Release Date(s)1988 (November 22, 2016)
Studio(s)Vestron Pictures/Lionsgate (Vestron Video Collector’s Series)
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: B+
C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud is not what most would call a good movie, but it’s not really bad either. It’s more of a curiosity and is infinitely more tolerable than other “bad” movies, some of which are practically unwatchable. It begins with a couple of teenagers, who are picking up a cadaver for dissecting at their school. When they lose track of it, however, they substitute another. Unfortunately, the one they take is a military experiment, an undead person named Bud. Accidentally reanimated, Bud begins biting folks left and right, turning them into zombies.
C.H.U.D. II went straight to video in 1988 and was resurrected in cheap DVD multi-packs years later. I saw it originally when I was 7 years old, while hanging out at an older cousin’s house who had rented it on VHS. Truth be told, I didn’t remember much about it, mainly just images. Even at that age, though, I think I understood that it was meant to be more silly than scary. Rewatching it today, it’s easy to see why I forgot most of it. The best gag in the movie involves one of the C.H.U.D.s with a lit Bunsen burner sticking out of its forehead, and that’s not until the third act. The performances are not very memorable either. Gerritt Graham (Bud) gives it his all, like he usually does, but he just happens to be in a boring movie. Besides the leads (Graham, Brian Robbins, Bill Calvert, Tricia Leigh Fisher, Robert Vaughn, and Larry Cedar), there’s lots of other familiar faces, most of whom are oddball choices for a movie like this. They include Priscilla Pointer (director David Irving’s mother), June Lockhart, Clive Revill, Larry Linville as a terrible doctor (naturally), and Norman Fell as a potential C.H.U.D. victim. Eagle-eyed viewers might also spot Robert Englund in a quick cameo, as well as Sarah Berry from Evil Dead 2.
Lionsgate’s Vestron Video Collector’s Series presents C.H.U.D. II on Blu-ray for the first time. According to the back of the slipcase, it’s been “Digital Restored”. However, judging by the quality, the transfer has likely been taken from an older HD master. Grain levels are a little sporadic, with some scenes being more even than others. Fine detail is good, but it isn’t consistent. The image offers very little depth. Like the grain though, some scenes are better than others. People and objects can appear soft in one scene, but sharper in others. Colors are decent. Black levels are deep, but shadow detail is a bit lacking. Some minor film instability is visible in places. The sole audio option is English 2.0 DTS-HD MA. Much like the video, the audio gets the job done, but isn’t perfect. Dialogue is clear and discernible, while sound effects and score battle it out for dominance. There’s no distortion. The mix definitely favors the center of the track more than the left or right. Optional subtitles include English SDH.
The extras selection has some great options, most of which were produced by the great Red Shirt Pictures. There’s an audio commentary with director David Irving; three separate interviews (Bud Speaks! with actor Gerrit Graham, Katie’s Kalamity with actress Tricia Leigh Fisher, and This C.H.U.D.’s for You! with Allan Apone); the original home video trailer; and an animated still gallery.
C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud has few strengths. It’s a movie that kind of came and went when it was released. It’s also different from the original C.H.U.D. in almost every possible way. If you’re someone who enjoys this film, you’ll appreciate this release more than most. It’s a solid package of material. But let’s face it: If you’ve been collecting all of the Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-rays so far, there’s no reason to stop now.
- Tim Salmons