Tag Archives: C.H.U.D

Throwback Thursday: “C.H.U.D.” (1984)!

Happy Halloween!  “C.H.U.D.” (1984) was another science fiction-horror movie that I and the kids on my street really enjoyed back in the day — it was a bit of a legend in my peer group, and it actually scared me a little.  The monsters were a lot of fun.  They were gross and ferocious, and they popped snarling out of the shadows of the New York City sewer system, and that’s the sort of thing that holds a middle school boy’s attention.

The movie boasts a young John Heard and Daniel Stern among its leads, and none other than a pre-fame John Goodman in a minor role as a cop.  (It was only his fourth film role.)

I’d love to hunt this flick down and revisit it.  I have no idea how well it’s held up since the 80’s, but I can’t say I’m hopeful — its audience score over at Rotten Tomatoes is just 32%.

Ah well.



Throwback Thursday: “Willard” (1971) and “Ben” (1972)!

“Willard” (1971) and its sequel, “Ben” (1972), were another pair of 1970’s movies that got plenty of airtime on 1980’s television.  I read both books when I was a kid too.

First I picked up Stephen Gilbert’s Ratman’s Notebooks at a yard sale, because that’s how you found cool horror books during summer vacations when you were too young to drive.  (Sometimes adults had few compunctions about what they sold to minors too.  I bought a vampire book in gradeschool that was full of nude photos, for some reason, and that led to what I’m sure was an interesting conversation between my parents and the neighbor-proprietor down the street.)

Anyway, I absolutely loved Ratman’s Notebooks (despite its lamentable absence of nude photos) and I finished it in a day or two.  The novelization of the “Ben” film by Gilbert A. Ralston was somewhat less impressive, but I still enjoyed it.

If you’re a comics fan, like I am, then it might occur you that “Willard” and his army of trained rats seem to inspire a villain in Batman’s rogue’s gallery — Ratcatcher.  Ratcatcher has been a minor league villain since he debuted in DC Comics in 1988, but he’s a pretty neat bad guy when placed in the hands of the right writer.

I feel certain that anyone will recognize Ernest Borgnine in the first trailer below– his  face and voice are impossible to confuse with those of another man.  If the disaffected, spooky, eponymous Willard looks familiar to you, that’s none other than a young Bruce Davison.  He’s a good actor who’s been in a lot of films, but I think a plurality of my friends will know him as Senator Kelly from the first two “X-Men” movies (2000, 2003).

You’ll note the presence of flamethrowers in the trailer for “Ben.”  Flamethrowers were a staple of 70’s and 80’s horror films; it was just part of  the zeitgeist.  They were handy for heroes fighting any nigh-unstoppable nonhuman baddie — think of “The Swarm” (1978), “The Thing” (1982), “C.H.U.D.” (1984), “Aliens” (1986), and “The Blob” (1988), for example.  Hell, 1980’s “The Exterminator” featured a vigilante using a flamethrower to kill criminals.   It was a weird time.




New Website “The Horror Within” is Reviewing My Favorite Horror Films and Doing a Wicked Cool Job of It.

They’ve had great takes on “Wolfen” (1981) and “C.H.U.D.” (1984); this is Gena Radcilffe’s review of 2008’s fantastic “Pontypool.”

I’ve been mentioning this lesser known low-budget independent film ever since I saw it in New York City four years ago.  I hesitate to name it as a “zombie movie,” because that might turn off people who aren’t fans of the particularly gory subgenre.  And it kinda isn’t … there are no undead or cannibalism here, and little gore; this really has more in common with certain other sci-fi-horror classics that I will not name for fear of spoilers.

I never liked the title.  It merely names the town where the thriller takes place, and does nothing to inform the listener about the story’s content, unless I’m really missing something.

But it’s a damn fine flick.  If you really like the silken voiced Stephen McHattie, as I do, then you might also enjoy his role in the “Civil War zombie film,” 2011’s “Exit Humanity.”  [EDIT: McHattie had a particularly badass turn in the classic 1995 “X Files” story arc, “Nisei”/”731.”  He threw Fox Mulder a more brutal ass-kicking than any monster or demon ever did.  And it paved the way for one of David Duchovny’s best deadpan one-liners in the series: “You know, Scully, it’s true what they say.  You haven’t seen America until you’ve seen it from a train.”]

Read the review of “Pontypool” at “The Horror Within” right here:


Finally … read the site’s review of “Wolfen” too.