C.H.U.D. is a 1984 B-horror movie (with elements of a Slasher and nod to golden age Creature Features) produced by Andrew Bonime, and directed by Douglas Cheek with Peter Stein as the director of photography. Among the notable actors with roles in the movie are John Goodman, Daniel Stern and John Heard. It was followed in 1989 by C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D., photographed by Arnie Sirlin.
Although the film is of a "pulp" genre, it did receive some good reviews including a rave from the New York Times. It won Best Fantasy Film at Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film in 1985, but advances in special effects have rendered it kitsch. It is now considered a cult classic.
C.H.U.D. is an acronym for "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller." In the movie, an alternate acronym is given as "Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal."
The New York City Police Department
receives reports of people disappearing from the streets of the city. Witnesses say the victims are being pulled into manholes by deformed creatures. A police officer teams with a journalist
and a hippie
to investigate the phenomenon.
The film opens with a woman walking her dog down a lonely, darkened city street. As she passes by a manhole cover, she is attacked by the creature – the modus operandi of C.H.U.D. is established; even the dog is pulled in after her.
Next, we meet George Cooper (Heard) and his live-in girlfriend Lauren (Greist). George, a once-prominent fashion photographer, has since forgone the fame and fortune he amassed taking pictures of scantily clad models in pursuit of artistic credibility. His most current project is photographing New York's homeless population, specifically those known as "undergrounders", or people who reside within the bowels of the city (sewers, unused subway tunnels, etc.).
We also meet a police captain named Bosch (Curry) who has a personal interest in the recent flood of missing persons (most of whom are homeless) being reported to his precinct. Bosch interviews A.J. "The Reverend" Shepherd (Stern), who runs the local homeless shelter. Shepherd believes recent events to be a part of a massive government cover-up and has the evidence to prove it. Bosch's superiors know more than they're letting on and seem to be taking their cues from an overly glib, weasely type named Wilson (Martin), who works for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
It turns out there are monsters lurking beneath the streets; beings that were once human, but radioactive, chemical toxic waste has mutated them into hideous, flesh-eating creatures that prey on the homeless who live in the underground. Given the recent drop in the underground transient population, the creatures have resorted to coming to the surface through sewer manholes in order to feed. Through a series of events, both George and A.J. find themselves trapped in the sewers, a reporter gets involved (and eaten), and Lauren has a problem with both a clogged shower drain and an unexpected visitor that comes up through the sewer access point that she unfortunately decides to open in the basement of her apartment building. Then, through the dangerous investigative efforts of both A.J. and George, the absolute horror is revealed: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is directly involved in this holocaust of slaughter that has been going on.
Political bureaucracy has forbid the N.R.C to transport the toxic wastes through New York because of large-scale knowledge of the danger to the public. The N.R.C has secretly been hiding the waste by-products beneath Manhattan in abandoned subway tunnels. Unfortunately, the underground homeless population has been coming into contact with these by-products which is the cause of the mutated creatures. It is this secret that Wilson guards to the extent of having a mysterious and threatening lackey disrupt A.J. from making phone calls to the press. This thug then locks A.J. in an underground access tunnel either to suffocate from the gas to be used to asphyxiate the CHUD's, or to leave him to become their prey. Wilson is clearly willing to kill to protect his employer's secrets - even a cop.
Captain Bosch argues with Wilson over how to best deal with the threat: Wilson wants to seal the sewers, open up some gas lines, and asphyxiate the C.H.U.D., despite the inherent danger to the city.
- In the September 21, 1997 episode of The Simpsons, "The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson", Homer Simpson's recollection of his first trip to New York City ended with his falling in the sewer and quoting, "...and that's when the C.H.U.D.s came at me." Marge responds: "Of course you'll have a bad impression of New York if you only focus on the pimps and the C.H.U.D.s."
- In another episode of The Simpsons, "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder", Homer — when falling from a building with Otto on a bungee cord—goes down into an open manhole and sees various underground creatures, including Morlocks (from H.G. Wells "The Time Machine"), C.H.U.D.s and Molemen (with Hans Moleman as their leader).
- In yet another Simpsons episode, "Crook and Ladder", a videocassette of the film is seen at the beginning of a chain of videocassette boxes used as dominoes.
- Also when Homer takes Bart to see the Itchy and Scratchy Movie, Air Chud can be seen on the marquee. In fact, several variations of C.H.U.D.-related titles are seen at the Springfield Multiplex throughout the series.
- The MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing features a monster called a C.H.U.M., or Carnivorous Human-shaped Undersewer Monster, in its sewers. Below the sewers is Hobopolis, a hobo city that is presumably the source of the C.H.U.M.
- In one of his weekly strips, Stephen Notley's Bob the Angry Flower facilitates the reconciliation of C.H.U.D. and humans.
- Tom Green did a segment on his original Ottawa show in which he and several sewer workers went searching for C.H.U.D., Tom misappropriated the U.D. acronym for 'Urban Dweller' and in the end it turned out that Rock, one of the fellow sewage workers, was a C.H.U.D. all along, prompting Tom to sing "Rock is the C.H.U.D., Rock is the C.H.U.D., He's not my Bud!"
- The title inspired the name of the film news website CHUD.com However, in this case the acronym stands for "Cinematic Happenings Under Development".
- In the February 7, 2006 episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert blamed the C.H.U.D. for the construction of an illegal drug-trade tunnel between the USA and Mexico.
- C.H.U.D. was a card in the Church of the Subgenius card game.
- Deceased rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard (of Wu-Tang Clan fame) refers to the long version of the title in his lyrics on a bonus track on his first LP "Return to the 36 Chambers".
- In Clerks II, the character of Dante Hicks is asked why he always has two good-looking girls fighting over him when he's such a "hideous fucking CHUD."
- The Providence based mathcore band Daughters, released a song entitled "And Then the C.H.U.D.S Came" on their 2003 album Canada Songs.
- The 2001 film Donnie Darko originally intended to show a sequence from C.H.U.D., but instead obtained the rights to Evil Dead. In one scene, after a confrontation with a motivational speaker, the title character states: "He thinks he's so rad, but he's such a CHUD!"
- In the first installment of the video game "Tony Hawk's Underground", an unlockable character resembling the creature from the black lagoon is referred to as "T.H.U.D" (Tony Hawk's Underground Dweller). The T.H.U.D also appears in the Neversoft logo at the start of the game, where it attacks & maims Eric Sparrow.
- Dr. Chud, former drummer of seminal punk rock band the Misfits, takes his name from this film.
- In the Pushing Daisies episode "Smell of Success", while walking through a sewer, Ned says "There are no monsters." Chuck replies, "What about C.H.U.D.?" She then explains what C.H.U.D. are to Ned and Emerson.
- In the video game Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, Mitnick, a Nosferatu in the fifth level of the Warrens, makes a reference to C.H.U.D.
- In the television show "Frisky Dingo", Killface hears a noise while traveling through the sewers. He turns to Xander Crews and says "I thought I heard something" to which Xander replies, "I bet it's a C.H.U.D."
- In the Angel episode "Quickening", Charles Gunn references the term "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller."
- The Game Boy Color videogame based on the movie Little Nicky mentions CHUD as an unseen enemy.
- In the February 25, 2008 episode of "Y'all So Stupid" on Super Deluxe, artist Devin Flynn's "Style Squad" video depicts a group of male "hipsters" who are secretly "Style C.H.U.D.S".
- The Montreal based thrash-metal band "Aggression" sings about invasions of C.H.U.D in their song "The Final Massacre".
- In issue #19 of The All New Atom, Ryan Choi faces a gang of villainous monsters that inhabit under Ivy Town, they call themselves the C.H.U.DS: the Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwelers. Their leaders are: All Father/Phineas Cadmish Brother Tom and Brother Euclides.
- In an episode of The Critic, a rival critic said about a new movie: "This movie was so good, it made Hud look like C.H.U.D., and I loved C.H.U.D.!"
- In November of 2007 Billboard magazine falsely reported that Rob Zombie was linked to a 2009 remake of C.H.U.D.. Zombie has since stated via a posting on his MySpace blog that he will not be involved in the remake of C.H.U.D.