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C.H.U.D (1984) Review

C.H.U.D. is a 1984 American science fiction horror film directed by Douglas Cheek and starring John Heard, Daniel Stern, and Kim Greist. The film follows a group of people in New York City who are being stalked and killed by a race of intelligent, mutated cannibals who live in the city’s sewers.

The film was a commercial and critical failure, grossing only $2 million at the box office against its $5 million budget. However, it has since become a cult classic, with many praising its atmosphere, practical effects, and dark humor.

Toxic waste is being stored underground in the sewers and abandoned tunnels of the winding subway system. Tramps, hobos and other members of the homeless community don’t mix all that well with the toxic waste. They mutate, turning into the CHUD of the title. CHUD like eating people – or poodles lol. They sure ain’t friendly, and they’ve had enough of living underground. Enter our fearless investigator looking into disappearances among the homeless, cops, military, and a mish mash of the curious and concerned.

Now, these CHUDs are radioactive, which is important. In the mass of tunnels underground, where everything is dark and dingy, the clicking of geiger counters can warn you that they are coming. Great little device for creating suspense that works well and is used to good effect several times.

Make up is good throughout and generally effects are delivered with satisfying realism and gore. Monstrous CHUD, their faces all twisted and irradiated, mouths a hungry leer full of yellowed fangs look great. OK, the one CHUD with the rubber neck is a bit bizarrely done and seems out of place to me, but it doesn’t detract from the overall effect that the effects team created.

The story develops pretty nicely, the characters are interesting, even the homeless are fleshed out enough to prevent them being mere cameos awaiting mutation or munching upon by the hungry CHUD. Characters are important too – and too often overlooked in – this kind of movie, but here you’ll find yourself caring what happens to them, willing them to survive (or in some cases slip up and get eaten).

There’s many a little scare to be had, a nice climax, and a good atmosphere throughout. It’s a nice little gem of a movie, worth a spot in anyone’s collection, and deserving of a few hours of anyone’s time. Just don’t enjoy it and then go watching the dismal sequel expecting more of the same mutant goodness or you’ll be sorely disappointed.

C.H.U.D. is a fun, gory, and campy horror movie that is sure to please fans of the genre. The acting is solid, the effects are well done, and the film has a great sense of humor. If you’re a fan of horror movies, then C.H.U.D. is definitely worth checking out.


The film opens with a group of homeless men being chased by police dogs through the sewers. They are all captured except for one, George, who escapes. George makes his way to the surface and is picked up by a homeless woman named Mrs. Monahan.

Mrs. Monahan takes George to a shelter for the homeless run by the Catholic Church. There, he meets Father McMahon and a young woman named Sarah. Sarah is pregnant and McMahon is trying to help her through her pregnancy.

George and Sarah become friends and he starts to help her out around the shelter. One day, Sarah goes into labor and McMahon delivers the baby. However, the baby is deformed and dies shortly after birth.

Sarah is devastated by the loss of her child and McMahon tries to console her. Meanwhile, George has been snooping around the shelter and has discovered that McMahon is performing illegal abortions. He confronts McMahon about this and McMahon confesses that he does not want Sarah to have another child because he is afraid that it will be deformed like the first one.

George is outraged by McMahon’s actions and decides to take Sarah and the baby’s body and leave the shelter. However, McMahon stops them and tells them that he will take care of the baby’s body. Sarah agrees to stay at the shelter and George leaves.

George goes to a bar and gets drunk. He is then picked up by two men who work for a man named Mr. B. Mr. B is a wealthy man who owns a company that manufactures and sells weapons.

George is taken to Mr. B’s house where he meets Mr. B’s wife, who is pregnant. George is then given a job by Mr. B to take care of his wife while she is pregnant.

George moves into Mr. B’s house and starts to take care of Mrs. B. He also starts to investigate the deaths of the homeless people and the deformed babies. He discovers that Mr. B’s company is responsible for the deaths and the deformities.

George confronts Mr. B about this and Mr. B admits that he has been disposing of the bodies of the homeless people and the deformed babies in the sewers. He also confesses that he is planning to kill Sarah and her baby.

George races back to the shelter to warn Sarah and McMahon. He arrives just in time to save them from Mr. B and his men. George then takes Sarah and McMahon back to Mr. B’s house where they confront him and his wife.

Mr. B’s wife then goes into labor and McMahon delivers the baby. However, the baby is stillborn and deformed. McMahon then tells Mr. B that he is going to turn him in to the police.

George, Sarah, and McMahon then leave the house and are chased by Mr. B and his men. They are able to escape and George takes Sarah and McMahon back to the shelter.

The film ends with George and Sarah getting married and Sarah having a healthy baby.

Movie Details

Director: Douglas Cheek
Writer: Parnell Hall
Actors: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Kim Greist
Release Year: 1984