I had never actually sat down to watch C.H.U.D. until it came up in my queue. I had heard about it since its release back in 1984, but it sounded to me like just another 80s B-movie.
While that may be true, C.H.U.D. does stand out from its peers.
First of all, it is a horror film with a message. The homeless population in New York, and frankly anywhere in the world, goes largely ignored. People who are homeless disappear or die with little or no interest from the rest of society, there passing often undocumented or simply becoming a part of the statistical data. They are treated as less-than-human. Couple this social problem with the issue of managing toxic-waste, and you have the makings for a horror film.
|A Moleman on steroids...|
C.H.U.D. manages to take itself seriously, despite the outrageous premise. The actors play their characters well, dealing with both the Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers who have run afoul of the Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal Project and the general social morass in a poignantly believable manner. Only George Cooper seems to be out of place as the photo-journalist who observes yet stands apart from the situation. As one of the protagonists of the film, he makes for a fairly shabby hero.
The special effects are also fair... typical for an 80s film with latex masks, glowing eyes, and gallons of fake blood. What really makes the film is its sets. The underground environs are disturbingly realistic, enhancing every dark shadow and strange noise.
|It's the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!|
Still, it is an 80s B-movie, not a masterpiece. Growing up in the 80s, I can understand why it had the impact that it did.