It’s not very often that the term “perfect film” is used in cinema.  2001, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, CHUD, these are a few of them that come to mind when that term is used in the upper elite of the film critic circles.

Wait.  You don’t know CHUD? Clearly you were not an HBO subscriber in the 80’s then, when all the cool kids had one of these on the top of their TV:

C.H.U.D. box

Back in those days, HBO ran about 3 movies over and over again: Sheena, Weird Science, and CHUD made that very rare and exclusive cut.

CHUD – The Film

In this cinematic masterpiece, CHUD was an acronym for “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller”, or “Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal”, depending on which part of the film you are in.  Yes, it changed halfway through. The film was about a series of murders in New York City that lead to the discovery of a underground civilization of cannibals living in the sewers. The movie grossed $4.2M in the US in a limited theatrical release (and a budget of only $1.2M) but was panned by critics. It was, however, embraced by fans and remains a cult sensation to this day (by everyone who has an ounce of taste).

It was directed by Douglas Cheek, an editor who quickly went back to editing after the film opened in 1984.  The screenplay was by Parnell Hall, the author of the “Puzzle Lady” series of crossword puzzle books, a career he also quickly went back to after penning this amazing film.  Clearly, he realized he had struck gold on his first screenplay and realized no experience could top this level of true perfection. In fact, after a little digging, it seems like everyone BUT the cast went on to other careers.  The cast was filled with a collection of surprisingly talented actors. It included Emmy and Golden Globe winners as well at THREE Home Alone alumni.  Let’s look at where a few of them ended up after this film catapulted them to the A-List.

(SIDE NOTE: This brilliant piece of film is not to be confused with the website CHUD (Cinematic Happenings Under Development), who co-opted the CHUD name to capitalize on its fame and fortune.)

JOHN HEARD

John Heard in C.H.U.D.

John Heard as George Cooper

Mr. Heard went on from playing the leading man in CHUD to a long career playing The Dad (in movies like Home Alone), The Politician (like in The Pelican Brief) or the amazingly complex Dad Politician (as he did in Prison Break).  You may only know him from CHUD, but chances are you’ve seen him at least once in every movie and TV show since 1984.

KIM GREIST

Kim Greist in CHUD

Kim Greist as Lauren Daniels

Kim had quite a successful career after her debut role in CHUD, going on to play major roles in TV Shows like Miami Vice and X-Files and in films like Throw Momma From The Train, Brazil, and Manhunter.  Strangely, she completely dropped off the grid after a guest starring role on Judging Amy.  She has had no professional acting credits since that guest spot in 2002 and doesn’t seem to have any Twitter, Facebook or even an agent these days.  If anyone out there sees her, please tell her we spent a lot of time looking for her. She should call us, we’re worried.

DANIEL STERN

Daniel Stern in C.H.U.D.

Daniel Stern as A.J. “The Reverend” Shepherd

Like John Heard, Mr. Stern also went on to star in Home Alone. He spent the entire run of The Wonder Years being the voice of the narrator, a grown up Kevin Arnold.  He starred opposite Billy Crystal in City Slickers 1 & 2, and directed and starred in Rookie of the Year (which is actually a quite underrated comedy).  He’s been consistently working ever since, but to us he will always be The Reverend. (And will NEVER be The Old Man he tried to be in Christmas Story 2.)

JAY THOMAS

Jay Thomas in CHUD

Jay Thomas in CHUD

Jay Thomas actually went on to be a pretty big deal for a while.  For a long stretch in the 80’s he was hosting the #1 rated morning radio show in Los Angeles while simultaneously starring as Carla’s husband on Cheers.  That lasted until he made a few un-Cheer-ful comments about his on-screen wife, Rhea Perlman on his morning show, which led to his character being run over by a Zamboni.  Since then, Jay has continued to work here and there both in film and TV, most recently appearing on the Showtime series Ray Donovan. Jay has been quoted often, though, as saying how much he misses his time as “Cop In Diner” (well, we assume he has but couldn’t find any actual quotes to prove that).

JOHN GOODMAN

John Goodman in CHUD

John Goodman in CHUD

SAG AWARD, EMMY and GOLDEN GLOBE winner John Goodman should really credit every award he’s won to his humble beginnings as Jay Thomas’ laughing partner, Cop In Diner #2. He owes it all to this shining moment and we won’t forgive him until he admits it.  In addition to past movies like Argo and TV shows like Roseanne, John currently stars in Alpha House on Amazon.

We could really go on and on.  There’s actually not a scene in this movie where you DON’T see someone that you recognize.  Patricia Richardson (Home Improvement) shows up as a news anchor.  Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona) appears as a nameless detective.  We’re pretty sure we’re even in it somewhere, but we spent most of the 80’s on a mescaline binge, so our memory is a little hazy about that.

So, without further ado, here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for.  Say hello to the cast of CHUD today.

 

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