Monster Mayhem: C.H.U.D. (2 Disc Blu-ray) Arrow Films


















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Released by: Arrow Video

Release Date: August 31st, 1984 (Theatrical)
                       November 22nd, 2016 (Blu-ray)

Region Code: REGION A (locked)

Run Time: 1h 36m (Integral Cut)
                   1h 26m (Theatrical)

Audio: LPCM Mono (English)

Video:1080p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio) (Both Versions)


Are you kidding? Your guy's got a camera. Mine's got a flamethrower. -Cpt. Bosch

THE FEATURES [3 out of 4]

Disc One: Integral Cut

A Dirty Look (19m 11s, HD)

Production Designer William Bilowit is interviewed. He gives a little history about himself before getting into how he was able to put C.H.U.D. together. We find out that most of the interiors were shot on sets, including the sewers, but that they were able to shoot in some real sewers.

This is a decent interview, but there is not much info that he gives that is useful.

Dweller Design (12m 17s, HD)

Effect Artist John Caglione Jr talks about his work on the film. He talks about how they were able to get the C.H.U.D.’s eyes to light up without using lights inside the head. He also talks about his work with Dick Smith (on other projects.)

This is a nice interview. I am always appreciative when it comes to physical effects, so this interview won me over.



Notes From Above Ground (9m 10s, HD)

A look at the NYC locations from the film, as they are now, with writer Michael Gingold and filmmaker Ted Geohegan. This is Arrow Video’s answer to Scream Factory’s Horror’s Hallowed Ground. Not terribly interesting.

Behind-the-Scenes Gallery (5m 32s, HD)

The title says it all. This gallery is played in a montage format with music from the film’s score playing.

Extended Shower Scene (1m 24s, HD)

A bit more T & A that was wise to cut as the scene doesn’t have the flow like it does in the film proper. The quality of the footage is really rough, but I like to see that sometimes.

Trailer (1m 36s, HD)

It’s an ok trailer to an ok film.

Commentaries

           -Composer Audio Interview and Score

Here we find Michael Flesher talking with the composer David A. Hughes. The conversation is really interesting and is a welcome addition.

-Cast and Crew

Director Douglas Cheek, Writer Shepard Abbott, and Actors John Heard, Daniel Stern, and Christopher Curry are on hand for this track. This track is packed with info about the film and it sounds like the guys are having a blast revisiting the film. I like that John Heard and Daniel Stern are the type of actors who can go back to their roots and have a good time with it.

This track is the same track that appeared on the Anchor Bay dvd release many years ago.



Disc Two: Theatrical Version

This version of the film is what was shown in 1984. Scenes are put together haphazardly and the film has a new ending that sets the film up for a sequel, but that ending plays differently (and better) in the director’s cut. I have also heard that some of the soundtrack is missing too.

I like the fact that this was included, but the Integral Cut is a much better film (even if I don’t like the film in the first place.)

THE PACKAGING [N/A]

The disc sent to me is a check disc so there are no pictures to be had, but I can tell you that this two disc set is housed in the usual Arrow 14mm clear case with newly commissioned artwork on the outer sleeve and the original theatrical poster art on the reverse.

The release also comes with a booklet with an essay about the film and information about the transfer.

Both disc are REGION A (locked).



THE PICTURE [3.5 out of 4]

C.H.U.D. is a low budget film that takes place mostly at night and in dark corridors which means that this transfer could have fallen apart very quickly. Fortunately, Arrow has done a bang up job with this transfer. There is a very filmic feel and flesh tones are nicely handled. There is no black crush that I witnessed and there is a separation between the foreground and the background that could have been missed. There is also a fine grain to the film that adds to the feel of the film.

THE SOUND [3 out of 4]

The LPCM Mono track that Arrow has given us reproduces everything fine, but there isn’t much kick to it. Everything sounded a bit flat, but that is common amongst 80’s and 90’s low budget horror. There is no damage or distortions that I detected.



THE FILM [2 out of 4]

I love monster films. I have since I was a kid. My mother was the one who turned me on to Godzilla and because of that love, I was always searching for more monster films.

I have no idea how C.H.U.D. and I never met. There were plenty of times when I could have bought or rented the DVD, but those opportunities would fall by the wayside when a kung fu flick or a slasher film would start calling my name. It wasn’t until working on this review that I finally sat down and watched C.H.U.D. and boy was I disappointed.

This film should have been great and even if it could reach those heights, then it still should have been a fun monster film. It isn’t though and there is not one thing that spoils the film. It is a mixture of a lot of things.

The acting is of a caliber higher than what most monster films get. John Heard and Daniel Stern are both accomplished actors and do a great job here. In fact, everyone is good in the film. The acting is not Oscar caliber, but it is right for the material.

The direction is also pretty good. There is nothing out of focus or anything like that and the director captures the grim and grit of 80’s New York very well. He also handles a lot of the early monster scenes very well. There is a scene with a kid and his grandfather in a phone booth that contains a lot of suspense.

The direction isn’t all greatness though. The opening scene, with a woman walking her dog at night and then getting taken by the C.H.U.D. is so badly handled that I wasn’t sure what I had just seen. I had to rewind the film to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. The problem here was that there is no suspense. The woman is just walking her dog and blam she is gone. This is not the way to start out a film like this. I know that the director probably wanted to get the film going, but I think that he cost the film. A film with a really well done opening scene can work off that momentum, resulting in an above average film. C.H.U.D trips and falls with the first five minutes and never gets back up all the way again.

There is also a scene in a shower that is unintelligible. The female lead hops into the shower and after a few beats, notices that her shower drain is clogged. She grabs a wire coat hanger from the towel rack and uses it to try to get to the clog. She does and blood goes flying everywhere. Again, I had to watch this scene twice to make sure that I was getting everything that I needed, but it still made no sense. Where the hell did that blood come from and why was there that much. The entire shower and woman are covered in it.

This is really what C.H.U.D. is: a series of scenes that make no sense or dull us to tears. A monster film should be exciting and heart pounding. This film is dull and moves at a snail’s pace. The worse thing about it is: the Integral Cut is the version of the film that I watched. The only reason that I watched the Theatrical Version is because I wanted to see if that version was better. It isn’t. It is even worse than the Integral Cut. Everything is here to make a great monster film, but the filmmakers have made one of the dullest films to come out of the 80’s.



OVERALL [3 out of 4]

While the film isn’t all that it is cracked up to be, I did like the presentation. The picture quality is really good and the sound is not bad. The special features are a mixed bag, but most of them I liked. If you are a monster film fan then this might be worth your time, but I can not recommend this film to anyone else. Arrow did a great job in all departments, but the film doesn’t deserve the treatment that Arrow has given it