in Shocktober

C.H.U.D. (1984)

I can’t imagine there’s anyone who sincerely likes C.H.U.D. It has to be one of those movies that people only love in an ironic way. What’s the appeal exactly? First of all, I think it has something to do with that title. It has a nice ring to it and once you find out it stands for “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller” it only becomes that much nicer. I’d heard jokes made at this movie’s expense for years, most notably on The Simpsons. So it was a special day when I sat down to watch C.H.U.D. Too bad it’s a really boring movie.

Basically, homeless people are being mysteriously murdered by unseen creatures inhabiting the bowels of New York City. George Cooper (John Heard) is a photographer on a current assignment to photograph the seedy homeless population and is eventually brought face to face with the creatures. Meanwhile, “The Reverend” (Daniel Stern) who runs a local homeless shelter believes the disappearances are part of a government cover-up. So he goes out to unravel the mystery. What follows is a series of peek-a-boo scare moments and drawn-out conversations that go nowhere.

I wonder, does anyone see C.H.U.D for any other reason than wanting to see monsters? I don’t think so. Which only makes it worse when you realize the CHUD’s are barely seen in the movie. All we ever get are quick glimpses and even then they don’t look that great. It’s like a monster movie without monsters. So then all we have are the conversation scenes with John Heard and Daniel Stern. Interesting that they both went on to star in the hit blockbuster Home Alone. I don’t know what that means but for some reason it’s kind of funny.

Another future notable in C.H.U.D is John Goodman as “Cop in Diner”. He doesn’t say or do much but it’s probably the best part of the movie. Sadly, it’s not enough for me to recommend this movie. But if you’re a Simpsons fan and want to know why Homer is always mentioning CHUDs then by all means, see this movie. If not, don’t waste your time with this underwhelming under dweller.

John Goodman. More like John Great-man.