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Film / C.H.U.D.

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C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) is a 1984 horror film about carnivorous mutants in the sewers of New York City starring John Heard and Daniel Stern. Street people begin to disappear and the police start to take notice. The eponymous creatures become bolder and come out to drag away more noticeable people, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission covers up their existence until the last minute.

The movie spawned a sequel of questionable relation to the first.

This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Truth in Television. New York is one of the few American cities that actually has these.
  • Beneath the Earth: It is a movie about mutants dragging people into the sewers.
  • Big Applesauce: New York was still enough of The Big Rotten Apple that a government agency didn't care about any potential side-effects of storing nuclear waste in the sewers underneath it — and that's long before people started turning into flesh-eating monsters.
  • Body Horror: The monsters are horribly mutated humans. One scene takes it further, with the C.H.U.D.'s neck stretching to a giraffe-like length for no explained reason.
  • Covers Always Lie: The poster for the sequel depicts three teenagers in a pick-up truck stealing a C.H.U.D. in its final stages of mutation. Three teens do steal a C.H.U.D. (but not in a pick-up truck) and the C.H.U.D. looks human throughout the movie, not like the green creatures from the first film.
  • Crazy Homeless Person: Averted and played straight. Many sympathetic and intelligent street people are shown. However, the C.H.U.D.s were homeless people and we get to see a couple in mid-transformation.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Cooper has some swords on the wall, which come in handy for Laurie later.
  • Disposable Vagrant: Most of the initial victims, which is why the heroes have a hard time making an official police investigation happen.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto:
    • The white truck at the end explodes when the tire hits an open manhole. Earlier in the film, Wilson warns several NRC men that the trucks are rigged to explode on impact from below.
    • In the sequel, Colonel Masters makes a pick-up truck explode by merely shooting it once with a small gun.
  • Eye Lights Out: The C.H.U.D.s' eyes lose their radioactive glow when they die.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Perfect for looking creepy while crawling out of the sewer.
  • He Knows Too Much: Wilson tries to kill the protagonists at the end after they discover all the toxic waste that have been dumped in the sewers.
  • It's Personal: Captain Bosch starts investigating all the disappearances more seriously after his wife disappears.
  • Kill It with Fire: Bosch sends a team of NYPD officers armed with flamethrowers into the sewers together with some NRC men, with orders to kill anything that isn't human. It doesn't work and they all get killed by the C.H.U.D.s.
  • Kill the Poor: Even without taking into account the titular cannibalistic mutants that resulted, dumping millions of gallons of toxic waste in the sewers of urban New York just wasn't going to end well... and the government didn't gave a damn.
  • King of the Homeless: A.J. runs a homeless shelter, seems to live out of it himself, and refers to the other homeless people as his family or his flock.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The C.H.U.D.s seem to prey primarily on humans, even leaving the body of a dog dragged down with one of their victims uneaten.
  • Initialism Title: Turns out that the C.H.U.D. meaning on the poster is a backronym to the actual government project's meaning — "Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal".
  • It Came from the Sink: The drains/sewers are one of the main ways that the CHUD can get up to human level. One of the first signs that something is wrong is Laurie's clogged shower drain, and she has opened up the sewer access to her home, which results in the creatures getting through. Later on, they pour blood on her from the shower.
  • Long Neck: One of the monsters starts extending its neck, which makes it all more easy to decapitate it with a sword.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Despite being a police captain and surrounded by street cops, Bosch asks for the keys for the truck parked over the manhole cover and then runs off to move the truck alone asking no backup or support to come with him.
  • Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: The man in the red polo shirt and sunglasses that appears in two scenes, who stops Shepherd in one scene from making a call to the press by cutting the call and swallowing the dime when the public phone coughs it up (Shepherd gets unnerved enough to walk away) and later locks up Shepherd and Cooper in the sewer for them to be eaten. He never talks, and he never stops having a little smile either, and after his second scene he disappears from the movie.
  • No Ending: The characters mention that they will flood the sewers with gas to kill the C.H.U.D.s, but this is never seen and the ultimate fate of the C.H.U.D.s is never revealed.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Cooper finds the pictures he took are missing, and grumbles that they were the only evidence he has. Any photographer would just make new copies from the negatives.
  • Nuclear Mutant: The heroes can track the things with a Geiger counter.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The people in charge of the C.H.U.D. project.
  • Pretty in Mink: Lauren seductively poses for a photo shoot in nothing but a mink robe.
  • Seriously Scruffy: King of the Homeless A.J. has a few days growth of beard in all of his scenes.
  • Shower Scene: Laurie has one. Becomes Fan Disservice because somehow the C.H.U.D.s drenched her with blood.
  • The Reveal: C.H.U.D. does not stand for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller. It stands for "Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal" and the agency coverup.
  • Was Once a Man: The C.H.U.D.s were originally homeless people who were mutated by radioactive waste left in the sewers.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The man in the polo shirt and sunglasses completely disappears from the film after he locks up Shepherd and Cooper in the sewers, even if the film ends with what is presumably his boss trying to take care of business himself and getting blown up sky-high as a result.

Alternative Title(s): CHUDII Bud The Chud