Tagline: This CHUDs for you!
Director: David Irving
Writer: Ed Naha (Under the pseudonym M. Kane Jeeves)
Starring: Brian Robbins, Bill Calvert, Tricia Leigh Fleisher, Gerrit Graham, Robert Vaughn, Larry Cedar, Jack Riley, Sandra Kerns, Norman Fell, June Lockhart, Rich Hall, Robert Symonds, Priscilla Pointer, Jo Ann Dearing
15 / 1hr 24min / Horror-Comedy
What makes a sequel a sequel?
By definition, it is supposed to be a follow-up to a previous installment, maintaining some form of continuity, whether it be through characters, concepts, or setting, but with C.H.U.D. II, sequel to 1984’s C.H.U.D., we have what is arguably the most tenuously linked follow-up in movie history.
How so you might ask? For one thing, the alien creatures from the first movie are nonexistent, and within the first few minutes a press conference is being held explaining that the C.H.U.D. research program has been discontinued, much to the disappointment of Colonel Masters (Robert Vaughn). Luckily for him, a scientist injects a dead man with C.H.U.D. DNA, but instead of morphing him into a hideous creature as the box art suggests, he comes back to life in human form and attacks the scientist, before being captured thanks to Master’s squad and their freezethrowers, which we know are standard military issue for all soldiers.
Meanwhile, two friends named Steve and Kevin (Brian Robbins and Bill Calvert) are in need of a new cadaver for their science class after they accidentally send theirs rolling down the road. Through the power of infiltration and stealth, and with a little assistance from a girl named Katie (Tricia Leigh Fisher), they steal a corpse from the local CDC building, unaware that it’s the reanimated soldier from earlier. After the corpse resurrects following a freak accident, Steve and Kevin go to meet with Katie to discuss their scientific discovery. Meanwhile, the C.H.U.D., nicknamed Bud (Gerritt Graham), escapes a locked basement and goes to work chewing his way through any human that crosses his path.
The concept is reminiscent of various other movies released prior to C.H.U.D. II., aping more from 8o’s classics like Night of the Creeps and Return of the Living Dead than from the original C.H.U.D., while also adding a dash of Saved by the Bell thanks to its cutesy high-school protagonists. The end result is something that feels like a store-brand version of those cult classics. It has a campy sense of fun, but it lacks the satisfaction those other movies offer.
Pulling off jokes in any movie is a tricky proposition, since the material has to be creative and capable of generating laughs. C.H.U.D. II has such moments, most of them involving Bud (Gerritt Graham) stumbling around trying to catch some unsuspecting human, and Graham, better known for films like Phantom of the Paradise, Used Cars, and Child’s Play 2, has a lot of fun as the undead creature with an appetite for destruction.
It’s a shame that can’t be said for the rest of the movie’s attempts at humour. Most of them go nowhere – like a conversation between Masters and a researcher about how worksheds are no longer used as a common source of punishment – or involve simplistic gags where the people-turned CHUDs fumble and struggle, or have humans interacting with them, oblivious to their pale skin, sharp teeth, and desire to eat them up.
The movie’s biggest sin, though, is its lack of legitimate violence. Despite boasting an R-rating, most of the kills committed by the CHUDs are off-screen and accompanied by what I like to call “The Apple Crunch of Death,” a basic indicator that yes, somebody has just died. Considering that this is basically a zombie movie, you end up feeling cheated by the lack of onscreen gore, but there are a couple of moments of carnage to keep you entertained. Perhaps even enough to convince you to stay the distance.
This is tough, considering 90% of the deaths are off-screen, but the best one involves a man going into a barbershop, unaware that the cutter has been CHUD-ified by Bud. It’s memorable more for the dialogue, in which the customer talks about how back in the day, leaving your possessions out in the street or the car running all night was A-OK!
Most Absurd Moment
At one point, Bud peeps into a house and sees a woman exercising while smoking a cigarette. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that smoking while stretching triples the likelihood of contracting lung disease.
Most Absurd Dialogue
Steve’s parents waltz into the aftermath of a mess Bud leaves in the bathroom, and we get this exchange.
Father: “Cream packs? My mother never used those!”
Mother: “Your mother looked like Humphrey Bogart!”
Father: “My mother never smoked a cigarette in her life!”
You’ve already seen what C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud does done much better. It has its moments, a decent cast and a fun performance from Gerritt Graham as Bud, but in the end it leaves a lot to be desired, while the lack of legit gore makes this arguably the most PG-13 R-rated movie ever. This one’s best reserved for a late-night, MST3K-style riffing with buds, regardless of whether they’re CHUDs or not.
William R. Lowery
VHS Revival is a non-profit venture. Any donation, no matter how small, will help towards the site’s running costs and ultimately enable us to grow. Thank you.