C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud Blu-ray Review (Vestron Video)
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The original C.H.U.D. was a horror comedy that smartly touched on a lot of political and societal themes, so of course there would be a sequel to ride the bandwagon. And how better to follow up a successful movie than with a raucously campy comedy five years later? In much the same vein as 1988’s Return of the Living Dead II, C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud attempts to skip over the deeper meaning behind its predecessor in favor of Weekend at Bernie’s-style antics, effectively trashing nearly everything about the first film – its gritty NYC depiction, its nuanced comedy, the things that make CHUDs unique – and serving up generic zombie-style morsels. For fans of the original, C.H.U.D. II was bound to be a disappointment. But even for those coming to the film with fresh eyes, there’s little in the film that impresses.
C.H.U.D. II follows three teens – the mischievous Steve (Brian Robbins), the geeky Kevin (Bill Calvert), and the gorgeous Katie (Tricia Leigh Fisher) – after they lose a school cadaver, attempt to replace it with a new one, and ultimately stumble on a government conspiracy involving CHUDs who, with one bite, infect their victims, turning them into pretty regular zombies despite the whole “underground dweller” conceit.
That’s pretty much all that C.H.U.D. II‘s plot has going for it, too, because writer Ed Naha’s script is about as complex and thought-provoking as his previous film Troll (read: not very). Director David Irving doesn’t have a great handle on the film’s plot, either, often opting to drag out comical sequences until they become irritating rather than funny. The film’s entire first scene is a perfect example; Robbins and Calvert deliver some great slapstick humor carrying Bud the CHUD (Gerrit Graham) into Steve’s house, but the sequence continues for far too long, doing very little to move the plot forward.
This is characteristic of the rest of the film, which meanders aimlessly throughout ninety minutes. C.H.U.D. II is a series of scenes where Bud – or some other CHUD, looking like an average zombie rather than the CHUDs in the first film – happens on an unsuspecting victim who doesn’t notice that the stranger in front of him is actually a monster. The CHUD feasts – most often off-screen with a comical CHOMP sound – they become a CHUD, and the cycle repeats.
It becomes boring quite fast, and Irving’s concept quickly plays itself out, especially when it becomes clear that Colonel Masters (Robert Vaughn) and the rest of the government agents assigned to track Bud down will have no impact on the overall plot. C.H.U.D. II’s one saving grace is its final sequence, featuring a lot of special effects work involving frozen CHUDs disintegrating into icy pieces and Fisher in a high-cut bathing suit.
Otherwise, C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud is an inessential follow-up, known more because of its lineage than anything else. And unlike other follow-up horror films that opted for a more comical approach like the aforementioned Return of the Living Dead II or Waxwork II, this sequel isn’t even very fun.
Vestron Video’s collector’s edition Blu-Ray for C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud is very similar to previous Vestron releases with its packaging, coming in a standard blue Blu-Ray box with a slipcover featuring the same cover artwork as the regular insert.
The video quality on this release is adequate, but in truth it isn’t entirely impressive. The image itself is good, with no real noticeable damage issues, but the color palette is muted and bland; it’s something of a boring presentation, and the detail is often fuzzy in a way that limits clarity in a scene’s background. One scene in particular where this is noticeable is when Bud is peeping in a window in the background while a woman exercises in the foreground; Bud isn’t as sharply detailed as he should be. Otherwise, this new HD transfer is serviceable, but it probably could be better.
The audio is presented in a 2.0 DTS-HD MA despite some listings as 5.1; it doesn’t suffer the same volume problems as their previous Waxwork release, and for the most part sounds very good, especially the soundtrack – with “I’m a Hungry Man” being the most prominent track. However, dialogue is still a bit low and muffled, though not really a problem.
The extras on this disc are well-done, including an audio commentary track from director David Irving as well as three new interviews from Red Shirt Pictures with Gerrit Graham, Tricia Leigh Fisher, and special effects member Allan Apone. These features won’t take viewers long to get through, clocking in around the 12-15 mark for each; along with still gallery and trailer, Vestron Video gives consumers about an hour of bonus features, which is a nice addition especially for this particular film.
However, those not in love with C.H.U.D. II or looking to collect it will probably want to skip this release, since it doesn’t offer enough to warrant a blind purchase.