C.H.U.D. (1984 film)

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Promotional image for C.H.U.D. (1984 film)...

C.H.U.D., AKA C.H.U.D.: Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers; there was also a comedy/horror sequel (C.H.U.D. 2: Bud the Chud) of dubious faithfulness to the original film

Summary

"A recent NY Times article recently reported that there were large colonies of people living under the city... the paper is wrong: they are NOT people, they are C.H.U.D.: Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers!" A bizarre series of sudden disappearances on the streets of New York City seems to point toward something unsavory living in the sewers.

Details

  • Release Date: 1984
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Science Fiction
  • Setting: 1980s New york city (Delta Green)
  • Runtime: 1 hr 28 min
  • Starring: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry
  • Director: Douglas Cheek
  • Writer: Parnell Hall (screenplay), Shepard Abbott (story)
  • Producer/Production Co: C.H.U.D. Productions, New World Pictures, Bonime Productions
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • TVTropes: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: R (Violence, Adult Content, Profanity)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

After watching this for the first time since the 1980s, I was surprised that this wasn't as far from the spirit of Lovecraft as I thought likely: the underground civilization of homeless "undergrounders" living in the crumbling subterranean ruins of the city infrastructure alone supplies some interesting imagery, while the weird, freakish, mutant, cannibal monsters that have been eating the undergrounders and chasing them up to the surface, to discover a whole above-ground civilization of humans to eat aren't too far off in spirit from Lovecraft's Ghouls. Add in a Delta Green-friendly conspiracy that buried the toxic waste that created the mutants, and you've got a movie full of fun ideas to loot for RPG scenarios....

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • Scott Ashlin at 10,000 Mispent Hours and Counting (3.5/5 Stars) (link) - "The otherwise-unheard-of Douglas Cheek did a marvelous job holding together what has to have been an extremely difficult script to direct; I particularly like his use of intercutting within scenes to hold audience interest. Very few scenes in C.H.U.D. play all the way through without interruption. Most of the time, you’re actually watching two or even three scenes at once, chopped up into alternating segments. This has the effect of making the film move much faster than it would if edited more conventionally. All told, I think this movie deserves much more credit than it has thus far received."
  • Ryne Barber at The Moon is a Dead World (8.8/10) (link) - "The film has a large cast of characters, and the film’s triad of stories is often difficult to manage..."
  • Nat Brehmer at Wicked Horror (link) - "The movie is definitely better than a movie called C.H.U.D has any right to be. There’s a plot at work here and one that was clearly thought out, but it takes a little too long to get going.

Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

A bizarre series of sudden disappearances on the streets of New York City seems to point toward something unsavory living in the sewers: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been investigating and covering up the secret "urban disposal" of contamination hazards which, buried deep under the city, have been broken into by colonies of homeless "undergrounders", turning these unfortunate homeless people into a race of troglodytic, mutant, slimy cannibal humanoids with glowing eyes....


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • The government conspiracy claims that "C.H.U.D." stands for "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers" when caught using the term "C.H.U.D.", but that is for a cover story involving cannibal homeless people; it is revealed later in the movie that the acronym actually refers to a secret program, "Contamination Hazard: Urban Disposal", which has been secretly disposing of toxic and radioactive waste under cities.


Associated Mythos Elements

  • TO DO
  • race: "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers" (effectively, Ghouls)
  • organization: Nuclear Regulatory Commission (involved in the secret urban disposal of contamination hazards that caused the mutations, and the subsequent attempted cover-up)


Keeper Notes

  • In Delta Green, after a military/industrial complex conspiracy buries contamination hazards (such as toxic and radioactive waste or perhaps Mythos artifacts) for urban disposal under a city (say, Red Hook), tribes of homeless people (or perhaps Ghouls) living nearby in the sewers mutate into hideous man-eating monsters, chasing still-human (and often schizophrenic) "undergrounders" out of their secret homeless under-city and terrorizing people living and working in the streets above, while the government struggles to cover up the horror...