Friday, August 3, 2012
Beware of Deep Dark Secrets Lurking Below
Despite achieving a rather dubious reputation the 1984 film C.H.U.D. is actually a fairly good monster movie, one that is actually a throwback to the 1950s monster movies. Movies where the creatures were born out of radiation and or toxic waste, thus inspiring fears common in the nuclear age. Considering that the 1980s reflected the 1950s paranoia and worries about nuclear war, it makes sense that someone would create a film in the 1980s that would touch once again on such concerns. Furthermore, this film has something slightly in common with the also underrated 1972 horror movie Raw Meat, but only in terms of killer underground dwellers. A double bill featuring both films would truly be rather enjoyable.
Anchoring this rather solid effort are two relatively good actors, John Heard and Daniel Stern. Despite sketchy characterization and some weak dramatic moments, the movie does an okay job of making you care about these characters, with a wary police captain named Bosch thrown into the mix. Made in the same year as Ghostbusters, its also really interesting to note how both movies tackle the issue of sinister government bureaucracy being responsible for not only a coverup, but being the problem as well. Despite Hollywood being liberal, its rather intriguing that there are example of movies in the 1980s condemning the rather liberal notion of large government, expressing fears of uncaring governmental agents who end up making things worse, not better (E.T., made in 1982, also in some ways touched upon this aspect as well).
Although C.H.U.D. is really quite cheesy, its still very well crafted all things considered. The monsters are not even shown until midway through the film, and the whole picture is smartly paced at around 90 some minutes. Despite the conclusion being somewhat unsatisfying, the film makes up for that by being quite entertaining, and even sporting some actively creepy moments. Besides, there's nothing quite like witnessing cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers rising up from the sewers to get their revenge upon the human, a very Roger Corman-isque idea if there ever was one. 83