STARRING: John Heard, Daniel
Stern, Kim Greist, Brenda Currin, Justin Hall, Christopher Curry, Michael
O'Hare, John Goodman
1984, 90 Minutes, Directed by:
Woody Allen’s Manhattan was a cinematic love song to New York, then
surely C.H.U.D. is its hate song. The city rarely looks as grimy and
plain cack on celluloid as it does here - definitely an ironic paean to
Reaganomics: dirty streets, strewn with garbage and overrun by homeless people!
Anyway, C.H.U.D. stands for
Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, derelicts turned into
cheesy-looking monsters with bright shiny eyes thanks to some illegal toxic
dumping in the city’s underground sewers.
C.H.U.D. is low-budget rubbish
of course, but it is a mystery how they got both Daniel Stern and John Heard to
star in it. (Even John Goodman makes a cameo as a wise-ass cop!) John Heard
plays an asshole photographer who helps uncover the conspiracy to hush things up
and Daniel Stern is the wacky soup kitchen manager who helps him.
Even if you’re in a
Mystery Science Theater 3000 kinda mood
C.H.U.D. never falls into the “so-bad-its-good-category” because the
movie is simply too dull and way too talky. (There is also no female nudity of
any sort either alas.)
was followed by a comedy sequel in 1989 titled C.H.U.D. II - Bud the Chud,
which by all accounts was even worse than its predecessor. C.H.U.D. also
became a pop cultural byword when Homer Simpson referred to the movie in the
1997 Simpsons episode entitled The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson
(#9.1). Further references include Donnie Darko,
Angel, South Park and Pushing Daisies.