C.H.U.D. (1984)

Genres - Drama, Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film, Natural Horror  |   Release Date - Aug 31, 1984 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brian J. Dillard

This '80s B-movie classic boasts a nearly A-list cast, a tight script, an atmospheric score, and lots of memorable creature effects. Marketed as an antidote to by-the-books teen slasher films, C.H.U.D. earned healthy box-office results on the strength of not only its rehashed nuclear-anxiety boogeymen, but also its mistrust of the government and its sympathy for the homeless. With its enjoyably cranky, anti-establishment politics, the film almost seems like a mid-period John Carpenter effort. But such thesps as Kim Greist (Brazil), Daniel Stern (Home Alone), Christopher Curry (F/X), and John Heard (Cat People, The Pelican Brief) prove less campy and more convincing than, say, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Even the bit players hit their marks with utter conviction, especially Ruth Maleczech as a lovably feisty bag lady. With a minimum of gore and a maximum of spooky atmosphere, screenwriter Parnell Hall and director Douglas Cheek lead these performers through a tense hour and a half of detective work, righteous indignation, and proto-X-Files action. Neither Cheek nor Hall ever made another picture, but they can stand tall for having collaborated on one of the most fondly remembered creature features of the Reagan era.