Director: David Irving | Run time: 82 minutes | Vestron Video| On sale 28th August
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.
Vestron Video. That name will bring back many good memories for horror and cult cinema fans of a certain age. Vestron, that existed mainly in the eighties, was a home video label that would become known for its release of now iconic horror flicks on VHS. Sadly Vestron filed for bankruptcy in 1992.
Yet, in 2016, Lionsgate revived the brand name and started to release in the US some classic titles from the labels library on Blu-ray for the first time. Named the Vestron Collector’s Series these discs now finally make their way to the UK. A handful of movies are being released on the same day, this review examining one of them. The others are Blood Diner, Waxwork and Return of the Living Dead III (which will be reviewed on Infernal Cinema over the next few weeks).
Over the decades there have been many sequels to horror movies that have little or no link to the film that it followed. Some were features already in existence and simply had the name of a more successful title added and released into the wild. It reeks of a way to try and attract attention to a product and try to give it meaning to potential viewers before they’ve even seen it.
CHUD II: Bud the Chud feels like its one of those movies. It differs so much in tone and plot as well as lacking the most basic elements of the original, CHUD (1984), that it shouldn’t even be linked to the original. Apart from the occasional mention of what CHUD stands for this could stand on its own and under a different title.
The original was a somewhat serious approach to a horror with a gritty feel and impressive practical effects. Plus two of the actors in it ended up in Home Alone (1990). The sequel goes for all out laughs, with the titular Bud being a bumbling, dribbling goon of a character that doesn’t resemble what has came before it due to becoming a ‘C.H.U.D.’ in a different manner. Looking like an undead version of The Fonz, Gerrit Graham spends most of his screen time looking bug eyed or gurning to the camera. He gives it his all but it is a departure from the source material.
Enough of the difference, this is meant to be about the sequel. As a feature in its own right the black humour works, with Bud the Chud feeling like a zombie film with a mime artist in the lead role. Gerrit is limited in what he says but uses an array of weird noises and yelps. The over the top facial expressions and over embellished body language from Gerrit (see the scene when Bud takes part in a workout) are testament to this. The direction of David Irving is acceptable, he knows the movies weaknesses, of which there are many, trying to concentrate on the few strengths it does have.
The cast has some impressive names, it has to be said. As mentioned there is Gerrit Graham, who has appeared in several other cult flicks over the decades (TerrorVision, Chopping Mall). There is also ROBERT VAUGHN. Never one to take himself too seriously, Mr Vaughn hams it up and manages to get some laughs. Strangely, Bud the Chud was not mentioned in any videos produced by news channels when the actor passed away in winter 2016. The former Mrs Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, puts in an appearance. Tricia Leigh Fisher is the eye candy for the movie, especially in a swimsuit at the end of the flick.
The HD is nothing exciting, Bud has never looked so good. For many it will be good enough just finally getting old of some old Vestron titles on Blu-ray.
And that theme song will be stuck in your head for hours after viewing…
Pick of the extras.
Gerrit Graham Interview (16 mins) – The goatee baring Gerrit speaks on the film, obviously, in a interview recorded in 2016 by Red Shirt. Unsurprisingly he had fun playing Bud, still having the false teeth he wore, the use of make up and several other topics.
Tricia Leigh Fisher Interview (12 mins) – The actress talks the difference in tone between the first CHUD and the second, praises the performance of Gerrit, accidently missing a day of film to go to Magic Mountain and more. She demands there be a CHUD 3.