Plot: What’s it about?
The homeless situation in New York has always been a problem, but now it seems as though it has taken an even worse turn. A rash of strange murders seems to be connected to some vagrants who call the sewer system their homes, but some people think there is more to the story than all that. The bums that dwell under the city’s surface have been deformed and mutated by something and unless someone handles the situation soon, the murders could escalate into much higher numbers. When the issue is taken to the local government, it is laughed at and thrown out, as if the politicians simply couldn’t care less about the events. So as time passes and a band of people investigate the beings under the ground, more murders happen and at a higher rate at that. But what are these mutants and what caused them to deform, as well as drive them to murder their fellow citizens?
This might not be classical filmmaking at its best, but C.H.U.D. is a staple of low budget horror flicks, so I am pleased to it released here in such fine form. The writing is pretty weak most of the time, but the basic premise is cool and it provides a lot of chances for cool stuff, which happens often here. The cast is good for a film like this, with names such as John Heard, Daniel Stern, and Kim Griest on board and all seem pretty good here. Of course, this material doesn’t allow for a lot of range, but under the circumstances, I think they turn in very good performances. I like toxic waste in movies and I love mutants, so this one has my name written all over it. I know a lot of plot holes can be seen and the movie drags at times, but I think it is loads of fun and that’s what counts in this case. There are some decent enough gore scenes and one excellent one, but don’t expect a gross out picture or a slasher flick here. Given the low budget roots of this effort, I feel C.H.U.D. is a very fun and worthwhile motion picture. You have to have a taste of this kind of film, but if you do, then this is a highly recommended release.
This might be a low budget horror flick, but it does boast an impressive cast, which is a welcome surprise. I’ve never seen John Heard in a real lead role and this no exception, but his work always seems to be more than solid. He isn’t able to show his full range here, but he does better than you might think, even with this thin material. He had been in some other pictures prior to this one, but I am pleased he chose to take a chance on this one, as he adds a lot to the film in the end. Other films with Heard include Home Alone, The Seventh Sign, In The Line Of Fire, Snake Eyes, Animal Factory, The Pelican Brief, and The Milagro Beanfield War. The cast also includes Daniel Stern (Very Bad Things, Celtic Pride), Christopher Curry (Bushwhacked, Starship Troopers), John Goodman (The Flintstones, Coyote Ugly), and Kim Griest (Brazil, Manhunter).
Video: How does it look?
C.H.U.D. is presented in a 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Wow, this is a vast improvement over previous editions and I couldn’t be more pleased. Well…maybe a little more pleased with some slight changes, but this is still a terrific visual presentation. The print used looks very clean, which is good news and thanks to that clarity, the image is allowed to shine and that is something fans will love. The colors seem very solid here, no bleeds present and flesh tones are natural also. I saw no problems in terms of contrast either, as detail is strong and black levels are dead on as well. This is the best I’ve seen this film look, so I think fans will be very pleased here, kudos to Anchor Bay for giving this low profile title a deluxe transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included mono track is adequate, but don’t expect much aside from a basic audio presentation. I found the track to be good, with a nice clean nature and no signs of harshness, hiss, or volume issues. The music and sound effects are well presented here, but never show much range, due to the limits of the mono formats. Still though, the elements seem solid enough and that is what counts in a mono mix. The vocals sound good too, no volume or clarity issues to discuss, a very basic, but effective audio presentation.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Who else aside from Anchor Bay would record a C.H.U.D. audio commentary track? This track features actors Daniel Stern, John Heard, and Christopher Curry, as well as director Douglas Cheek and writer Shephard Abbott. This is one cool commentary track, as the men discuss the trials of making the film, but also laugh at some moments and share a few memories as well. I loved this commentary track and hope to see more on similar releases in the future, as it adds a lot of value to this disc. You can also find some still photos and the film’s theatrical trailer, which is always nice to have on board.