C.H.U.D. by Eric S Brown

In 1984, the movie C.H.U.D. was released. While the film earned over three times its production budget, it was far from hitting blockbuster level hit. However, it was a rather unique film in many ways. Billed as science fiction/horror movie, C.H.U.D. was also a police procedural. Daniel Stern’s performance as “The Reverend”, a reformed criminal now running a soup kitchen for the homeless of New York, and Christopher Curry’s as the tough, hardcore police Captain Bosch, whose wife has recently went missing, make the movie a cult classic. The chemistry of the strained relationship between their characters as they unite to find out why so many people are going missing is simply fantastic and fun to watch. Sadly, though John Heard plays George Cooper, the movie’s main character and journalist working to do the same – his arc takes a backseat to theirs and is somewhat lacking.

Soon after the movie opens, it’s discovered that there are radioactive monsters living beneath the streets of New York and a cover up is taking place, not to conceal the existence of the monsters but, rather to hide the fact that toxic waste has been being illegally dumped into the sewers. One of the movie’s coolest scenes is when a squad of police officers packing heat in the form of not only rifles but also a flamethrower a flamethrower, meet up with the cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers (the C.H.U.D.).

C.H.U.D. is an 80s cult horror film and became part of pop culture. The movie, and its creatures, have been mentioned on, or even appeared in, such shows as The Simpsons, the Flash, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, and many more. Its soundtrack was recently released on vinyl in a collector’s edition, and was ranked as one of the top 35 horror film soundtracks by Rolling Stone. Still, there has been little in the way of merchandising beyond a handful of insanely rare action figures and some limited edition posters.  There was a sequel but it strayed away from everything that made C.H.U.D. the cult classic it is and is not truly recognized as part of the movie’s mythos by fans.   

Being a fan of C.H.U.D., I tracked down, and had the great pleasure of speaking with, its producer and owner, Andrew Bonime, before he passed away. I put Mr. Bonime in touch with Crystal Lake Publishing and a deal was reached that allowed them to publish an anthology that expanded not only on the events of the film but went beyond it. This anthology, C.H.U.D. Lives, was released in April of 2017, and I was honored to serve as the contents editor for the book, picking which stories would be included within its pages. Famous writers of the likes of David Drake, Tim Waggoner, Mort Castle, Jonathan Maberry, and more all contributed stories. The anthology also featured interviews with Andrew Bonime and screenwriter, Parnell Hall. To this day, C.H.U.D. Lives remains the only book published about the cult horror classic that I am aware of.

While all fans of the film hope a modern remake will be produced someday, that is sadly unlikely as all such attempts have failed thus far.

C.H.U.D. by Eric S Brown 1

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