Writer: Parnell Hall
Cast: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist
STEVE says: So many good things to say about C.H.U.D. - but I'm not going to go into them. The New York Times review from 1984 pretty much nailed it, so check that out if you want a critical analysis. Me, I'm using a different cultural yardstick to measure the film's awesomeness: The Simpsons.
- In the September 21, 1997 episode of The Simpsons, "The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson", Homer's recollection of his first trip to New York City ended with his falling in the sewer and quoting, "...and that's when the C.H.U.D.s came at me." Marge responds: "Of course you'll have a bad impression of New York if you only focus on the pimps and the C.H.U.D.s."
- In another episode of The Simpsons, "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder", Homer — when falling from a building with Otto on a bungee cord — goes down into an open manhole and sees various underground creatures, including Morlocks (from H.G. Wells "The Time Machine"), C.H.U.D.s and Molemen (with Hans Moleman as their leader).
- In yet another Simpsons episode, "Crook and Ladder", a videocassette of the film is seen at the beginning of a chain of videocassette boxes used as dominoes.
- Also when Homer takes Bart to see the Itchy and Scratchy Movie, Air Chud can be seen on the marquee. In fact, several variations of C.H.U.D. related titles are seen at the Springfield Multiplex throughout the series.
C.H.U.D. is the perfect B-movie, from its roots in 50s paranoia flicks right down to the silly rubber monsters with their phosphorescent eyes. The inevitable remake will no doubt use CGI C.H.U.D.s and ruin the whole effect. That's what let the Chainsaw remake down: Too Much Money. Some things were meant to be made on a shoestring, yeah?
Ahh, now that's better: an '80s horror movie I'm allowed to still love. Man, CHUD is the best movie ever. It looks, on the surface, like a cheeseball horror flick with silly looking demons under the bitumen. But it's really a dramatic, genuine picture about the state of the homeless. It's smart, it's funny, and it's got some great scares if you know where to look.
It's one of those B-movies where no one in it realises it's a B-movie and all play their parts like David Lean is behind the camera. Daniel Stern and John Heard just rock all the way through the movie, remaining utterly serious for the duration. They're CHUDs, you know? And yet these guys never for a second let you think the threat they pose is anything but realistic and catastrophic.
I love this movie for many reasons, but that's a big one -- the earnestness with which it's all carried out. This is a first-rate horror classic.