Director – Douglas Creek
Cast – John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist, Eddie Jones, John Ramsey, George Martin
Release Year – 1984
Reviewed by John of the Dead
C.H.U.D. is a film I used to own that was stolen from my immense DVD collection while living in Austin, Tx, and to this day I regret not re-purchasing it after that sad event. This mid-80s creature flick has garnered a strong following in the horror genre due to it getting so many things just right, and it remains one of my favorite 80s horror films despite it being one of the first I ever saw. A cool storyline and good direction make this a very enjoyable piece of 80s cheese that deserves more attention than it has been given, and deserves a viewing from you as well.
When a series of gruesome and bizarre murders plague the streets of Captain Bosch’s precinct, all indications and witness statements point to grotesque monsters living in the sewers. The idea is outlandish and hard to believe, but as the body count rises Captain Bosch learns that the statements are true and enlists the help of a reporter and an advocate for the homeless to learn what the creatures are and how to stop them.
With a title that stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller you would be insane to expect anything other than a brainless mess of a good time, and that is what C.H.U.D. is – a good time. From the get-go we are thrown into the cheesy creature antics that would adorn the film from time to time, and it does not take long before Pamell Hall’s storyline brings forth cheese from all angles. The dialogue is typical of this time period, and the character usage plays off in the most cliché ways possible, another enjoyable element of the 1980s horror scene. Watching Captain Bosch and crew trying to discern what is going on with the underground creatures was great and eventually we(and them) are exposed to a revelation regarding what lead to the creation of these blood-thirsty beings. The conflict provided was great and weighed heavily on our characters, which at the same time made for a very engaging film even when the creatures were not present on screen. That brings me to my only gripe against the film: I wish there was more creature action. The usage of the creatures is fantastic and we get some creepy scenes thanks to them, but they came few and far between and only left me wanting more of them – which is the reason this film received a 7-rating and not an 8-rating like it should have received.
This remains the only feature film to adorn director Douglas Creek’s resume, but at least he did well with this one. The atmosphere is great and the sets used, especially in the sewer scenes, were great and set up the film for some good horror. His execution of the creatures was awesome and I can honestly say that they are some of the scariest creatures I’ve ever seen, plus they also managed to deliver some good gore here and there. Acting-wise we get the usual performances associated with these films, which some may see as a bad thing but to me they only add to the fun these films provide so long as they have a positive director like Douglas Creek.
Overall, C.H.U.D. is an awesome horror experience that I recommend to all who enjoy 80s / creature horror. The atmosphere is fun, spooky, and the horror provided is top-notch thanks to great creature action. I really do wish that we would have been given more of the creatures, but nonetheless we get enough of them to warrant a truly positive rating.