I watched a movie that is dear to my heart a couple of nights ago. Then I spent the next couple of days with a weird headache so my post about it is a little late.
The movie was a little picture called C.H.U.D. from 1984. C.H.U.D. stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Creatures, which should give you some kind of idea about the kind of movie this is.
The movie is basically about how the photographer, George, and A.J. “The Reverend” Shepherd discover why the homeless people around Lafayette St. in NYC are disappearing. They uncover a conspiracy about nuclear waste going on under the feet (i.e. in the sewer and subway tunnels of NYC) of the city and try to warn the world. Incidentally, George is played by John Heard who was the dad in both Home Alone movies (The third one doesn’t exist in my world) and the Reverend is played by Daniel Stern. That’s right, the burglar and the dad were once a team!
This movie is definitely a schlocky throwback to the old creature features. I love that it doesn’t take itself seriously. It has an environmental message but it also has NYPD officers with flame-throwers. Daniel Stern is a total maniac in this movie and he looks like he would smell really bad and dresses like he found his clothes in the dumpster of American Apparel but I still love him. The movie brings up really good questions about who is considered disposable in our society. Stern’s character has a rap-sheet and runs a soup kitchen. He’s the first person to notice the disappearance of the homeless but no one cares until the police captain’s wife disappears.
Finally, I love it because it was filmed in old New York. It’s from before Giuliani had the homeless ground up into energy bars. There’s graffiti everywhere and the streets look like they would smell. I kind of miss that. I used to visit my dad’s firehouse near Chinatown when I was young and I was always fascinated by the neighborhood. I work near there now and it’s full of expensive real estate and boutiques. I guess it’s good that people are doing well, but there are still homeless people and now the only thing to do in the neighborhood is shop and guess whether the women pushing baby strollers are the nannies are the mothers.
On the plus side, using extensive scientific research, I have managed to isolate where in New York the C.H.U.D. attacks occurred. I’m giving you this handy map that includes the spot of my favorite dumpling house.
You see, I’ve isolated an area around Lafayette that I like to call the C.H.U.D. Triangle, that includes Spring St., Crosby St., and Houston St. I should do a C.H.U.D. tour!
Now this movie isn’t perfect. The creatures are a little goody and I hate how their eyes glow like they have little flashlights in their skull. Maybe they were going for an eyeshine effect, like when you take a photo with your cat or dog and their eyes glow like they have the demons? That’s caused by the tapetum lucidum which means “bright tapestry” in Latin, not by flashlights wedged in their cranium. Anyway, I wish the filmmakers had shown less of the monsters because I generally believe that less is scarier. Think of It’s Alive. We barely see the killer baby, which I think is good because otherwise, we’d probably be laughing uncontrollably. Seriously, a KILLER BABY. And how did George’s girlfriend learn how to use a katana?
I still think that this is a worthwhile watch. It’s thoughtful but fun and it shows the kids what NYC was like. And I’m all about public service.
Since I mentioned Home Alone in this post I am legally obligated to show this clip.
P.S. Don’t forgot to vote in the poll on my sidebar! It will affect how I celebrate the most awesome holiday ever, Halloween.
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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