• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

C.H.U.D.

TITLE: C.H.U.D.

YEAR: 1984

GENRE: Horror

Back in the 1980’s it was customary for teenagers to head out to the drive-in to check out the latest and not-so-greatest horror flicks. There were also reasons for going to the drive-in—getting to third base with your girlfriend and drinking cheap beer with the lack of adult supervision being the main ones—and to be honest many of us people who went to the outdoor theaters do not remember the films we paid to see very well due to the other extra-curricular activities around us. Thank goodness for all these drive-in films getting re-released so that fans can once again bask in the cheesy goodness without listening to the film through lousy water-soaked mono speakers and watching through a swarm of blood thirsty mosquitoes. One of the more memorable movies from that era is C.H.U.D., a better than average B-grade horror movie that is entertaining.

Homeless people are disappearing throughout New York City but nobody notices or cares because the humans vanishing tend to be the homeless and other invisible types. Photo journalist George Cooper (played by John Heard) has been shooting pictures of the homeless in the Big Apple and hears the stories of C.H.U.D. (cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers), former homeless people who turn into monsters for some unknown reason. Cooper starts working with Reverend A.J. Shepherd (Daniel Stern), the operator of a soup kitchen that caters to down-and-out citizens who live under the streets in abandoned tunnels throughout the city. Captain Bosch (Christopher Curry) also starts investigating the disappearances when the federal government arrives with a bunch of equipment to detect radioactivity, and the threesome discover that C.H.U.D. has a more sinister meaning that reeks of government cover-up.

There were a mountain of drive-in films that have more or less been forgotten outside of horror conventions, but C.H.U.D. had stayed alive for several reasons. First of all, the acting in the film is better than one would expect: Heard plays a great photographer who has genuine interest in the destitute and Stern is gloriously hammy as the soup kitchen owner. Also keep an eye out for John Goodman in an early role as a cop at a greasy spoon. C.H.U.D. is also pretty well crafted considering that this had a medium-sized budget of $1.25 million: the monsters look great and with a 1950’s homage in the appearance especially in the glowing yellow eyes and the filming is better than expected. Although a fairly simple script, C.H.U.D. does deliver a few good scares especially when Lauren Daniels (Kim Greist) is chased around her apartment by one of the monsters. C.H.U.D. also shows a seedier side to the Big Apple that the tourist books hide and discuss the homeless situation inAmerica’s largest city. Most of all, C.H.U.D. is simply a fun, entertaining project that does not take itself too seriously and delivers some scares and gore in a fairly effective manner.

Director Douglas Cheek only directed one film after C.H.U.D. and has mostly edited documentaries since including the acclaimed Wal-Mart: The High Cost Of Low Prices and the FOX-TV sensation Alien Autopsy: Fact Or Fiction. There is a sequel to this called C.H.U.D.II–Bud The Chud that is currently in VHS-only purgatory and to be honest probably should stay there. Fans of Reagan-era horror will find C.H.U.D. to be a quality production with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. C.H.U.D. is a great movie for late night entertainment with a group of friends and a case of cheap beer, just like those drive-in days.

* * * 1/2

–Mark

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