Written by: Ed Naha
Directed by: David Irving
Starring: Brian Robbins, Bill Calvert and Tricia Leigh Fisher
Reviewed by: Brett Gallman
Their first mistake was stealing a corpse...their second was waking him up.
C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud is so awesomely dumb that it apparently doesnít even know what itís supposed to be a sequel to. As you no doubt recall, the original 1984 film was about ďCannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers,Ē these weird, mutated, gooey monsters, and the big mystery revolved around what they actually were and how they got there. In comparison, the only mysteries offered by Bud the Chud is how the fuck it got made in the first place and how it so wildly misses the mark as a follow-up--not necessarily in terms of quality (at best C.H.U.D. is passable junk), but in terms of content. It gets maybe half of the formula right--there are definitely cannibalistic humanoids, but none of them dwell underground.
Instead, thereís apparently only one chud left, and his name is indeed Bud. Apparently, the U.S. military has been using the material from the original film to make super soldiers, but theyíre forced to shut down operations. The very persistent Colonel Masters (an unbelievably invested Robert Vaughn) will have none of it and orders Bud to be frozen with liquid nitrogen that's shot out of some glorified fire extinguishers. He then ships him off to a Center for Disease Control outpost in a rural American town, where a couple of idiot high school kids (Brian Robbins and Bill Calvert) accidentally awaken him when they mistake him as a cadaver and try to steal him for their biology class.
I could fill you in on why theyíre trying to steal Budís body in the first place, but I donít think you need any more than the bare essentials to see that C.H.U.D. II was maybe written by people with wet brains. Even though the original offered a really silly premise, it actually somehow stayed pretty straight-laced in the sense that its characters often acted like real people--even Daniel Stern! The sequel, however, is hare-brained right from the start, when Robert Vaughn starts chewing so much scenery that you worry that heís going to start munching on peopleís brains. Because thatís what the chuds (who arenít actually chuds anymore, but bear with me) do in this entry: wander around biting people in the skull, which turns their victims into brainless cannibals. So, somehow, we went from goopy, razor toothed globs to zombies in the span of one sequel.
Its pattern is rote and zombie-like, too, as it mostly amounts to watching Bud add more brain-dead legions to his horde while the idiot kids (who are joined by a lady friend) and military give chase. Before rigor mortis sets in, it attempts to amuse with a set-piece that has Bud locked up in one of the kidsí basement. He gets loose, of course, and the humor here is supposed to be derived from watching Bud bumble around the house while a couple of oblivious parents never notice thereís a rotting corpse shambling about. Anyway, expecting genuine laughs from all of this is kind of like expecting to find actual chuds living in the sewers, so youíre kind of relieved once Bud gets out on the street and does his thing because itís at least actually a little gory, and you know that any of the idiot characters Bud encounters will eventually have to shut up since their brains will be chomped out.
But wouldnít you know it--some of this is pretty damn charming. C.H.U.D. II is certainly bad, but itís a harmless kind of 80s bad that invites you to laugh along. Itís earnestly silly in a way that the original wasnít and probably should have been; if nothing else, C.H.U.D. II is aware of how stupid it is--at one point, one of Budís horde even loses his head and perfectly reattaches it, for crying out loud. Plus, you just know the zombies are going to end up the podunk townís Halloween dance, and they even do a "Thriller" style synchronized shuffle. That it climaxes on Halloween is automatically cool, especially when thereís a familiar face walking among the trick-or-treaters at one point (hint: youíre more used to seeing him stalk the streets of Springwood).
I donít know--maybe itís because C.H.U.D. II is like a handicapped kid, but itís hard to hate on too much. If you have any sort of expectations for it (and you should not have expectations for something called Bud the Chud), expect something more in the vein of Return of the Living Dead 2, only itís even a little bit more juvenile. C.H.U.D. II would have been your favorite horror movie for about a month when you were nine years old, and time has only been kind if you go into it knowing that. For a long time, it might as well have been cast into a sewer, but itís recently emerged onto DVD thanks to that 8-Pack that Lionsgate has pumped out. Surprisingly, C.H.U.D. II even gets an anamorphic widescreen transfer and a pretty solid stereo track, so youíll be rewarded if you scour your Wal-Mart $5 bin. Well, if you can consider acquiring something that contains the likes of this, 976-Evil II, and Ghoulies III a reward. Rent it!
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