Really Awful Movies: Ep 236 – C.H.U.D.

C.H.U.D. is a weird one. For reasons unexplained, the film’s left quite the pop culture legacy, referenced everywhere from  Aqua Teen Hunger Force to Clerks II, and of course, in The Simpsons. Why is this? Hard to say…It’s possible because while the 50s was the height of the monster movie craze, the similarly-themed C.H.U.D. was a definite outlier during the stalk-and-slash 80s.

The flick launches with a woman walking her dog in an inexplicably deserted New York street. She and her pooch are promptly pulled into the sewer.

We’re then introduced to a fashion photographer, George. He lives with his model girlfriend (that is to say, girlfriend who is a model, not the ideal girlfriend). His current photojournalism project is photographing NYC’s homeless population, some of whom live in a subterranean sewer lair.

Soon, Captain Bosch, NYPD, takes a personal stake in a spate of disappearances. Since many of the missing are dispossessed and down-and-out, Bosch interviews A.J., aka, “The Reverend” (Daniel Stern), who runs the local homeless shelter.

AJ, who has been poking around in the sewer and found items that include a Geiger counter, believes the events are part of a massive conspiracy. And since this is a 50s-style monster movie, he’s damn right.

While making barely a ripple at the box office in the 80s slasher boom, it’s still pretty fun stuff viewing it in present day. An A.V. Club reviewer was totally spot-on when he wrote, “Perfect for bleary-eyed late-night viewing and pretty much unwatchable at any other hour.”

Join us on the Really Awful Movies Podcast, where we dissect this fun creature feature. And decide whether AV Club had it right. Subscribe! And leave us a review on iTunes if you like what you hear.

Really Awful Movies: Ep 235 – The Driller Killer

Another Video Nasty! On this week’s episode, the unusually arty low-budget slasher, The Driller Killer. Actually, calling it a slasher is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more of a character study of a brooding artist’s breakdown. This is a weird beast, and not what you’d entirely expect given the era, the budget, and the cast of amateurs involved (save for auteur, Abel Ferrara, the indie legend who went on to direct the infamous, Bad Lieutenant and King of New York).

Ferrara (credited as Jimmy Laine) plays Reno Miller. Reno is a tortured artist, tortured by a murky past and an uncertain future. He lives with a harem of girls in the East Village in the height of the punk rock boom in NYC. And he’s surrounded by human misery, squalor and degradation. And that’s just his studio apartment (ba-dum-ching). His milieu is a haven for drug and alcohol abuse, and poverty.

But look at the title, folks. Invariably, he descends into madness and…well, you know the drill (bam!) Forgive us that one, dear readers.

The Driller Killer is worth checking out. Made on a shoestring, with no city permits (guerrilla-style) it has a lot to commend it. As does our podcast, if we may be so bold. Check out the Really Awful Movies Podcast, for weekly genre chat.