C.H.U.D. wasn’t a particularly great B-movie, but it did have one of the great acronyms of all-time – Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. A memorable title like that alone would warrant a sequel in the late ‘80s with 1989’s C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud, which is one of the latest releases from the resurrected Vestron Video. C.H.U.D. II isn’t so much a horror film as a horror-comedy hybrid that hasn’t aged well. Oddly enough, there’s not a single moment underground for these Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, as this army of Chuds spend the entire film roaming the streets of suburbia, chopping fleshing and growing their numbers.
C.H.U.D. II opens with the military suspending their plans for the C.H.U.D. program of cannibalistic soldiers of the undead (something that is quite prevalent in these recent Vestron releases) much to the chagrin of Colonel Masters (Robert Vaughn). They transport their last Chud, Bud the Chud (Gerrit Graham) to a facility in suburbia. In the quaint suburban community, a trio of teens – Steve (Brian Roberts), Kevin (Bill Calvert), and Katie (Tricia Leigh Fisher) – accidentally lose a cadaver for their science class and when attempting to replace it steal the body of Bud the Chud from the military facility. Of course, Bud gets loose and starts infecting the citizens of this quiet suburban community, creating an army of Chuds that roam the streets on the days before Halloween. Now it’s up to the trio of teens with a small assist from Colonel Master to contain the Chud outbreak and save the town.
The comedy of director David Irving and screenwriter Ed Naha’s sequel is extremely broad. Only the veteran actor Robert Vaughn seems to be hamming it up in the most appropriate fashion, playing a military leader that fetishizes the chaotic violence his experiments have unleashed. Sadly, the versatile Gerrit Graham (Beef from Phantom of the Paradise) is tasked with playing a generic zombie. Graham is never allowed to display his talents beyond a wonky zombie. The targets that Bud the Chud transforms range from barbers to women doing aerobics to a pet poodle. And it all culminates in the most ‘80s fashion possible, with the zombie Chuds crashing a Halloween party and transforming an entire dancehall of people into the cannibalistic undead. I hate to say it, but the humor of C.H.U.D. II lacks bite.
There’s probably nothing more disappointing about C.H.U.D. II than its noticeable lack of gore for an R-rated horror film. The cannibalistic carnage is so sanitized that it doesn’t even provide the basest thrills that gorehounds would look for in a B-movie piece of shlock. Anytime a Chud is moving in for the kill, the camera cuts away from the action, allowing an off camera scream to supplant any visceral terror.
Among the special features on the Vestron Video Blu-ray is audio commentary with director David Irving. There are three interview featurettes with Gerrit Graham, Tricia Leigh Fisher, and makeup artist Allan Apone each recounting their experiences and the legacy of C.H.U.D. II. Rounding out the special features is a stills gallery and the film’s original trailer.
Devotees to C.H.U.D II: Bud the Chud will be pleased with this edition from Vestron Video. For those that are just regular horror fans with an appetite for gore, C.H.U.D. II is just middling sequel that barely resembles the tone and feel of its predecessor. The movie has a pretty good cast headlined by Gerrit Graham and Robert Vaughn, but they’re secondary players in fairly generic ‘80s horror film that doesn’t feature any moments that differentiate the movie from countless other ‘80s horror movies. The tagline for C.H.U.D. II is “They’re not staying down there anymore!” which is quite true, considering the fact that these Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers are never once underground over the 80-odd minutes of ‘80s inanity.