Monday, May 9, 2016

C.H.U.D.


DVD time!

In NYC, something is amiss as creeping to the surface are quite hungry for human flesh. Toxic waste buried away in the sewers might just be part of the problem!




"You must be a really important fella, fella."
Said by a hungry reporter looking for a major story about the "underground people" named Murphy (JC Quinn) to renowned photographer, George Cooper (John Heard), who spent a period of time in a labyrinthine of underground tunnels of New York City with paupers. During the Reagan / Bush era of 80s urban blight was of significance to the movies. To not just take a shit on them Presidents, the 70s wasn't exactly a picturesque look at The Big Apple, either. Just the same, bum's and garbage, unemployment and booze, filth and poverty were all the rage in the ugly side of city life where the alleys and dark corners held a truth quite unpleasant. CHUD was a film that can be looked at as a spotlight on this very polarizing topic. Not to get too bogged down in the unpleasantries of thirty years ago, films like this can be viewed as time capsule cult curiosities not just to be enjoyed by 80s junk movie loyalists like yours truly.

I think junk like Street Trash and this could really, really be depressing if there wasn't content in them that served as a deterrent. Like green-skinned, lightbulb-eyed, sharp-taloned, cannibalistic monsters that once were human bums living in squalor underneath the city in block slots made home because "space in NYC doesn't typically come cheap".  Dirty faces and skin, ratty and bedraggled garb, dimestore liquor, and soup kitchen diets are what the homeless in urban hell come to life in the CHUDs and Street Trashs of 80s cult film.

CHUD is genuinely fascinated with the under-city culture ran afoul of government's naughty toxic waste disposal secret. That secret is under threat of exposure when a cop, Cptn Bosch (Christopher Curry), has a wife missing (the movie opens with his wife and dog being snatched away after walking too close to the sinister manhole) and sudden interest in why a number of underground homeless are going missing.


Heard wasn't too far removed from the likes of Cutter's Way & Cat People, but for some reason his career would at times lose its way. When you listen to the audio commentary it's clear he was reevaluating why on earth he wound up in this movie. He does have a wonderful moment with Kim Greist (Brazil & Manhunter) in regards to her being pregnant, with them warmly accepting the prospects of a family. Greist proves here she is quite good despite a later shower scene involving "unclogging a stoppage" causing a drain needing a wirehanger to spray blood all over the place (including the soap). And chopping the head off a CHUD thats neck elongated for whatever reason. There are plenty of such surreal moments that gave Stern and Heard the giggles on the audio commentary. Curry also couldn't hide his cringing during the commentary. Director Douglas Cheek obviously seemed ready for a visit to the bar to drown in his sorrows.

Stern looks like after filming he was going to spend a few hours scrubbing off the grime and soot out of his hair and off his flesh. He literally looks like he wallowed in the slop with the pigs. He's called "the reverend" and runs the soup kitchen, responsible for reporting the missing homeless who are regulars that come by for free grub. His Sheperd has that jerky way of saying, "Bosch" that never ceases to amuse me. The two of them certainly make a somewhat formidable duo when it comes to addressing the shady goings-on of CHUD corporate crooks, particularly George Martin's condescending prick, Wilson, who is ultimately a dangerous man when it appears the likes of Sheperd and Cooper (and, most assuredly, Bosch) threaten to expose the radioactive waste dumping in the sewers under the city. His idea of gas destroying the CHUDs through flooding only further proves how far the depths he'll stoop in order to maintain his cover-up.

The main bout contested is between Bosch and Wilson. Bosch is extra motivated when his wife's head is found in the New York Harbor. The dog is found in the basement of the apartment complex by Greist...another surreal scene among many for her specifically. Wilson winds up resorting to violence in order to try and attempt to secure silence as Bosch learns of Sheperd and Cooper's dilemma, imprisoned in the sewers as manhole covers are sealed by vehicle tires. My wife made a rather logical comment wondering aloud why the van driven by Wilson as he tries to run over the heroes would explode just because a tire rolls into an exposed manhole. The chance to see a "Kaboom!" I reckon.

Curry is really good in this, I thought. The cast is loaded with talent. The talent actually bring a respectability it wouldn't otherwise have...or deserve. Curry doesn't sleepwalk. His rage and disgust is palpable. He wants answers, and when he does get them is passionate in his serious intent to blow the whistle.

Eventually Heard and Stern, both later of Home Alone (1990), are together, running throughout the underground, just trying to find an exit. This is survival. Finding the body parts of Wilson and Bosch's men who had went down into the tunnels to find a CHUD, encountering more than they bargained for, Heard reacts as many of us would...he comes unglued in horror, visibly sick. Similarly he reacted in abject terror when Murphy was pulled away by a CHUD with no way to help him. Again, the actors aren't the problem as much as the look of the monsters and the emphasis on how the cast often look like a shower would do them a world of good. Stern is supposed to be working an angle according to his criminal past, but his soup kitchen job doesn't seem to offer anything monetarily promising. Heard wants to be taken seriously as a serious photographer, and his negatory comments about shooting a perfume ad campaign for his girlfriend, Greist, shows how money means less to him than respect...the lipstick gag was funny. He just couldn't care less, going to bail out a homeless woman he befriended while shooting her kind in the underground instead of continuing the lipstick shoot!

Good special effects in regards to a gnawed-on leg and a decapitated head with a head-set needed by Heard and Stern to communicate their situation to Wilson's monitor operator. The CHUDs themselves are definitely grotesque enough. They are memorable, I'll give them that.

It is a hoot to see so many familiar faces like John Goodman and Jay Thomas (as cops who happen to be at the worst diner at the worst time), Vic Polizos as a concerned cop Curry shoos away from a conversation about missing persons, Eddie Jones as Curry's superior wanting the missing persons situation kept hush-hush, Graham Beckel as a hilariously over the top unstable religious-nut ranting and raving, Peter Goetz as a victim in a phone booth snatched away right in front of his daughter, Frankie Faison as a flamethrower-toting cop of Curry's, and Jon Polito as a news reporter. It is quite a casting call list, for sure!



Lastly, this thought came across my mind: Heard and Stern might make it out alive from underground but they are definitely Cancer patients much in the same vein as the cast of The Conquerer (1956). All the toxic waste, discovering what CHUD really meant (Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal), and radioactivity exposure certainly doesn't help matters for the two of them!



 Funnily enough, I watched this Mother's Day evening after taking mom out! This has always been a Sunday evening kind of movie. Why? Hell if I know. HBO played this all the time when I was a kid...I know, this is a repeat over and over. But, seriously, remember when HBO was cool! Sorry, millennials, Repo Man and CHUD are movies of the past. All that said, I fondly recall picking up my copy of this at Circuit City. The wall shelves actually included a color version of Night of the Living Dead & Midnight (1982). There was CHUD along with them. Since then--right around 2005--I've watched this numerous times, so there is something about it that is rewatchable.


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The Girlfriend Experience- Boundaries

Before I sod off, I have had this on paper for a week! Been either forgetting about it or just avoiding it. Last Thursday night I watche...

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Enl

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Wsha

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Sh fr

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Jm2

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Meg

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exor1

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Conj

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Tz1

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Bs

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Strek

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SRW

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Frere and dummy

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Mlove

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Alone/dark

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Ph

Vestron

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Were5

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Ms45 w

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Ww
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Lsho

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Vampyros lesbos

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Alonzo, the Armless.

Ckvh

Ckvh

Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)

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The Butler: They are not available till after sunset.

Bw5

Bw5

Jill

Jill

Mad Love 1935

Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?

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