this release from Arrow!