Monday, October 24, 2016

31 Days of Horror- Day 24: C.H.U.D. (1984)

(dir. Douglas Cheek)

New World Pictures
*First time viewing

A police officer, a shelter volunteer, and a photographer investigate the disappearance of NYC’s homeless population to creatures living in the sewers.

C.H.U.D. is one of those cult classics that I’ve heard about for years, one that I was told was an absolute must-watch. So I watched C.H.U.D. and…well, it’s definitely not good. The C-movie plot about creatures living in the sewers in NY is intriguing enough and its themes about humanity’s irresponsibility with radioactive waste is, at least in theory, a successor of the giant monster movies from the 60s that focused so heavily on nuclear fallout. But C.H.U.D. never manages to use these elements in any way that’s adds to a potentially relevant conversation or create a frightening scenario about a government that doesn’t care to see the most invisible portion of its population. C.H.U.D. plods along through a mystery that’s never mysterious enough and a monster movie that never takes full advantage of its monsters.

The design of the C.H.U.D. (cannibalistic humanoid underground dweller) is pretty neat looking, but they are used so sporadically throughout the film that they feel like background aspects in a movie that’s more interested in mundane preachiness than horror. There are some good ideas buried with these creatures in the sewer, but Cheek’s direction has all the personality of a Sunday afternoon TV movie in the 80s. With so many 80s horror movies being remade, C.H.U.D. is definitely one that could use a new vision to tackle today’s environmental concerns.

Scare Factor: 0/5 I wish someone had told me that I didn’t have to spend my time watching C.H.U.D., so my gift to you this Halloween season is this advice: don’t watch C.H.U.D. unless you’ve got plans to remake it.

**Available to watch on Hulu

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