Blu-ray Movie Review – C.H.U.D. (1984)

Directed by Douglas Cheek
Courtesy of Arrow Video & MVD Distribution
Original Year of Release: 1984
Blu-ray Release Date: November 22, 2016


When someone mentions the movie title C.H.U.D., I am immediately reminded of my ten year-old self and the myriad of nightmares the film caused me. I’m not sure what about it spooked me so bad, but I have a feeling it was the creatures’ glowing eyes; those stand out in my head for some reason. As a result of these night terrors, C.H.U.D. literally “haunted” me for a couple of years.

Later, in my teen years, I saw the film again, but this time I loved it. Granted, by that time I had become pretty desensitized to a lot horror had to offer, but I still considered the movie a good time. So when I heard Arrow and MVD were releasing it on Blu-ray, I decided to give it yet another look. I’m happy to report the film stands the test of time, and although it is pretty tame compared to today’s standards, it’s still a worthy addition to any horror library.

If you are not familiar with C.H.U.D., here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Arrow Video & MVD Distribution:

From the subterranean depths it crawls! Finally making its long-awaited debut on Blu-ray, director Douglas Cheek’s cult 80s favorite C.H.U.D. is the ultimate underground movie experience.

In downtown Manhattan, a police captain’s hunt for his missing wife leads to the discovery of a series of mysterious disappearances in the area. Extending his search into the tunnels and sewers below the city streets, it soon becomes clear that something monstrous is lurking in that subterranean world and it won’t stay there much longer…

Starring John Heard (Home Alone) and Christopher Curry (Starship Troopers) alongside an early appearance from John Goodman, C.H.U.D. has justifiably built up a huge cult following in the years since its release in 1984, with one of the most iconic creature designs of the period.

I find it curious that C.H.U.D. is the only film director Douglas Cheek made. I would be interested to know why. I understand C.H.U.D. was met with mixed reviews back in ’84, which perhaps kept Cheek from doing anything else. Regardless, he is responsible for a pop cultural iconic acronym that can still be translated by the majority of the mainstream public above the age of 30.

The HD restoration of C.H.U.D. looks very good. I saw the DVD version a year or so ago, and this upgrade looks miles better. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, the darker scenes still look a bit grainy, but I understand this happens sometimes in restorations, as the color black is harder to restore for some reason. This is not a detractor from the film, however, just a simple observation.

The acting is pretty solid, with John Heard, Daniel Stern, and Christopher Curry sharing the spotlight for lead characters. I was very interested to see Stern doing serious drama, as I’m used to him in comedic roles.

The special effects in C.H.U.D. are unfortunately minimal, due to budget constraints. We only get a few glimpses of the creatures, but what we do get to see is still decent. You have to look at the time period and the money with which the production crew had to use; practical effects were very expensive. The special effects team does a great job utilizing their funds, and the resulting mutants are campy yet terrifying.

C.H.U.D. is an excellent trip down memory lane, and it’s a great creature feature to add to your collection. I highly recommend this iconic piece of 80s cinema, and I suggest you give it a look soon. I only hope C.H.U.D. 2: BUD THE C.H.U.D. is on Arrow and MVD’s radar in the near future! The Blu-ray’s Special Edition contents include:

• Brand new restoration from original film elements
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original Uncompressed Mono PCM audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Audio commentary by director Douglas Cheek, writer Shepard Abbott, and actors John Heard, Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry
• Brand new crew interviews
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film

The film is available now.


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