BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
There was a time in America when we surrendered to the idea of nuclear war. It was bound to happen. Why fight it? This attitude was reflected in our art and in our entertainment. There was no escape. Nuclear fallout and toxic waste tainted a lot of science fiction and horror, too. The low-budget thrill of C.H.U.D. is a prime example of the fear that was being marketed. And we bought plenty.
With much thanks to Arrow Video, the long-awaited debut of this cult classic in high-definition does not disappoint. Everything you originally loved about this film has been dynamically handled with this 2K film transfer. From the top of the buildings to the sewer life deep below the bustling streets of New York City, C.H.U.D. simply has never looked as good as it does right now.
The environmentally-themed horror film is directed by Douglas Cheek and features a starring role from John Heard as George Cooper, a one-time fashion photographer who now spends his lens time photographing the growing homeless population of the city. After discovering that his girlfriend (Kim Greist) is pregnant, he finds himself faced with a lot of decisions to make. He must be a man of action.
Co-starring Daniel Stern as The Reverend, a man responsible for feeding and sheltering the homeless, and Christopher Curry as Captain Bosch, who recently lost his wife to a sudden disappearance, C.H.U.D. is the intersection where three men deal with their past, their present, and their future while facing a nightmare creation born from government conveniences.
Nuclear proliferation has a nasty side effect and that toxic waste must be deposited somewhere unseen. What better place is there than among the unwanted homeless of the city? But no one truly knows the effects of prolonged exposure to the waste. And what happens when one of the starving and lonely decide to snack upon what the government leaves behind? C.H.U.D. is what happens and these Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers are pissed and hungry.
The creations – now coming up to the surface for a little pay-to-pay action - aren’t helping their cause. They just want to feed on some fresh meat. This means that no one is safe. You see, the homeless just don’t taste as good as the upper classes. And their yellow glowing eyes and slimy skin constantly need nourishment from the softest of skin.
With the release of C.H.U.D. and its positive performance at the theater, it seemed New York City had found one way to deal with the homeless. Poison them. Awful, I know, but, like I said, this was the territory of our entertainment when the fear of WWIII finally broke. With SOLID creature designs by John Caglione, Jr., a Dick Smith protégé, and a finely-tuned sense of pacing, the film became an unforgettable slice of b-grade entertainment.
Three decades later, C.H.U.D. remains permanently locked in the 1980s. Someone always talks about remaking it. No one does. That’s a good thing. You simply don’t fuck with cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers.
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 88 mins
Director: Douglas Cheek
Writer: Parnell Hall
Cast: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry
Genre: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline: A recent article in a New York newspaper reported that there were large colonies of people living under the city... The paper was incorrect. What is living under the city is not human. C.H.U.D. is under the city.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Are you kidding? Your guy's got a camera. Mine's got a flamethrower."
Theatrical Distributor: New World Pictures
Release Date: August 31, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: November 22, 2016
Synopsis: A bizarre series of murders in New York City seems to point toward the existence of a race of mutant cannibals living under the streets.
Home Video Distributor: Arrow
Available on Blu-ray - November 22, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: LPCM Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Region A
C.H.U.D. has been exclusively restored in 2K resolution by Arrow Films. It is presented in its original aspect of 1.85:1 and features an uncompressed PCM mono track. With contrast high and details tweaked to the max, the 1080p transfer of C.H.U.D. is a nice spectacle of refocused vision. The practical effects are stunning and the gritty details have a new definition. The city – both above and below ground – is crisp and full of bustling life and shadows that stretch deep and dark.
There are two separate commentaries: one features composers Martin Cooper and David Hughes and an isolated score and the second with a lively cast and crew. Actors Daniel Stern, John Heard, and Christopher Curry join director Douglas Cheek and writer Shepard Abbott for an anecdotal celebration of the movie.
The 2-disc limited edition set is a solid treasure trove of supplemental items. There are two cuts of the movie, NEW interviews with Production Designer William Bilowit and Special Make-up effects and creature designer John Caglione Jr., an extended cut of the shower scene, a behind the scenes gallery, and an original trailer. Also included (for the first pressing only) is a booklet containing stills from the film as well as a making-of essay by Michael Gingold and eversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford.
- A Dirty Look (19 min)
- Dweller Designs (12 min)
- Notes from Above Ground (9 min)
- Extended Shower Scene: (2 min)
- Behind-the-Scenes Gallery (6 min)