Blu-ray Review: C.H.U.D. (1984)

Distributor: Arrow Video

MPAA Classification: R

Director: Douglas Cheek

Starring: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist

C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) is a near-perfect encapsulation of pure ’80s cheese, overacting, practical monsters, evil government agencies and off-the-rails monster story, and in late 2016 the US got a Blu-ray release from the wonderful folks at Arrow Video. The disc is packed with extras and information about the film, done in a quality we have all come to expect from Arrow Video but product quality aside, does C.H.U.D. still hold up after all these years?

The story revolves around an unknown government agency that disposed of waste under Manhattan, New York with a program called Contaminated Waste Urban Disposal (I wonder how long it took to come up with these two acronyms for C.H.U.D.?). This disposed-of waste combined with radiation that was dumped underground, turning the homeless people that slept in the tunnel into cannibalistic monsters. A photographer (played by James Heard) who took pictures of the homeless in the tunnels, a former crook (played by Daniel Stern) who works in a soup kitchen to feed those who live under the streets and a police captain (played by Christopher Curry) whose wife was eaten by said monsters all form a loose alliance to get to the bottom of what is going on and stop the evil government agency from blowing up the evidence in the sewers along with the monsters.

C.H.U.D. is both overacted and super cheesy at times and is almost a serious movie at others… almost. The chemistry between Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry is awesome and yeah, it’s over the top but after a while it gets very believable. The scenes with Stern and John Heard in the tunnels are some of the craziest and best in the movie. Sure, there are plot holes – what happens to all the monsters in the apartment building when the sewer blows up? Do they find them? Does the mother and son survive? Why does Heard’s girlfriend Lauren (played by Kim Greist) speed to the epicentre of monsters in the police car after she escapes them in the apartment? – but who cares? They don’t ruin the fun of the movie and in the end we are left with a film, like The Stuff from the same era for example, that not only holds up but is still fun to watch and love over 30 years later. This release was a restoration and it looks fantastic on Blu-ray, still maintaining the quality of ’80s horror we all love but cleaned up enough to present an excellent product for audiences. The cast and crew commentary is absolutely hysterical. That group had a lot of fun looking back on it and this alone is worth the price of purchase.

C.H.U.D.

Special Features: Audio commentary by director Douglas Cheek, writer Shepard Abbott and actors John Heard, Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry, brand new crew interviews, original theatrical trailer, reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford, collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film (first pressing only).

US Release Date: 22nd November 2016

Another fine product from Arrow. The cast and crew commentary is absolutely hysterical. That group had a lot of fun looking back on it and this alone is worth the price of purchase. Great nostalgia, great product, this is one to purchase. It has something for all horror fans and collectors alike.

Arrow Films – Website

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