Director: Douglas Cheek
Screenplay: Parnell Hall
Release: Arrow Video
There is one major flaw in looking back at classic films. What is the possibility that someone will be looking right here, right now, at this blog to learn about a classic film? I don’t know. Well, high, I would hope. I suppose it s worth separating classic film out by popular and genre. Ghostbusters was released in 1984. It would be foolish to write a review if that film as nobody needs it. C.H.U.D. also came out in 1984, I wouldn’t need this, but who knows, you might.
C.H.U.D. is a horror/sci-fi film by Douglas Cheek written by Andrew Bonime. If you listen to the commentary you may question how much writing Bonime contributed. More on that later. The film tells the story of Cannibalist Humanoid Underground Dwellers which are the result of leaked chemicals into the New York sewer system. Its a monster movie. John Heard (Kevin McCallister’s negligent father) is a photographer living with Kim Greist (Molly Graham from the masterful Manhunter) a model in New York City. Heard has given up fancy fashion photography for grittier awareness pictorials is NYC’s homeless population. After Heard is unable to locate a few subjects he seeks out assistance from Daniel Stern (one of the thugs who tried to kill Kevin McCallister) who works at a homeless shelter and soup kitchen. In their investigation he find some monsters and some toxic waste.
C.H.U.D. is an excellent example of a great bad 1980’s horror flick. This film hides a social message in a freight-fest. This mirrors the ideas that I have talked about with regards Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. It is more than just a reason to put naked women in peril and spritz blood on them. I am not suggesting that C.H.U.D. has a deep sociological imperative hidden under layers of mystery. This is a film highlighting the importance of ecological regulation. Plain and simple. But it is there and it is important.
I know this sounds like a broken record lately but Arrow has done another great job on this production. The film is 32 years old and you could only tell by looking at the design and fashion. While I strongly believe that any horror flick will perform better with quality surround sound I do not think it is necessary to remaster something so drastically different from the original for the sake of modernity. Overall, this is a great presentation.
Below is the full list of the special features but there is some really interesting content here. The commentary brings the principals back together for a commentary that is less film school and more beers with the creators. There’s a lot in there, especially Heard and Stern saying how many lines they wrote themselves and too many instances of them jokingly recasting the extras.
- Brand new restoration from the original film elements
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the Integral Cut from a new 2K film transfer
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the Original Theatrical Cut [Limited Edition Exclusive]
Original Uncompressed PCM Mono Audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary with director Douglas Cheek, writer Shepard Abbott, and actors John Heard, Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry
A Dirty Look– an interview with production designer William Bilowit
Dweller Designs – an interview with special make-up effects and creature creator John Caglione, Jr.
Notes from Above Ground: The NYC Locations of C.H.U.D. – featurette hosted by journalist Michael Gingold and filmmaker Ted Geoghegan
Extended Shower Scene
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford
Fully illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Michael Gingold [Limited Edition Exclusive]
If you are a fan of mid-budget 80’s sci-fi horror films then you have already watched C.H.U.D. If you are a fan then you owe it to yourself to pick this release up. This is the quality that I like to see. Recommended.
Director: 5 – Cinematography: 7 – Edit: 8 – Parity: 3 – Main performance: 6 – Else performance: 2 – Score: 6 – Sound: 5 – Story: 8 – Script: 6 – Effects: 6 – Design: 7 – Costumes: 5 – Keeps interest: 8 – Lasting: 10