C.H.U.D. Powers: 5/10
Ninja Turtles: 0/10
Another bad movie suggested by and watched with Chako from The Awesome Man’s Burden, and all I can say is that it lived up to my expectations. Welcome to the second Dueling Review between him and myself, and make sure you check out both to get the full effect (plus, I’ll call you a little bitch if you don’t).
I am terrified of homeless people. True, when I see them on the street, I act tough and dangle money just out of their reach like any other normal person, but in reality, I’m scared that they might use their hobo magic on me (it’s a little known fact that all hobos possess the ability to transform objects in to food, fashion anything in to a knife, and can also levitate slightly above the ground). When I was asked to watch C.H.U.D., I had no idea how central these street wizards were to the plot, but I quickly found out that I was in for a hellish time. In lieu of exploiting the true nature of homeless people (possibly for the same reason I mentioned above), this film attempts to show them as real normal people, but as we all know, that guise can only go on for so long.
People are disappearing. Not just the vagrants that line the streets, but real working individuals who have productive lives and people who love them. When the police captain’s wife decides to walk the dog down a dark alley in the middle of the night in a bad neighborhood, she is (surprisingly) attacked by a mysterious claw coming out from under a manhole cover (she doesn’t survive…and I think it’s natural selection). Captain Bosch, who has been asked to ignore any missing person report that comes across his desk, can no longer turn a blind eye to the truth: something’s going on. Luckily, a random guy that he arrested 5 years ago runs a local soup kitchen and is friends with all of the homeless people who “live” nearby, and he wants to get to the bottom of this, too. His name is A.J. (played by a very jew-fro’d Daneil Stern), and he’s been collecting smelly evidence that suggests a corporate cover-up in the sewers. A cover-up of what? That’s what Bosch is going to find out.
He assembles the police chief, a government stooge, and the head of the local nuclear power plant, so that he can explain his theory and A.J. can pull his garbage evidence out of a bag. The theory is that there is a monster living in the sewers, and its eating people. As you can imagine, this doesn’t go over too well, except that the guy from the nuclear power plant seems nervous. When A.J. flips out in hobo-rage and throws classified documents everywhere, the truth finally comes out about C.H.U.D.’s, which are Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. Apparently, there was some sort of gas leak that caused the freak mutation of some homeless people, or so the story goes, and now they have to try to correct the problem. Captain Bosch decides to send his flamethrower squad (every major city has one) in to the sewers, while the guy from the nuclear plant, Wilson, wants to fill the sewers with gas in order to kill everything down there. These two plans are not coordinated well, in my opinion.
Long story short, everybody who is sent down is killed, and the “gas plan” is the only viable option left. They seal off the sewer system, trapping many people down there with the C.H.U.D.’s, and start the process of pumping gas while simultaneously driving ready-to-explode-at-the-slightest-bump vans to strategic points in the city. AJ is one of the people trapped, and he’s with a photographer that I haven’t mentioned because he doesn’t matter at all. They’ve discovered that Wilson has been illegally dumping toxic waste in to the sewers for years, and that the radiation is what has produced all of the C.H.U.D.’s that are now chasing them. Their only way out is through a manhole that is covered by one of the afore-mentioned vans, and Wilson is trying to keep it that way (at this point he’s just being a dick). Captain Bosch manages to move the van and save AJ (and the photographer), but Wilson isn’t done douching yet. He steals the van and tries to run everybody down, hitting a pothole (and maybe being shot) which causes a huge explosion and his death. Everybody forgets about the C.H.U.D.’s and the movie ends. Seriously, there isn’t actually any resolution on the main issue.
I left out a lot of useless characters and pointless plot threads, but you get the gist of it, I’m sure. There was a great scene where the girlfriend of the photographer is taking a shower, and when she tries to unplug the drain with a coat hanger (how else do you unplug a drain?), she gets sprayed with blood. After discussing the possibility that this was a metaphor for abortion with Chako, I realized that it made no sense. C.H.U.D.’s bleed glowing green, and this was definitely good old-fashioned fake-blood red. Plus, she lived on the second floor of an apartment building, so something would have had to of crawled up her pipe (there’s a sex joke in there somewhere). I lost track of all of the different meanings for “C.H.U.D.” somewhere about 40 minutes in, and the fact that they turned out to be super-hobos is quite disturbing. They even possess the power to stretch their necks really long, but like all hobos, they become powerless when their heads are chopped off. If you like seeing a lot of random cameos, non-essential characters, repetitive shots of a monster’s teeth, and people who have a crappier life than you, then get on the C.H.U.D. train as fast as you can. Me? I’m sick of having to type those goddamned periods in between every letter of that acronym.
A special thanks to Chako, author of The Awesome Man’s Burden, for once again hosting an excellent out-of-home entertainment experience. As before, please check out his review of C.H.U.D. and vote below for your favorite. Until next time, everybody, keep watching those bad movies, and don’t go in to any sewers unless you’re absolutely sure you heard someone down there say “Cowabunga”.
P.S. Kirk Cameron has nothing to do with this movie….I just hate him.