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Default C.H.U.D.




Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: January 4, 2001

Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 1/30/2001
MSRP: $24.98
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.77:1 | 16x9: Yes



The Story

inline Image George (John Heard) and his girlfriend Francine (Brenda Currin) have just moved into an apartment in New York city. George is a professional photographer, who just recently photographed several homeless people that live underneath the city, in the tunnels. Local head of police, Captain Bosch (Christopher Curry) has been battling a series of missing person reports in the Lafayette Street vicinity - the same area George and Francine live in. Bosch calls Chief O'Brien (Eddie Jones), telling him that he can no longer keep a lid on the missing person reports, which O'Brien has ordered him to do. O'Brien quickly tells him he has no choice and hangs up.

inline Image The police arrest a homeless woman in the Lafayette Street area for trying to steal an officer's gun. The homeless woman, Mrs. Monroe (Ruth Maleczech), was one of the people living under the city that George photographed. Having no one else to turn to, Mrs. Monroe calls George to have him bail her out of jail. George arrives and bails out Mrs. Monroe, who tells him that the gun was for her friend Victor (William Joseph Raymond). Victor was attacked by something in the sewer, and as a result has a section of his leg that's all torn up. He wanted a gun for protection. George goes with Mrs. Monroe to see Victor and take some photos of his torn up leg.

inline Image Captain Bosch heads down to a soup kitchen run by a man named A.J. (Daniel Stern). A.J. tells him that many of the "under grounders" - the homeless living in the tunnels underneath the city - have been disappearing at an alarming rate. The under grounders that are still around have been searching for weapons to protect themselves against something in the sewer tunnels. A.J. and Captain Bosch take George's photos of Victor's leg to Chief O'Brien and Mr. Wilson of the N.R.C. (Nuclear Regulatory Commission). Bosch tells them that he'll no longer cover up the missing people, explaining he has reason to believe the missing people are being murdered and that it is somehow tied to an underground probe being done by the N.R.C and E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency). Chief O'Brien and Wilson insist the findings are ridiculous; A.J. storms off, throwing Mr. Wilson's briefcase on the floor, swearing to deliver the photos to the press. Bosch picks up a file from the briefcase that has C.H.U.D. written on it. After receiving a phone call reporting that a C.H.U.D. has been found dead, Wilson finally explains what it is. The government has been storing toxic waste under the city, which has apparently mutated a homeless person into a hideous monster. The mutation is labeled C.H.U.D. - Canniblalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller.

inline Image Wilson insists the dead C.H.U.D. was the only one, that is was a freak accident and that there are no more of them. He's soon proven wrong when some of his men, along with several police officers, are killed underneath the city by other C.H.U.D's. Wilson plans on flooding the tunnels with gas to kill off the remaining C.H.U.D. Meanwhile, George heads down into an underground tunnel with Murphy (J.C. Quinn), a freelance reporter who believes something major has gone wrong under the city. When the tunnels are sealed off, both A.J. and George are trapped inside with lethal gases coming in. When C.H.U.D. begin to appear, they realize gas is the least of their problems. With gas filling the air and C.H.U.D.'s on their tail, they must somehow find a way to out of the sealed tunnels before it's too late.

inline Image C.H.U.D. was one of the movies I snuck off to watch many times during my childhood. Today is remains a guilty pleasure for me, partly because of its nostalgic value, but also because it's a fun, cheesy movie with some decent looking monsters. Monsters that are created from toxic waste - how original. Whatever it takes to get those green colored rubber monsters up on the screen is fine by me. A big complaint of mine is that the C.H.U.D. monsters don't get nearly enough screen time, which sucks because they're the best part of this movie. The acting is pretty decent overall. You'll see many future stars in the movie like Daniel Stern and John Heard from Home Alone, John Goodman from Roseanne, Sylvester Stalone and many others (Daniel Stern does a great job pointing them out in the commentary).

If you like cheesy monster movies, give C.H.U.D. a try. You might just like it! Anchor Bay has released C.H.U.D. in an extended version that runs nearly 9 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Something that is sure to please many fans, myself included.

Image Quality

inline Image C.H.U.D. is presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer in its original 1.77:1 aspect ratio. I was very impressed with the transfer given the age of the film and the fact that it was such a low budget movie. The image is consistently sharp; colors are slightly faded but you can't expect too much for a low budget movie. There are some light grain scenes, but they're few and far between. Also, a few minor blemishes such as scratches and nicks appear. Overall this is another great job done by Anchor Bay.

Sound

The sound is in Dolby Digital Mono. No distortion or back noises are evident, and dialogue was clear.

Supplemental Material

inline Image Given the movie has many people that went on to become stars in Hollywood, it probably wasn't too hard for Anchor Bay to round some of them up for a commentary track. What's amazing is that Anchor Bay managed to convince them to do a commentary track! Included on the track is director Douglas Cheek, writer Shepard Abbott, stars John Heard, Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry. This is a hilarious commentary track, one that I'd rank right up there with Evil Dead 2 in terms of entertainment value. Throughout the commentary you'll hear them goofing on one another, the monsters and nearly every other aspect of the movie. There's not too much useful information given, but it boils down to the same deal as Evil Dead 2 - with these types of movies it's often more fun to just listen to them goof on it, rather then discuss technical aspects. There is a bit of useful information that's dicussed though. Daniel Stern points out lots of famous actors of today that had bit parts in the movie. Douglas Cheek talks about the budget, how much the movie made and how many of the actors didn't get paid - including the three on this commentary track! The group also points out some of the deleted scenes that were added back in for this Anchor Bay DVD, and they also mention a few deleted scenes that didn't make it back in. But most of the track is just raw humor with the entire group goofing. Even though the group mentions they're still friends to this day, that's pretty obvious even if they didn't mention it. A special hats off to Daniel Stern, who I'm a big fan of. He was definitely the funniest and I loved listening to him bitch and moan throughout the commentary. He had me laughing hysterically a few times. This is a great track and the DVD is easily worth buying for the commentary alone.

inline Image Next is a behind-the-scenes photos gallery. There's a lot of cool photos in there, and it probably has more shots of the C.H.U.D. monsters than the actual movie has. Then there's a theatrical trailer that's 16x9 enhanced. Not heavily loaded with extras, but since the commentary was so enjoyable I'm rating supplements an A-.

Final Thoughts

Anchor Bay did a fine job on the transfer and sound. The movie itself will no doubt be loved by some and hated by others - it's up to you to decide. I enjoy it as a cheesy monster movie, but wouldn't really recommend it if you're looking for something particularly gory or scary. The gem on this DVD is the hilarious commentary track by members of C.H.U.D.'s cast and crew, including Daniel Sterns and John Heard. At $24.98, this DVD is an absolute steal - the commentary alone is worth that price.

Rating

Movie - B
Image Quality - B+
Sound - B+
Supplements - A-

Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • 27 Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Digital Mono

Supplements
  • Audio Commentary with Director Douglas Cheek, Writer Shepard Abbott, Stars John Heard, Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery

Other Pictures

 

 

Extras
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