C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud
Their first mistake was stealing a corpse... Their second was waking him up.
Year of Release: 1989
Running Time: 84 minutes (1:24)
Director: David Irving
Brian Robbins ... Steve Williams
Bill Calvert ... Kevin
Tricia Leigh Fisher ... Katie
Gerrit Graham ... Bud Oliver / Bud the C.H.U.D.
Robert Vaughn ... Colonel Masters
Larry Cedar ... Graves
Bianca Jagger ... Velma
Larry Linville ... Dr. Jewell
Norman Fell ... Tyler
June Lockhart ... Gracie
Robert Englund ... Man in Trenchcoat Walking with Trick-or-Treaters (uncredited)
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. At a local hospital, they find one - but this is no ordinary corpse - this is "Bud the Chud!" He's a half-dead decomposing humanoid - the result of a military experiment gone haywire. A botched re-activation, and Bud's on a killing spree - turning everyone into a CHUD! Now the kids, the Army, the police and the FBI are hot on his trail before the entire town gets "Chudified!" CHUD II... it's so funny - it's scary.
C.H.U.D. II, remindin' us that since the beginnin' of time every species has worshiped a god, an for the CHUDs, that god hasta be Raiden. We know this because when you're a CHUD, electricity giveth life, an electricity taketh away that life. Although, that can really make for a fine line between creation an destruction sometimes, I mean, a little jolt brings 'em to life, but a bigger one kills 'em? How the heck's that work? The human equivalent would be like accidentally killin' your pregnant wife's fetus by havin' too much sex after it was conceived an... eh, forget it, I'm startin' to feel a little sick just thinkin' about fetuses. An speakin' of abominations unto God, I guess everyone's prolly heard by now, but Sadie Bonebreak's been stayin' at the house ever since she had that big fight with what's-'er-name after our weekly guy's night out last Tuesday at Walleye's Topless Dancin' & Bait Shop. I personally don't see what the big deal is, I mean, we mostly just go in there to find out where they're bitin' an whether the fishin's any good. Maybe order a tackle box fulla onion rings from the kitchen to munch on while we turn our heads back an forth between old Bassmaster Classic reruns on the Zenith Chromacolor an whatever beauty school drop out ole Wade's got shakin' 'er goods that particular day. I swear, Wade Sawyer (he owns the place) must single-handedly keep the loggin' industry goin' just from the number of W-2s he's gotta mail at the end of the year. But anyway, apparently Sadie accidentally exceeded the boundaries of good taste when she slipped a dollar bill into the underpants of this bountiful dancer who's stayin' over at the battered ladies shelter. I guess they've got this "just the tip" guideline in place that nobody's enforced since female shoulder pads were in style, but anyway, we hadn't been back at the house more'n ten minutes before Sadie's girlfriend's ringin' the phone off the hook an spittin' out phrases like "violated our sacred trust" an "I thought we had somethin' special," which universally means callin' into work sick the next day due to a lack of sleep, regardless of sexual orientation. I dunno what all was said, but the short of it is that Sadie's stayin' over here until 'er significant udder calms 'er teats down. I'd imagine that, from what I did hear, the clingy broad's prolly pacin' around 'er livin' room makin' that squishy sound with 'er shoes from all the mascara that's run down into 'em. This is fine by me, cause other'n Sadie complainin' about me takin' too long to get ready in the mornin', we get along fine. Plus, with Shankles sleepin' on toppa HER feet now, I'm prolly gettin' the best sleep I've had since Cheers went off the air. So just in case what's-'er-butt's readin' this, there's absolutely nothin' goin' on between us except for longer movie marathons now that Sadie don't gotta be home to your whiny hinder by 10pm every night, an you should prolly stick to your guns an try waitin' 'er out cause I'm pretty sure she really hates it here an she's definitely gonna crack any day now. Also, Sadie says she wants 'er "booster rocket" back, whatever that is.
But anyway, I figured this week I'd get around to finishin' out the C.H.U.D. series to remind everybody just where the limit is when it comes to injectin' comedy into your horror series, cause this one goes about as far as possible without crossin' into the city limits of Tromaville. It still goes a little further than I'd have liked, an the original C.H.U.D. is still head an shoulders above it, but there's just somethin' about this cheese platter that you can't help but love. So here're a few of the things that I found most fascinatin' about it, that we would've never seen if the movie'd been done real serious like. First, American CHUDs aughta be ashamed of themselves wastin' food like they do. Only one bite from each victim? Don't these guys know there're starvin' CHUDs in China? Second, love hurts. An it especially hurts when the one you love stomps the end of a rake an propels the handle into your chunderwear region. An third, to maintain maximum freshness, always seal the unused portion of your CHUD in a hyperbaric chamber when not in use. Now that's all well an good, but I've got an observation regardin' the way the movie pans out, an it never woulda happened if the Screen Actors Guild hadn't let the CHUDs unionize. Seriously, what's the first thing the CHUDs do once they've got representation? They demand to have their public image spruced up an refuse to put on their real, placenta-faced heads for the camera, an vow never again to stretch their necks out like E.T. on muscle relaxers. They won't do either of these things cause they insist that the audience be "sympathetic to the plight of their people." After all, they were the alleged "victims" in all this, despite livin' rent free in the sewers of N.Y.C. an moochin' meals offa Daniel Stern for years. Won't even make their eyes glow green like a coupla bottles of Hi-C Ecto-Cooler for the kids anymore, it's sickening. Then the next thing you know, they turn around an demand all these script changes that allow 'em to unfreeze themselves when the feds start squirtin' 'em with liquid nitrogen. The one savin' grace in all this is that the director was at least able to prevent 'em from gettin' onto the studio's dental plan, mostly on account of the fact that dentists generally take one look into these guys' gaping maws an decide their mouths'd been totaled when completin' the damage assessment. Those jagged green splittin' wedges they call teeth're about the only thing separatin' these guys from bein' run-of-the-mill hillbillies at this point, cause if they'd lost those they'da pretty well made the complete Hollywood monster transformation a la vampires, an prolly started refusin' to even take villain roles anymore on the basis that it would perpetuate a negative stereotype. Now, I don't want anybody to think that I'm anti-union or anything, but there comes a point when they get too dang much power an things like box office receipts start sufferin' for it. An I'm also not sayin' I want these CHUDs rounded up an placed into internment sewers or anything like that, but when the artistic vision starts gettin' trampled on cause some creepolas're playin' politics, that's when I start to get a little P.O.'d. That's all I'm sayin'.
The movie begins in this hospital where a doctor's about to give a lethal injection to this guy on a gurney who looks like Clancy Brown after a trip through the trash compactor, only before the doc can stick 'im with the De-Animator juice, he wakes up an pops the guy's head off like a bra in a Sybil Danning flick. But while that's goin' on, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Colonel Masters) is over in the lobby of the Hilton havin' a press conference about how the military's cuttin' off the fundin' for the C.H.U.D. project, which as best as I can tell, is why the movie hadda be turned into a partial comedy. But about that time Masters gets a call from the hospital where the C.H.U.D. just uncorked the doctor's skullcap an he an his GI Jokes hafta pile in there an hose it down with fire extinguishers so it'll chill out an quit contributin' to the doctor shortage, at which point Masters decides to send the corpse to the CDC's sister facility in Nowheresville. Meanwhile, in Nowheresville, these future fry cooks of America're sittin' in biology class where one of 'em (Steve) is demonstratin' how to set the science lab on fire an provin' his theory about the correlation between a stunted intellect an the mullet. It's kinda interesting actually, it involves the hair follicles of the mullet actually penetratin' the skull an pipin' in Achy Breaky Heart nonstop to the point that the owner just don't think he'll understand much of anything. Anyway, then the kid an his terminally nerdy friend (Kevin) get sentenced to a lifetime of boring labor in the storage area an accidentally nudge the biology teacher's prize corpse down a ramp that leads to the freeway, an pretty quick the man on the gurney's goin' on a journey. The corpse fails to obey just about every traffic law in the book until we got cars spinnin' on the interstate like a 28 sided die at a Dungeons & Dragons game, an before too long the urge to make really bad "dearly departed" jokes becomes almost unbearable. No problem though, cause the guys figure they'll just check out a loaner body from the CDC. Unfortunately, they end up takin' the C.H.U.D. (affectionately known as Bud) an try stashin' it at Steve's place where this Nazi poodle keeps tryin' to nibble his bits until Steve punts it down the stairs like an apprehensive slinky.
Then they end up dumpin' Bud in the tub an accidentally drop a hair dryer in with 'im til he reanimates an gets this look on his face like he just found out somebody taped over his copy of Super Bowl XXIV. Steve's psyched cause he thinks that havin' discovered the cure for death means he'll get outta havin' to repeat Freshman biology for a third time, cept now they gotta move Bud down to the basement while his parents (his Dad's the guy who does the voice overs for the Country Crock ads) watch this National Geographic special on the matin' habits of the Alaskan Schlong Walrus. This calls for a celebration, so Steve an Kevin head out to the Bossy Burger with their getaway driver (Kate), only while they're gone Bud escapes an overflows the toilet so he can play water park in the can. Then he starts eyeballin' the Nazi poodle an lickin' his chops like Beethoven at a barbecue, an dishes 'imself up a helpin' of kit 'n kapoodle, but the mutt ain't fit for much more'n an appetizer, so he heads over to the neighbor's house where this spandex-clad broad with thighs like oil drums is doin' Aerobicise. Unfortunately, she's basically a sexual predator, an when she spots 'im at the window she goes out an starts makin' 'im feel like a piece of meat until he decides he don't wanna be Bud the Stud, an gives 'er a big hicky that makes 'er look like the Goblin Queen from Troll 2 after spendin' the last two hours at the front of a schlonga line in a Skid Row singles bar. She was a superficial bitch anyhow. Started gettin' all stuck up when she noticed his dentition kinda looked like Jaws after a kelp burger, so I say he's better off. The next mornin', the now Chudified Nazi poodle from Hell is waitin' outside Steve's house for the mailman, an once he starts stuffin' the mailbox fulla Publisher's Clearinghouse nonsense the poodle gets P.O.'d an turns 'im into Purina puppy chow. Then the Colonel shows up to reclaim his lost CHUD, only Steve won't come to the door an so he tells Mom that when he gets ahold of Steve... well, we're talkin' corpse-marshall time. Bud, meanwhile, has grabbed a snack an a haircut at the barber shop, an watches the kids go right past 'im while he's fishin' out parkin' meter coins in the mall fountain, an pretty quick he starts eyeballin' Kate like he wants to introduce 'er to Bud the Choad. Then the kids go for some pink meat at the Bossy Burger, only they don't notice this pickup fulla CHUDs pull in an start neckin' with the wait staff til they've had their fill of grill jockeys an take off.
The kids do eventually notice Bud in the back of the truck tryin' to teach his new Chuddy Buddies proper meal time etiquette as they're pullin' out, but while the kids're followin' the pickup, the Colonel shows up an fires a bazooka into the diner after the patrons start tryin' to chew off his chauffeur's meatballs an pretty quick we got Chud missiles soarin' through the stratosphere. After awhile, the kids find Bud holed up in the barn from Friday the 13th Part 3 with his partners in slime, but about that time this hayseed kicks the door in an starts blowin' away CHUDs like they're federal census takers, til they swarm 'im under an nibble at his Osh Kosh B'Goshs. Then Kate hasta stomp on the end of a rake so the handle'll fly up an smack Bud right in the zomballs, at which point the Colonel shows up an takes the kids into custody while his goons flash-freeze Bud's troops into glopsicles. So the Colonel takes 'em back to the CDC to waterboard 'em for information, cept the military guys hadn't reckoned with the kids' inherent resistance to torture due to their prolonged exposure to Professor Cranky Von Doldrum's science class. Elsewhere, Bud an his grody toadies've located an advertisement for the high school's Halloween dance an decide to go munch some student bodies, only he figures that kinda thing wouldn't be any fun for the younger Chudlings, so he sends 'em over to June Lockhart's house to eat 'er parakeet an do 'er in for never havin' the guts to off Guy Williams when she was on Lost in Space. Then the CHUDs do the Thriller outside the high school an mug Annette from Joanie Loves Chachi for demandin' such unreasonable entrance fees an refusin' to give 'em a group rate for the dance. But while that's goin' on, our three amigos're sneakin' into the school through the loadin' dock til they run into the the biology teacher who's in his lab reenactin' molars for Algernon with his test subjects, an they end up havin' to ram a blow torch through his head an use this Mr. Freeze gun they stole from the CDC on 'im before electrocutin' 'im with this super-charged cattle prod. This gives Kevin an idea of how to melt 'em all into bloody CHUD crud, only by now all the CHUDs're out in the gym gettin' sloshed offa the spiked fruit punch an partyin' like it's 1989, so gettin' 'em outta there an into the pool could prove difficult without the aid of some serious T&A from Kate. Gonna cut it off here so as to not spoil the excitin' conclusion to C.H.U.D. II: Electric Goobaloo.
Alrighty, well, when I was younger I couldn't hardly stand this movie because of the comedic spin the writers put on the original concept, but these days I like it well enough. The comedy is right on the verge of going over the edge, and there's still too much of it for the movie to ever really compete with the big boys in the Horror/Comedy genre, but it's a lot better than people give it credit for. The reason it's so goofy is because it was originally written as a sequel in the Return of the Living Dead series, which suddenly makes everything make complete sense if you've seen the first two RoTLD movies. Of course, that didn't happen, and Return of the Living Dead 3 actually ended up being the first (and only) serious entry in the series, and this bizarre script that was supposed to be RoTLD 2 or 3 (I'm not sure exactly when the script was originally written) got attached to the C.H.U.D. franchise instead. Fans of the franchise are kinda split on this one, as you've got the purists who love the original and feel like the foolishness of the sequel taints it, and then there're the fans who find the sequel vastly superior because it isn't stuffy and serious like the first one. Like I said, I used to be part of the former, but at this point I like them both quite a bit, and I don't entirely understand the animosity that some of these people feel toward either of them. The original is definitely better in terms of storytelling, but the sequel is a lot more fun, so you people really oughta just quit pickin' at each other and get along. Both interpretations of the C.H.U.D.s are pretty, alright? There. Glad we got that sorted out. I'm sure that's the last I'll be hearing about it. I guess there usually is a deciding factor with these kinds of movies that determines whether or not they belong in the toilet or not, and that's simply how natural the comedy comes across. And on that front I think they set the right tone perfectly, ensuring the humor doesn't clash with the rest of the movie. The casting is a big part of it, with a couple performances from actors who're strongly cast against type, including Robert Vaughn as the off-kilter Colonel who wants to use the CHUDs as a military weapon, and June Lockhart as some senior citizen who just happens to open the door to the wrong batch of trick-or-treaters. I defy you to find me a better movie that features June Lockhart as a zombie, although she technically gives a better performance as the cranky old sorceress in Troll. Then you've got the dialog, which is just brilliant. A few of my favorite lines include the desk clerk at the hospital paging a doctor with: "Dr. Birkhother, where the hell are you? I am not fooling around." after he fails to answer three or four code blue pages. Then there's the scene where Bud overflows the crapper and Steve's Mom's whining about her cosmetic products being ruined. Steve's Dad says "My mother never used mud packs and beauty kits when I was a kid" to which Mom replies "Your mother looked like Humphrey Bogart!" Add in the "Bud the Chud" theme song and there's no stopping this flick.
Okay then, let's nibble on this thing and find out if the meat's gone rotten. The plot, as I discussed previously, doesn't make a lick of sense continuity wise. And despite the fact that I like the movie, there has to be some kind of accountability here in terms of screwing with the canon of the series. They do touch on the events of the original *really* briefly in the military press conference scene, but I think they could have still gone the comedy route without stuffing the original concept down the garbage disposal, so that decision is going to cost them some points. The acting is definitely the best part of the movie. Between the consciously silly (but not over the top) performances of Robert Vaughn and the rest of the primary cast, the acting conveys just the right amount of goofdom, without squandering any legitimate acting talent. To give credit where credit is due, a lot of why this movie does indeed work can be attributed to the writing, because it's really easy to go to the well too often with a series of mediocre jokes. But Ed Naha (who also did the writing on Troll, Dolls, and a few other Empire Pictures/Full Moon flicks) does an excellent job in terms of making precision strikes with his humor, rather than firing off a nonstop barrage of lame jokes. The scene where the stuffed poodle gets kicked down the stairs is way funnier than it should be, and that's a scene written by a man who knows his funny.
Here's who matters and why (less Robert Vaughn, and Robert Englund, because I should think they're popular enough that they don't need their credits spelled out): Brian Robbins (Cellar Dweller), Bill Calvert (Spider-Man 1 & 2), Gerrit Graham (Child's Play 2, Phantom of the Paradise, Demon Seed, The Wasp Woman 1996, Philadelphia Experiment II, Martians Go Home, Big Man on Campus, It's Alive III, Ratboy, Chopping Mall, TerrorVision, The Creature Wasn't Nice, Strange New World, Beware! The Blob), Larry Cedar (Constantine, The Crazies 2010, Exquisite Corpse, The Gingerdead Man, Watchers Reborn, Pinocchio's Revenge, Philadelphia Experiment II, Demonic Toys, Lucky Stiff, The Hidden, Ghost Warrior, Dreamscape, Twilight Zone: The Movie), Larry Linville (The Night Stalker, Earth Girls Are Easy, School Spirit), Jack Riley (Room 6, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!), Judd Omen (Dune, Dollman, Howling II), Norman Fell (Hexed, The Boneyard, Stripped to Kill, Transylvania 6-5000), June Lockhart (Troll, Strange Invaders, Deadly Games, Curse of the Black Widow, She-Wolf of London), Robert Symonds (Mandroid, The Exorcist, Superstition, 'Demon, Demon'), Priscilla Pointer (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics, Disturbed, Carrie, Rumpelstiltskin, Twilight Zone: The Movie), Jo Ann Dearing (Suburban Commando, Cat People 1982), Frank Birney (Critters 2, Wicked Lake, Lucky Stiff, Fear No Evil, The Clonus Horror), Marvin J. McIntyre (The Running Man, Back to the Future III, Return to Horror High), Ritch Shydner (The Man Who Fell to Earth), Clive Revill (The Empire Strikes Back, The Legend of Hell House, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, The Headless Ghost), Tony Edwards (Starman, Star Trek IV), Winifred Freedman (Evolution, Hellraiser: Inferno, Ratboy), Mark Stuart Lane (Friday the 13th Part IV), Sarah Berry (Evil Dead II), Jonathan Farwell (Frankenstein General Hospital, Watchers II, The Haunting of Morella), Randy Pelish (Howling VI), Gregg Brinkley (Galaxy Quest, Dracula: Dead and Loving It), Geoffrey Forward (Deadly Dreams), Eric Boles (Cutting Class, Doctor Death: The Seeker of Souls, The Night God Screamed), Peter Beckman (Zodiac Killer), Michael Bell (My Soul to Take, First Man Into Space, and he was the voice of Hoppy in It Waits).
A pretty solid showing as far as genre credits, but the movie also features a really strange hodgepodge of genre and mainstream actors, so here're the casting credits for all you poor unfortunate souls out there who may not have experienced some of the better things in life. Brian Robbins pretty much peaked at C.H.U.D. II and went on to become a big shot producer who worked on shows like All That, Keenan & Kel, The Amanda Show, Sunny With a Chance, Smallville, and One Tree Hill. He also played Eric Mardian on Head of the Class. Gerrit Graham might be better known (though not better appreciated) for playing Jeff in Used Cars with Kurt Russell, Larry Cedar would prefer to be remembered as Lean on Deadwood, and Larry Linville you'll probably recall, was Major Franklin Marion Burns on M*A*S*H. Jack Riley would of course go on to voice Stu Pickles on Rugrats, but had previously played Dobish in To Be or Not to Be, and Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show. Additionally, Norman Fell would rather be known as Mr. McCleery in The Graduate, Captain Baker in Bullitt, or lacking that, at least Stanley Roper on 3's Company. June Lockhart seems like a pretty hip lady, so even though she's prolly not ashamed of her appearance here, you old fogies out there would remember her best as either Dr. Janet Craig on Petticoat Junction, Maureen Robinson on Lost in Space, or Ruth Martin on Lassie. And rounding out the ensemble, we've got Sandra Kerns who played Ellen Powell on Charles in Charge, Gregg Brinkley as Barney on Raising Hope, and Richard Moore who portrayed Jarvis Skelton on some no doubt god-awful soap opera called Emmerdale.
The special effects aren't too bad either, although the director does tend to cut away quickly and frequently. I'm actually a little surprised that this received an R rating, given that there's no nudity and minimal "bad" language in it. The "C.H.U.D." makeup is essentially white face gunk and gnarly teeth. About the only way you can tell that someone's gone C.H.U.D. is from the big scary chompers that're the color of snot after you've been sniffin' WD-40 for three hours. There's also the deliberately hokey stuffed poodle that gets punted down the stairs when it won't quit tryin' to eat Bud's pantleg, and that shows up again to attack the mailman in a pretty ridiculous scene. Other than that, there isn't much to tell about before the big finale. There's a small blood splatter on a wall that's got good color to it, but that's too runny, a pretty goofy severed head that gets kicked just out of its owner's reach, and the scene where the biology professor gets the blow torch rammed through his head (which looks pretty decent). For some reason, the C.H.U.D.s tend to die just like the vampires in From Dusk Till Dawn. This presents itself as if they've got huge halogen lights inside their torsos, which causes a buncha light shafts to start beamin' out of 'em when their bodies crack open. It isn't bad per se, just odd. So the special effects are okay, but there aren't a whole lot of them. The shooting locations are decent, but probably the low point of the movie. Got a couple good looking scenes that feature the "down town" district, thus making it clear the movie was indeed shot in a small town. The Bossy Burger drive-in is a cool little spot too, and the opening scene that takes place in a hospital is definitely a real hospital (although the scenes in the basement may not have been). Then you've got the high school gym, which looks very much like a high school gym, so there's really nothing to object to about the shooting locations, but they're not especially outstanding. The soundtrack really helps to tie the whole comedic aspect of the movie together, as the majority of it is just silly enough to add that necessary tongue-in-cheek feel, without getting outright stupid. The highlight, of course, is Nicholas Pike's "Bud the Chud," performed by Kipp Lennon. It's catchy, it's stupid, it's dripping with 1980s canned cheese whiz, and it's one-of-a-kind. We get little snippets of that song several times throughout the course of the movie, as well as in its entirety during the closing credits, and it's superbly amusing both in terms of lyrical content, and the way it fits seamlessly into each scene during which it plays. Overall, C.H.U.D. II gets unjustifiably razzed, and I think that people would have liked it a whole lot better if it had simply been released under a different title, with any references to C.H.U.D. removed from it. Criminally under-rated horror/comedy from the late '80s, check it out.