As C.H.U.D. approaches its 35-year anniversary on August 31, 1984, we decided to take a look at one of the surprisingly best aspects of it… its DVD audio commentary! Some of you may doubt its greatness, especially if you’re not C.H.U.D. fans. However, if you can get your hands on a disc with the commentary with Actors Daniel Stern, John Heard, Christopher Curry, Writer Shepard Abbott and Director Douglas Cheek, you have to check it out. What’s so great about the C.H.U.D. audio commentary? Why might it even please non-C.H.U.D.ers out there? Let’s crawl into the sewers and find out…[WARNING: This trailer contains possible spoilers]
They Make Fun of the Movie!
As you re-watch C.H.U.D. with the audio commentary on, you might listen to it and think to yourself: “I know these guys.” They have the sort of raw, spontaneous and natural humor that’s lacking in today’s world. While the commentary isn’t scandalously offensive, these guys are not walking a tightrope and avoiding every possible bit of controversy. They just say what they want as they generally make fun of C.H.U.D. much like Mystery Science Theater 3000 or Rifftrax. They also pick on each other quite a lot, even though they do praise individual scenes. Stern, especially, likes Heard’s performance at times. Quite often, the jokes are simple, like, “What kind of stupid name is Shepard Abbott?”
Jokes about physical features aren’t omitted, offering the sort of few-holds-barred humor many of us long for when watching this film. They note how Stern’s ears look pointed as if he’s a mythological creature. He’s even compared to a Saracen Warrior. Christopher Curry gets compared to Jerry Lee Lewis, and there are some stellar Bob Dylan jokes as The Reverend creeps around in the sewer. There are also a few homoerotic themes that they mention, reminiscent of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985).
Other actors aren’t spared, either, like the guys they keep call Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Sylvester Stallone or Jim Croce. They don’t appear in C.H.U.D., but a few of the actors look vaguely like them. They make light fun of Jon Polito, as well as George Martin. The commentators — especially Daniel Stern — also rag on the rubbery, glowy-eyed monsters that are the C.H.U.D.s themselves! Still, while Stern makes fun of the infamous Extend-O-Neck scene, many of us still love that quaint little moment where a C.H.U.D.’s crane-like throat gets lopped in half by an impromptu, apartment-dwelling warrior.
You Get The Whole C.H.U.D. Experience!
There are some interesting bits of trivia scattered throughout this commentary, which many wouldn’t likely know otherwise. For example, the word C.H.U.D. was the original basis for the movie, which was essentially built around it. It’s even said the name was devised while drunk! The gang also discuss how they’re (allegedly) still owed C.H.U.D. money… or C.H.U.D. bucks, if you will. Of course, they also discuss some aspects of shooting the film. For example, on some days it was very hot, and they would be filming in a sewer AKA the 158th Street caves. Also, Bosch’s (Curry) wife was actually Daniel Stern’s wife (Laure Mattos) in real life.
Stern and crew also complain about the writing/writers at times, noting how some people went uncredited for ideas they came up with, including variations on the meaning of C.H.U.D., like “Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal”. Also, we learn of a dangerous moment during the film’s truck explosion. Filmmaking can actually be dangerous. Who knew? Interestingly, a lot of DVD commentaries aren’t nearly as interesting, funny or exciting as this one.
The C.H.U.D. audio commentary reminds us that, at the end of the day, a movie is just a movie. We may like these things and even get a little emotionally invested in them. However, we probably shouldn’t get too pretentious. While not every film is as zany is C.H.U.D. is, we should recognize them as mere representations of events and ideas. In fact, even a documentary is only a slice of life of what actually occurred and can be edited practically any way one chooses.
At times, the commentary could be seen as making fun of the movie’s own fans. However, it makes sense to just see it as it is. Some of us actually like the way the C.H.U.D.s look, but we can still laugh when Daniel Stern makes fun of them, right? Let’s hope commentaries don’t get totally sidestepped by streaming media. A good one can really add to the movie watching experience!
Watch C.H.U.D. Right Now!
What are your thoughts on C.H.U.D. and its audio commentary? Let us know in the comments!