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C.H.U.D.

Blu Ray

  • Score
    73
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • C.H.U.D.'s Blu-ray release excels with committed performances & rich extras, despite some film flaws.

    C.H.U.D. Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    73
  • 'C.H.U.D.' Blu-ray boasts a 2K restoration by Arrow Films, maintaining its gritty look with improved clarity and minor flaws, pleasing fans yet preserving originality.

  • Audio
    75
  • 'C.H.U.D.' sports a competent LPCM Mono track, delivering clear dialogue and score although lacking in lower frequencies. Despite minor shrill effects, the audio maintains quality without damage, and the original master reels ensure a hiss-free experience with a touch of atmosphere.

  • Extra
    75
  • Disc One includes detailed behind-the-scenes features, commentaries, and extended scenes in high definition, while Disc Two presents the original cut with missing elements, both offering unique insights and humor from the cast and crew.

  • Movie
    68
  • 'C.H.U.D.' pairs nostalgic 80s monster charm with predictable horror and conspiracy elements, amidst a subtext of societal issues and humor.

    Video: 73

    Arrow Video's release of "C.H.U.D." on Blu-ray delivers an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, coupled with mono sound, as detailed in the accompanying informative insert booklet. This restoration, executed exclusively for this release, was conducted in 2K resolution by Arrow Films, sourcing from a low contrast 35mm print that was meticulously scanned using a pin registered 4K Lasergraphics Director Scanner at Deluxe's E-Film Facility in Burbank. The effort extended into picture grading on a DaVinci Resolve at Pinewood Studios, where thousands of instances of dirt, debris, and light scratches were eliminated employing PFClean software. Ensuring overall image stability and addressing density fluctuations were also key components of the restoration process fulfilled at Pinewood Studios.

    Given the limitations inherent to the source elements, the end result is likely to satisfy enthusiasts of "C.H.U.D.," despite the palette demonstrating slight anemia and contrast issues, notably in the darker, subterranean scenes. However, the presentation shines in well-lit conditions, revealing pleasing detail levels. The film maintains its original grainy texture, though this attribute becomes somewhat pronounced in dimmer sequences, affecting detail clarity, shadow definition, and grain resolution. Minor imperfections persist, including occasional flecks and signs of wear, yet they do not significantly detract from the viewing experience. Notably, the film's grain structure and rugged aesthetic remain intact, echoing the filmmakers' vision and preserving the movie's gritty charm.

    The video quality faithfully reproduces the visual style of "C.H.U.D.," reinforcing its distinct heavy grain look that could easily lead one to presume it was shot on 16mm, rather than 35mm. This adherence to the visual intent means that while the film may not exhibit the polish of a contemporary big-budget production, it authentically captures the essence of its original presentation. Restoration supervised by James White and Arrow Films has notably improved clarity, especially evident when comparing to prior DVD releases. Color reproduction is vibrant, with a palette leaning towards rich primaries, ensuring that elements like the titular monsters and gory details stand out with remarkable clarity. Despite a few minor lapses where speckling and scratches are briefly visible, the effort invested in rejuvenating "C.H.U.D." for this Blu-ray release is commendable, offering fans a version that respects both the film's aesthetic roots and its place within the cult cinema domain.

    Audio: 75

    The audio presentation of "C.H.U.D." on Blu-Ray receives a practical and faithful remastering in its LPCM mono track, which proficiently handles the film's dialogue, music, and sound effects. While the transfer maintains a historical accuracy to the original sound design, it becomes apparent that the track lacks a robust lower-end, resulting in less impactful moments during scenes meant to carry weight or fear. The detailed work on this track ensures clarity throughout, with no observable issues such as dropouts or auditory damage, preserving the integrity of the original audio experience. However, some of the effects might edge towards the shrill, particularly noticeable in high tension sequences, which might detract slightly from an otherwise clean audio presentation.

    Arrow Video’s choice to stick with the original mono presentation, rather than artificially expanding it to a stereo or surround mix, demonstrates a commitment to authenticity, which is admirable. The careful transfer from the original 35mm magnetic master reels has paid off, presenting an audio track free from any hiss, pops, or age-related wear. This preservation effort showcases especially well in the scoring by Cooper Hughes, where the low synth notes bring a semblance of depth to the bass-light track. Despite its mono limitations, there’s an effective atmosphere created, with commendable attempts at conveying spatial directionality in the movie's more suspenseful moments—helping to elevate scenes with strategic sound placement, contributing to the on-screen suspense and enhancing the overall viewing experience.

    In conclusion, while "C.H.U.D."'s audio may not boast the dynamic range or immersive qualities of a multi-channel mix, its clarity and faithful restoration respect the source material's integrity. The professional and meticulous approach to its audio presentation delivers a solid auditory experience that supports the film well, making it an acceptable if not spectacular audio performance for this cult classic.

    Extra: 75

    The "C.H.U.D." Blu-ray extras provide a comprehensive and engaging look into the making and legacy of this cult classic. The "Integral Cut" presents a longer version of the film, while "A Dirty Look" and "Dweller Designs" offer insightful behind-the-scenes peeks from the production designer and makeup effects creator, respectively. "Notes from Above Ground" adds flavor with a quirky tour of filming locations. The inclusion of both the original theatrical cut and an extended shower scene caters to completists and fans of minutiae. Audio commentaries and an interview with the composers enrich the experience by providing context and anecdotes from the creators' perspectives, rounding out an impressive slate of extras that both entertain and inform.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Integral Cut: The full movie with additional content not seen in the theatrical release.
    • A Dirty Look: Insights from the production designer on achieving the film's aesthetic.
    • Dweller Designs: A deep dive into creature design by the makeup effects expert.
    • Notes from Above Ground: A tour of filming locations with engaging hosts.
    • Behind the Scenes Gallery: A collection of behind-the-scenes visuals.
    • Extended Shower Scene: An uncut scene offering more content for fans.
    • Trailer: The original promotional material for the film.
    • Audio Commentaries: Discussions featuring cast and crew, providing a wealth of information and entertainment.
    • Composer Audio Interview and Score: An intriguing conversation with insights into the film's music.

    Movie: 68

    The film "C.H.U.D.," standing for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, delivers an eerie ambiance from the get-go, plunging viewers into the depths of New York City's sewers alongside its unsuspecting victims. Predicament intrudes in the form of monstrous dwellers lurking beneath, igniting a plot that intersects the lives of diverse characters, from a photographer documenting the city's neglected homeless to a police officer probing the mysterious disappearances plaguing his precinct. Despite dwelling on clichés and venturing into the realm of predictability, "C.H.U.D." manages to encapsulate the essence of 80s horror with its blend of suspense and campy presentation. The film's prologue sets an ominous tone, emphasizing the desolation of NYC streets during the witching hours, only to unveil its sinister underbelly through the visage of mutants with a voracious hunger for human flesh.

    Director Douglas Cheek harnesses the limitations of a modest budget to fabricate a creature feature that reverberates through its atmospheric tension and inventive storytelling. Coupled with a screenplay by Parnell Hall that cleverly navigates through the meanders of horror tropes, the movie maintains engagement through strategic concealment of the titular monsters, thereby amplifying anticipation. Despite its moments of levity and discernable rubber-masked creatures that occasionally rupture the film's fear factor, "C.H.U.D." remains a cult classic that epitomizes the drive-in theater experience of yore. Its underlying commentary on societal neglect and environmental disregard, albeit underexplored, adds a layer of depth to what might otherwise be dismissed as mere monster mayhem.

    Moreover, the practical effects and creature design, though critiqued for lacking conviction, ingeniously leverage the constraints into commendable horror aesthetics synonymous with the era. As a touchstone of 80s genre cinema, "C.H.U.D." not only influenced aspiring filmmakers with its guerilla-style ingenuity but also etched itself into popular culture with a legacy that transcends its on-screen terror. Through a harmonious blend of humor, suspense, and a dash of critique on urban decay and governmental apathy, "C.H.U.D." unfailingly entertains while echoing the sentiments and stylistic flourishes of its time, making it an indispensable addition to the annals of horror aficionados.

    Total: 73

    The Blu-ray release of "C.H.U.D." by Arrow Video presents a commendable package that goes beyond expectations, especially considering the cult status of the film. The overarching sentiment is that while "C.H.U.D." may not delve as deeply into the realm of paranoia as some might prefer, its combination of low-grade thrills, unintentionally humorous monster effects, and earnest performances lends it a certain charm. Arrow has applied its usual meticulousness to the supplemental materials, offering fans a plethora of extras that are likely to be as appreciated, if not more so, than the film itself. The video presentation does encounter minor issues, attributed mostly to the source material, yet the audio quality meets the mark, ensuring a satisfactory viewing experience.

    Where the release truly shines is in its treatment by Arrow Video. Foregoing expectations of a subpar release, which haunted fans after a notorious April Fools' Day joke, Arrow has surpassed mere adequacy by delivering a 2-Disc set that not only enhances the film’s visual and auditory aspects but also enriches the viewing experience with two versions of the film and a substantial selection of informative bonus features. This release seems to rectify past apprehensions, reinvigorating faith in the preservation and celebration of cult classics like "C.H.U.D.", making it a noteworthy addition to any collection.

    In conclusion, Arrow Video's Blu-ray edition of "C.H.U.D." stands out as a definitive version for collectors and new viewers alike. Despite the film's inherent limitations in thematic depth and occasional technical glitches in video quality, the high level of commitment seen in the performances and the comprehensive suite of special features solidifies this release as highly recommended. It exemplifies how a cult classic should be treated, balancing respect for the original material with an offering that provides substantial value through meticulous restoration and enriching extras.