Kevin, Steve, and Katie are an inseparable trio of friends doing some extracurricular snooping in the school science lab when, among the test tubes and beakers, they discover a corpse! But before they can say “Abra Cadaver,” the body disappears, rolling down Route 51 strapped to a gurney. The kids need a spare stiff, and fast. What they find is “Bud the Chud,” a half-dead decomposing humanoid, the result of a military experiment gone haywire. When Bud sets out on a killing spree, the kids, the Army, the police, and the FBI are hot on his trail, trying to save the entire town from becoming “Chudified!”
As we well know, sequels are made all the time. Some movies get sequels that justify their existence, improve on the concept, and even outdo the original film. Some movies get sequels that fail to live up to their predecessors but are at the very least, watchable little story extensions. Then you have movies like 1989's 'C.H.U.D. II: Bud The CHUD.' A movie that is related to its predecessor in name only and completely fails to expand on a terrific concept involving irradiated Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. Instead, this misguided sequel plays more like a remake of 'Return of the Living Dead Part 2' than an actual C.H.U.D. sequel - simply because the titular monsters are nowhere to be found.
When amiable dope Steve (Brian Robbins) accidentally loses the dead body his anatomy teacher was saving for class, he forces his best pal Kevin (Bill Calvert) to help him find it. When the pals locate a dead guy in an alley, they're sure they have their man. After all, how many dead guys could be laying around in a sleepy suburban town? It turns out there are a lot of dead bodies! The one Steve and Kevin managed to find actually belonged to a super secret government military experiment headed by the nefarious Colonel Masters (the late great Robert Vaughn in a thankless role). When the friends accidentally bring "Bud" (Gerrit Graham) back to life in their bathtub and he runs away, they enlist their friend Katie (Tricia Leigh Fisher) to help track him down. When Bud's insatiable hunger accidentally creates an army of fellow C.H.U.D. zombies, Steve, Kevin, and Katie are going to have bigger things than the military to worry about.
Woof. 'C.H.U.D. II: Bud The CHUD' is a tough horror comedy to swallow. From the outset, it has the unfortunate problem of being completely unrelated to the first film. The action moves from gritty and urban New York City to the bright and plucky suburbs of California. The titular 'Bud the CHUD' is hardly a bud nor is he much of a C.H.U.D., he actually looks more like Thom Mathews or James Karen did in the first two 'Return of the Living Dead' films. He's not a goopy, slimy, yellow-eyed irradiated hell spawn of the sewer, he's just a sharp-toothed zombie that has a penchant for physical comedy. So on that level, 'C.H.U.D. II: Bud The CHUD' is a bit of a bust.
As much as this film does get on my sequel bad side, I can't completely knock it out entirely. It's stupid. I can not deny that, however, there is something about its energy and presence that is so 100% 1980s that I can't help but enjoy the ride. It's never a horror film and plays itself as a comedy with gory elements. On top of that, the stupid teen protagonists and how they're constantly running around town trying to find Bud and missing the obviously growing numbers of his zombified brethren makes the flick feel akin to flicks like 'Meatballs Part II.' Like a stale bag of Cheetos, you love to hate this sort of movie, but it's the sort of guilty pleasure trash you can't stop consuming.
'C.H.U.D. II: Bud the CHUD' was another movie in a long list of horror films that I grew up with. Much like it's predecessor, it was on my local TV channel a lot and that's how I grew into enjoying it. There's that rule of comedy where if you do something enough times long enough that it eventually becomes funny; it's true for 'Bud The CHUD' I won't ever say that it's a particularly good movie, especially when compared to the original, but I will say that I have fun watching it. It's so bad it's fun. Over the years I've successfully compartmentalized this sequel from the original film that it doesn't impact my enjoyment of the original. It can exist on its own as a crappy 80s sequel. Kind of like how 'A Nightmare on Elm St: Part II' is a really crappy sequel that is still sort of enjoyable. I don't recommend this for people expecting an honest effort. It's best viewed as a curiosity and as a specimen of its era.'
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'C.H.U.D. II: Bud the CHUD' arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate and their fancy new Vestron Video Collector's Series imprint. The film is pressed onto a Region A BD50 disc and comes housed in an eco-friendly Blu-ray case with identical slip cover artwork. The disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
'C.H.U.D. II: Bud the CHUD' arrives with a solid 1.85:1 1080p transfer. Right away it's clear to tell you're not going to get the same experience here as you did with the original 'C.H.U.D.' This film is in full lighting throughout the entire film as there are very few dark locations or night scenes to give the film much in the way of shadow or flavor. Black levels are even throughout approaching a nice inky consistency, but even then there is a flatness to the image in some places. Film grain is present, but at times I suspects some mild smoothing may have been employed as fine facial features and certain detail levels don't quite come through as one would naturally expect. That isn't to say this image has been scrubbed to the point of being waxy and lifeless, there are still plenty of fine details to absorb throughout, just certain scenes look a little off. Colors are bright and bold, but perhaps a bit too bright as it can look as though contrast was pumped up a notch or two. Primaries can look a little too pale in some places and flesh tones don't quite have that healthy pinkish color to them. Overall, this is still a very good presentation for a late 80s film. It's honestly better than I would have expected for this title.
'C.H.U.D. II: Bud the CHUD' comes packed with a solid English DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio mix. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout, but at times the mix tends to favor the more comedic elements. The "Bud the CHUD" song for example or the more comedically toned sound effects tend to take center stage as the film constantly is trying to force a laugh out of its audience. Imaging is good throughout as there is plenty of left-right channel movement. Background and atmospherics are a bit subdued here but some sequences do have a nice sense of dimensionality and space to them. Scoring by Nicholas Pike keeps the mix lively and plays up the obvious comedy elements while working to fill the track so the mix is never stagnated. Much like the video transfer, this is a better audio track than a film like this deserves.
Audio Commentary: Director David Irving with moderator Michael Felsher of Red Shirt Pictures provide a fun and engaging commentary track. Irving offers up a lot of relevant production information, stories about punching in little cameos appearances, and Felsher does a great job at keeping the commentary moving without letting it drift into dull or trite conversation.
Bud Speaks! With Gerrit Graham: (HD 16:18) Graham talks about his time on the film, how he was frequently cast in horror films even though he wasn't a fan of the genre. It sounds like they had a great time making the movie.
Katie's Kalamity with Actress Tricia Leigh Fisher: (HD 12:45) Fisher offers up some great bits about making the movie and working on the project. It sounds like most people associated with the making of this movie didn't see the original so they just went into it making a fun comedy horror picture.
This C.H.U.D.'s For You! with Allan Apone: (HD 14:44) Make-up effects designer Allan Apone provides a pretty great interview on what it's like creating monster effects and make-up for horror films without much of a budget to work with.
Video Trailer: (SD 1:47)
Still Gallery: (HD 6:20)
It's hard to imagine that 'C.H.U.D. II: Bud the CHUD' even exists at all. For all intents and purposes, it's not a very good movie as it fails to live up to the original film in concept or in execution. If you're a fan of 80s kitsch horror like 'Return of the Living Dead Part 2' or 'Troll 2,' 'Bud The CHUD' is at least entertaining - for better or worse. Lionsgate does right by this sequel giving the film the full Vestron Video Collector's Edition treatment. The video transfer is in great shape and the audio works well for this sort of film. Add in some solid bonus features and you have the makings of a pretty great Blu-ray release. That said, this is a tough movie to love, making this release one for the fans. Newcomers should tread lightly.