CHUD takes place in mid-eighties NYC, where people are randomly disappearing off of the streets at night. The police chief is furious as to why his team cant figure out what’s going on, and the mayor is crawling up his ass for results. Detective Bosch is leading the investigation, and he suspects that the vanishings have something to do with the recent disappearances of several known homeless people in the area. The problem is that nobody is taking him seriously and to make things worse, his wife is one of the missing citizens. His trail leads him to a homeless shelter run by Daniel Stern, a former street thug turned preacher. At first Stern is not very willing to help out, being that he and Bosch have had run-ins before. When he finds out about Bosch’s wife, however, he tells him that several of his patrons at the soup kitchen have not been showing up recently. Oddly, all of the missing bums are ones that live underground in the sewers. Bosch attempts to question one of the sewer urchins in the soup kitchen, but instead he gets some psycho-babble and is nearly attacked by the bum. Afterwards, Bosch and Stern take to the sewers and begin searching for clues.
Meanwhile, a reporter played by John Heard is discovering about the strange happenings by a sewer urchin whom he is familiar with. It turns out that recently Heard lived among the bums in the sewers for a month, in order to get information for an article he was writing. Heard is taken into the sewer once again by the urchin, where he discovers that one of the men he lived with down there has been attacked by an unknown creature and has had his lower leg nearly bitten off. Heard also begins investigating, curious as to what is going on in the sewers.
I don’t want to tell you too much more, because I don’t want to spoil the story. The rest of the film contains several unexpected twists and turns, including the discovery of what CHUD really stands for (No, its not what you think). Lets just say that it will keep you wondering for most of the film.
What makes this movie so great though is the dark, melancholy feel of it. It is very dreary and depressing, and it gives you a glimpse at what really happens in the lives of not-so-fortunate people. Its serpentine look is a great aspect to this flick, along with the original storyline and aforementioned twists and turns. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who’s into 80’s b-horror flicks like I am. However, as good as this movie is, steer clear of CHUD II at all costs!
But that’s a bad story for another day…