C.H.U.D.

An urban scum outlier released in the height of the slasher boom, C.H.U.D. ain’t a total dud, bringing with it an embarrassment of riches when it comes to acting talent (John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, John Goodman, Jay Thomas).

Still, for most horror heads, this one is best known for its iconic poster, one of the all-time best in the genre, a throwback to what the movie really is: a 50s creature feature, except using a smelly, Bowery/Lower Manhattan milieu for gobs of atmosphere.

As chatty as any horror movie ever, C.H.U.D (aka, Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) features George, a fashion photographer whose photojournalism focuses on the city’s down-and-outs. All the while, homeless people are going missing, something that has not gone unnoticed by a Soho soup kitchen worker, AJ (the wonderful Daniel Stern) who tries to tip off police.

Local NYPD finally gets involved, but only when a captain’s wife goes AWOL, and true to 50s sci fi form, there’s a stonewalling baddy in the form of a nuclear regulatory commissioner who knows more than he lets on.

C.H.U.D. plays upon the urban legend of something living in the New York City sewers a la Lewis Teagues/John Sayles’ wonderful Robert Forster-starrer, Alligator. However, it lacks the biting (sorry) humor and shocks of that one.

The “rubber monsters in a suit” are casually reminiscent of the The Creature from the Black Lagoon, crossed with the “lead demon” in Demons. And they’re pretty darn good. The improbably-named director, Douglas Cheek, keeps the beasts nicely hidden and wisely focuses on understatement and buildup.

For our money though, Street Trash is the king of all bumsploitation flicks, an audacious, grimy, disgusting (and highly memorable) flick, also set in derelict 80s NYC.

Still, C.H.U.D. has held up fairly well. It’s smarter and better-acted than it has a right to be. However, this subterranean horror isn’t done any favors with downtempo pacing.

***(out of 5)

CHECK OUT OUR PODCAST DISCUSSION OF CHUD!

Killer Condom

Big thanks to our buddy Lloyd Kaufman and the folks at Troma for picking this one up, er, perhaps the wrong choice of words…for distribution. Killer Condom makes for a wonderfully cheeky double bill with Greg Lamberson’s Killer Rack* (cheap plug, as one of us was an associate producer on that one). And the flick delivers as promised: prophylactic panic! Dome dread! Jarring jimmies! terror Trojans!

Luigi Mackeroni (Udo Samel, star of Far Away So Close) is a jaded dick walking the streets of the Big Apple. He frequents a flea-bag hotel where a sinister crime has taken place, which readers shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring out. Cops initially suspect lady paramours and women of the evening, but it turns out that’s not who’s doin’ in johns.

Turns out that there are indeed, as the poster says, “rubbers that rub you out.” Luigi’s bosses are skeptical, and NYPD doesn’t want the word to get out about such a preposterous MO.

A German language film based on  Ralf König’s comic book series, Kondom des Grauens, Killer Condom keeps the dark subject matter light, even with AIDS subtext. 

It’s rich, occasionally creepy and sardonically funny. Killer Condom has a world-weary, almost leisurely feel, which is incredibly rare for a horror film.

Variety Magazine said, “The Killer Condom” may not fit everyone’s idea of a good time (don’t worry, there’s a “but” coming) but [it] “will wring a few laughs out of anyone looking for a non-correct evening out.”

With this kind of title, and associated subject matter, it should come as no surprise that Killer Condom provided fodder for our show, the Really Awful Movies Podcast.

***1/2 (out of 5)

[*Editor’s note: As a point of interest, the anthology horror Chillerama, which we reviewed on this site, features an installment where a character emits a very very large spermatazoa, which wreaks monster-movie style havoc on New York City]