ConfidentialTOP SECRET!!!

AT the risk of being hated (even more) I am writing and publishing this review. I am well aware of fact that for most of you horror fans out there C.H.U.D  is one of the best B-horrors ever, but I simply can’t ignore how much boring, unscary and cheesy this movie is. Sure, premise is not bad (sewer creatures  rising up in city of New York) but that’s pretty much it. Just a decent premise with a horrible, dull, and once again, cheesy (too cheesy even for cheesy  80s) realization.

Opening scene is, at the same, the best shot scene in this movie (though I can’t say it is great scene in general). An unescorted woman walks the dog in a  middle of night through dark back alley in a dangerous neighborhood (which is very reasonable thing for every woman to do) when suddenly something drags her  down into the sewer (and her dog too). A sewer lid gets closed and that is the sign for movie title “C.H.U.D” to pop-up. Real breathtaking beginning. So  naturally, the next scene takes us to some more relaxing place. Like an apartment. This apartment belongs to George Cooper (played by John Heard) a  photographer who sometimes gets hired by local reporter. At this time he has been hired to take a photos of nearby homeless people. The problem is that the  most of those people are missing. George lives with his ugly girlfriend and wannabe model Lauren (played by Kim Greist). She is getting ready for shooting a  perfume commercial and she is going to do it naked (not the smartest marketing strategy, considering her looks). And George is going to do shooting! Next is  round through police station where Captain Bosch (played by Cristopher Curry) is investigating missing persons. Truth to be told, he actually tries to put   those cases under rag. Bosch gets a call to come and interrogate homeless woman who tried to steal a gun from a police officer. She refuses to speak and uses her only phone call to call George while he was on shooting session. An devastating ugly woman police officer Sanderson (played by Cordis Heard) gives to  Bosch another missing persons report. Report has been filled by Sheppard – an old acquaintance of Bosch. Sheppard, now known as The Reverend (played by Daniel Stern), runs soup-kitchen where all of homeless people are going to eat. Apparently most of them live underground, in a sewer system. Problem is that over 10 of his regular guests have been missing in last two weeks. But not only homeless people are going missing. Remember the naive woman from the beginning of the movie? Well, she turns out to be Bosch’s wife Flora (played by Laure Mattos). HA! Now we have personal motive too. On the top of it, Bosch gets to listen to mad homeless man preaching about mysterious, powerful, underground beings. Meanwhile, homeless woman Mrs. Monroe (played by Ruth Maleczech) takes George to her underground dwelling to show him why she tried to steal a gun. Something attacked her brother Victor (played by William Joseph Raymond) and inflicted him some nasty, disgusting injuries. George seemed to be much more interested in moaning about low living conditions than in actual mysterious attack.

When it heals there will be cool scarWhen it heals it will be cool scar.

Back to Bosch. Him and Reverend also went down the gutter. Reverend told him a story about how he finds many things labeled “NRC” (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) down there. So, they start exploring sewers using a toy Geiger counter. But besides high level of radiation they didn’t find anything  interesting. Now back again to George and Lauren (funny thing is how movie shuffles scenes between these 4 persons only for more than 30 minutes). Ugly Laure tells to George that she is pregnant and not sure whether she should give a birth to that kid (considering her looks and George’s intelligence I say that  there is a lot of room for doubt). And while they were arguing in safety of their apartment, something outside took an old man from phone booth and ate him! But it left alive a little girl who was with old man. I guess it didn’t want dessert.

And that would be...somethingAnd that would be…something

Girl somehow reported this. I don’t see how since she is only 8 years old and she has just seen monster ate her grandfather. But to director Douglas Cheek,  state of shock in such situation didn’t seem to be reasonable thing to happen. So ok, little girl calmly reported everything to police. That was the last  drop for Captain Bosch, who obviously knows more about this than he has told. So, with both pictures and Geiger counter him and Reverend went to confront NRC commissioners and NRC representative Wilson (played by George Martin). After hard conversation, many denials and Reverend whose gone nuts Wilson finally  reveals that they are hiding nuclear waste under the streets because they weren’t able to transport it further due to environmental agency ban. Also, he  reveals an existence of C.H.U.D, which stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller. I guess it is some kind of mutated homeless man (it sure looks  homeless). And that is exactly what Wilson thinks. And the news of finding a dead C.H.U.D. have reached him. After autopsy  of C.H.U.D. was over Wilson decides to clean up things in sewer, convinced that this was the only C.H.U.D. that existed. Bosch doesn’t share his opinion so he sends several men armed  with flamethrowers to clear up the way for Wilson’s men. But another C.H.U.D. kills them all which is represented with breaking a camera signal. Yeah, the  budget was too cheap to show us much of the monsters. Wilson now shows full potential of his dementia. He plans to let a gas through entire sewer system and  then blow up entire sector of the city. And not only that. Wilson looks like an evil version of Walt Disney (though I am not sure that there is any other  version of Walt Disney) and acts like Hitler. I am not sure if combination of Disney’s looks and Hitler’s attitude in one character is just a coincidence or  director’s attempt to send a message.

The man with attitudeThe man with attitude!

Everybody to the sewers!!! Full scale invasion!!! On one side there are George and investigation reporter Murphy (played by J. C. Quinn). Actually, Murphy  was hanging around from the very beginning of the movie but I didn’t find his role important enough to mention him earlier in this review. I see that  director Douglas Cheek shares my opinion since Murphy got disemboweled and eaten just few moments after he stepped into sewers. Well, no Pulitzer prize for  him it seems. On the other side of sewers, Reverend and insane homeless man Val (played by Graham Beckel) discovered a bunch of C.H.U.D.s eating toxic waste. Val meets the same fate as Murphy. At least one mouth less to feed. And someone locked up the Reverend in sewers. On the surface Bosch finally finds his  missing wife Flora. Well, at least what is left of her.

Consider this a divorceConsider this a divorce!

It seems that what Bosch’s was feared off has come true. Driven by gas mutants started emerging on the surface and attacking people. In one of the most  ridiculous scenes ever Lauren, while she was under shower, gets abortion procedure performed by C.H.U.D.!!! If nothing else at least it ended her dilemma  whether she should continue or abort her pregnancy. George will be pissed off when he finds out but, for now, him and Reverend got reunited underground.  There they stumbled upon a shitload of toxic waste boxes. It turns out that C.H.U.D. doesn’t stand for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller. No, it  actually stands for Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal. So, Wilson was throwing toxic waste under New York for quite some time. Years, if you prefer. Which  made every of those poor homeless people go mutant. Mutants that looks like a vampires. Well, I lost it here. Anyway, while both of them are stunned by this  discover, Lauren fights against invasion of mutants with her katana!!! Man, this movie has everything!!!

Off with his head!

Wilson went completely insane!!! Situation is no more under his control and he can’t risk publicity. He trapped a lot of homeless people underground in order to blow them up all together with mutants and toxic waste. I guess he wanted to solve problems of poverty, threatening menace, environmental danger and his  ass being exposed with one blow. Though, I can’t say that blowing up one part of the city can be considered as a discrete disposing of evidences. So, in his  rampage, he shoots the cop, attacks Bosch, kicks Murphy’s head and beat the homeless people. Eventually, he dies in explosion of his van. And his van had  exploded because it’s front wheel fell into open sewer hatch. The end and complete, utter crap!

Conclusion: When I asked my father if he remembers C.H.U.D. he said that in time when this movie was released he was lying in hospital due to broken leg. I  felt envy. Broken leg is much better than watching this incredibly dull and boring piece of crap. I really don’t know why this movie is so respected among  horror fans. Premise sounds interesting but, basically, it is bad concept rip-off of Alligator (1980). Entire movie relies on poor attempts (as poor as those unlucky homeless people) to shock and scary us, jumping from effect to effect, not tying it at all, with rather incoherent plot. Characters are just pushed  into the plot through many of it’s holes. It feels like they are there just because of circumstances. For example, George has almost nothing to do with  actual story and his role here is forced. Director tried to make us to ignore that by putting the great John Heard (Home Alone) but his character here is  charmless and as much likeable as boil on your ass. And all of this gets mixed up with conspiracy and government’s garbage man. I am well aware of director’s cut and sequel but there is no way in hell that I am going to watch either of those in distant future.


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