Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 2nd, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1984
Director: Douglas Cheek
Writers: Parnell Hall, Shepard Abbott,
Cast: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist, Michael O’Hare, Vic Polizos, Eddie Jones, Sam McMurray
BluRay released: November 15th, 2016 (UK) / November 22nd, 2016 (USA)
Approximate running times: 96 Minutes (Integral Cut), 88 Minutes (Theatrical Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Rating: 18 (UK), R (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: A,B
Retail Price: $34.95 (USA) / £17.99 (UK)
Predatory monsters have stalked the corridors of our minds, since the moment that we became aware of the boogeyman. When it comes to cinema there have always been a wide variety of monsters to choose from. And though the majority of monsters that end up in modern cinema being updated versions of familiar faces. There are still those rare examples where something new is introduced and unleashed upon unsuspecting audiences. Case in point C.H.U.D. a film whose subject matter took audiences to a place that they had never been before.
The film features a strong premise, a secret toxic waste dump that turned those exposed by it into mutant cannibals. The narrative is well constructed and pacing is not an issue since this film finds that perfect balance between its shocking and dramatic moments. Structurally this is film that has two distinctively different halves. With the first half feeling like mystery film and the second half then makes the transition to an all-out horror film.
From a production stand point this film there are no areas where it is lacking. With one of its greatest strengths being its visuals which do a fantastic job establishing the mood and reinforcing it. And without a doubt no scene stands out more than the shower scene in this film. And when it comes to the moments related to gore this films is very efficient in this area. Other areas where this film delivers include, special effects and the score for the film.
Performance wise the cast are good in their respective roles. This film’s standout performance is Christopher Curry Captain Bosch, his character is the one with strongest emotional connection to what is going on. His wife was one of victims of the monster that lurk in sewers. Other notable cast members include, John Heard (After Hours, Home Alone) in the role of George Cooper, a photographer who inadvertently becomes involved because of his connection to the homeless, Kim Greist (Brazil, Manhunter) in the role of George’s model girlfriend and Daniel Stern (Home Alone, City Slickers) in the role of A.J. ‘The Reverend’ Shepherd, he runs a shelter for the homeless. Heard and Stern has a tremendous amount of chemistry. And though this film is primly played for frights, these two actors provide some occasional comic relief.
This release comes with two versions of the film and each version come on their own disc. The Integral cut comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The theatrical cut comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented. Though the image generally looks crisp. There are a few instances where the image looks softer. Flesh tones look accurate, colors look nicely saturated and black levels remain strong throughout. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
Each version of the film comes with one audio option, LPCM mono mix in English and included with this release are optional English SDH subtitles. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear and balanced. The more ambient sounds are well represented and this mix sounds robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, a Behind the Scenes Image Gallery (5 minutes 30 seconds), a trailer for the film (1 minute 34 seconds), Extended Shower Scene (1 minute 22 seconds), a featurette titled Notes from Above Ground: The NYC Locations of C.H.U.D. hosted by journalist Michael Gingold and filmmaker Ted Geoghegan (9 minutes 8 seconds), two interviews – the first interview is with production designer William Bilowit titled A Dirty Look (19 minutes 10 seconds) and the second interview is with special make-up effects / creature creator John Caglione Jr. titled Dweller Designs (12 minutes 5 seconds) and two audio commentaries – the first audio commentary is with composers Martin Cooper and David A. Hughes and the second audio commentary is with director Douglas Cheek, screenwriter Shepard Abbot and actors, John Heard, Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry. All of the extras come on disc one.
Topics discussed in the interview with William Bilowit include, how he began his career working on documentaries, working as a PA on Nightmare, Creepshow and making the transition to special make-up effects, C.H.U.D. and the look of the film, how the sewer sequences were all shot on a set, the cast, John Caglione Jr. and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with John Caglione Jr. include, his origins as a make-up effects artist, working as apprentice at NBC, C.H.U.D., designing the monster and tricks of the special make-up effects trade.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Martin Cooper and David A. Hughes include, their origins as musicians, the musical influences, how and when they formed their partnership and C.H.U.D.’s score. The audio commentary last for about thirty-two minutes and the film’s score plays for the remainder of this audio track.
Topics discussed in the cast & crew audio commentary include, each participant discusses their own role in the making of this film, locations, the cast and their thoughts about them, special effects and various production related topics.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a twenty-four-page booklet with cast & crew info, an essay about the film titled Chronicling Horror’s Underground Drama: The Making of C.H.U.D. written by Michael Gingold and information about the transfers. Overall another exceptional release from Arrow Video.