|31 Days of Horror: Day 5|
|I'm saying you're an unsympathetic dick, dick.|
|...or all three|
|"You forgot to describe me as 'probably contagious'"|
|"Sure beats the coal mine we must have just emerged from"|
Let's talk about the acting in C.H.U.D., shall we? There are some decent actors in this movie, after all. Jon Polito, John Goodman, and (to a far lesser extent) Jay Thomas all make early career appearances, but they are extremely bit parts.
|Above: John Goodman, moments before the only time something in a movie ate him|
Christopher Curry was pretty terrible as Bosch, but he rocks a pretty nice cop 'stache. I don't understand the early 80s and the insistence on giving Kim Greist work, but this is yet another movie that casts her as a supposedly beautiful and interesting love interest for the lead. I haven't seen it work yet, but at least I did get to see her sprayed with blood this time.
|With that vacant expression, this looks more like hazing than horror|
C.H.U.D. is the only movie Douglas Cheek ever directed. He apparently got the gig thanks to Daniel Stern and John Heard stumping for him. Whatever the cause, he didn't do a very good job. It's certainly not entirely his fault, but there isn't a single well-assembled scene in this movie. There is no suspense or terror or horror. Of course, this is a movie about Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, so it's probably pretty stupid. But that doesn't explain why my favorite scene in the entire film is this one:
AJ is being tailed by Alligator Shirt. AJ stops to make a call on a payphone. Alligator Shirt hangs up the phone before AJ can dial (it was a close tail), grabs the change, and then eats it. And then they just look at each other. Not a word has been said during this entire exchange.I couldn't stop laughing. I actually rewound that part to make sure it really happened. Stern's puzzled look, paired with the blank smugness of Alligator Shirt was so beautifully awkward. I can guarantee that Cheek had something other than abject hilarity in mind when he filmed that scene. But it is really fair to lay all the blame on the director? After all, somebody wrote a script for this.
CHUDFacts (which is an interesting, if sad, read), large chunks of the movie were ad-libbed or rewritten by Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry (IMDb even lists them as uncredited writers). Given how it turned out, I wonder if this was anything like Sam Jackson signing on for Snakes on a Plane?
|"We signed on to make a movie about Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, dammit!"|
This is a horror movie, though, and C.H.U.D. does have "cannibalistic" creatures in it...how good is this movie by horror standards? First of all, I am curious as to what makes these creatures cannibals. We don't see C.H.U.D.s eating other C.H.U.D.s, we see them eating people; sure, we later learn that C.H.U.D.s are mutated people (who somehow all mutate the same way), but doesn't the description of them as "humanoid" kind of negate the cannibalism? Am I being too nitpicky?
|Considering that I am not questioning them sharing the same wardrobe, the answer is "yes"|
I truly believe C.H.U.D. is worth watching. Is it dumb? Yes. Is it poorly made? Unapologetically so. Is it a little slow getting to the C.H.U.D.s? Definitely. Despite all that, I think this movie is a pretty fun watch. I might not recommend watching it alone and/or sober, but I think there is something lovably goofy at the core of this concept. (Hint: that "something" is the acronym C.H.U.D.)