I'll always have a soft spot for C.H.U.D., because it was easily one of my favorite VHS tape covers to look at when I was a kid. The C.H.U.D. monsters looked awesome, the acronym for "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller" won me over instantly, and the movie featured a tough guy who would eat pocket change to intimidate you. Talk about a winning formula.
You may not be aware of it, but there was a direct-to-video sequel film called "C.H.U.D. II: Bud The C.H.U.D." Unfortunately, the movie is very loosely tied to the original C.H.U.D. storyline, and the monsters don't look even remotely as good. I'm not saying the original film had a genius plot by any stretch, but this was one of my earliest memories of false advertising due to how the VHS cover made me believe I'd soon be watching hordes of C.H.U.D. monsters coming out of the sewers to eat their helpless human prey.
Looks great, doesn't it? Well don't let it fool you; there were absolutely zero awesome monsters with glowing eyes crawling out of the sewers in this movie. Instead of the dark, gritty, sewage monsters we loved in the original, C.H.U.D. II featured lots of people with pale skin who stumbled around town in slapstick style. Sure it was an intentional change to make the sequel a horror-comedy, but I wish they had kept it a pure horror film with those same killer monsters from the original. So much potential.
Despite its shortcomings, C.H.U.D. II is surprisingly an entertaining movie that I've watched multiple times now. If you can ignore the fact that it has "C.H.U.D." in the title, it's actually a fun horror-comedy flick about a town under siege by zombie-like creatures (led by one named "Bud") who crave human flesh. Sounds like a perfect flick for Halloween season viewing.
It's also an educational film. Okay not really, but work with me here, damnit! Join me now as I attempt to extract useful life lessons from C.H.U.D. II, just as one would squeeze blood from a stone. Granted, I'd probably have better luck with the stone, but let's give this a shot anyway!
KNOWLEDGE NUGGET #1:
If you get bit by a sequel C.H.U.D. you become a sequel C.H.U.D.
In the original flick, if you got bit by a C.H.U.D., chances are it would continue to devour you until there was nothing left except maybe a pile of guts or a severed head at best. In the sequel, however, it's more like a nearly instant zombie transformation when you get bit by a C.H.U.D..
Now here's what's really strange - the C.H.U.D. monsters in this movie walk around constantly craving human flesh, but whenever they find somebody to eat, they only seem to take a single bite as evidenced by the comical "apple biting" sound effect. Soon after, it'll cut to Bud or some other C.H.U.D. wiping its mouth clean as if it just ate a huge meal.
So what do their victims end up looking like afterwards?
Not all that different actually. Sure, their skin has a slightly more pale complexion, and they have dark circles under their eyes, but the only major physical change is that they now have a set of razor sharp, serrated teeth. Now, considering they have a dangerous set of chompers like that, you'd think their victims would at least have some nasty gashes and bite marks on their bodies, right? Wrong.
There's not a single bite mark on any of the victims in the movie. The C.H.U.D. monsters may claim to want to eat human flesh, but whenever they actually have the opportunity to do so, I've yet to see any evidence of it actually happening. So yeah, if you ever encounter a C.H.U.D. in the real world, you're much better off getting bitten by one from the sequel. Even after being bit by one, you could probably keep your day job and people may not even notice.
KNOWLEDGE NUGGET #2:
If you somehow lose a cadaver, never try to replace it with another.
Don't steal cadavers. This should be common sense for just about anybody, yet countless horror movies like Night of the Creeps have shown us time and time again that stealing cadavers is never a good idea. In the case of C.H.U.D. II, these two bumbling teenagers manage to lose the medical cadaver that their professor was going to share with the class.
Rather than doing their best to recover the cadaver, they decide to dress up as doctors and go to a nearby Center for Disease Control facility to nab another one. One corpse is just as good as any other corpse, right? Nope. It turns out the corpse (Bud) is the last remaining body from the "C.H.U.D. project" - a military experiment where soldiers were infected with the same enzymes of the original C.H.U.D. monsters in hopes that they could become super soldiers for the army.
Naturally, Bud is revived and then begins to build his own C.H.U.D. army set to take over the entire town. And why? Because two teenage morons lost a cadaver and tried swapping it out with another.
Now, I'm sure you're wondering how they lost the original cadaver. Allow me to show you:
The cadaver was on a gurney that one of them accidentally kicked, so it starts rolling down the street, nearly running over some pedestrians and causing cars to screech to a halt as it goes flying by. Now, the laws of physics would suggest that a wheeled gurney that isn't being powered by a motor would eventually come to a stop, right? I guess those two guys couldn't think that far ahead, so they let it keep rolling away and opt to steal another one instead, which leads to the deaths of countless people. Brilliant!
And yes, the lost corpse does show up towards the end of the movie when it crashes into the back of a van. You see? I told you it would eventually stop!
KNOWLEDGE NUGGET #3:
Even during a major C.H.U.D. infestation, your parents will remain
completely oblivious to all the chaos taking place around them.
Parents sure are oblivious, huh? Ferris Bueller proved it first, and then C.H.U.D. II went ahead and took it to the next level. First, the parents of the Steve (played by Brian Robbins you some of you may remember as the always cocky "Eric Mardian" from Head of the Class) don't notice that he and his pal Kevin have just dragged a corpse into their home. And why would they notice a corpse in their home when there's a nature show on TV about emperor penguins?
I guess what the filmmakers are trying to say is that you can do anything you want and your parents will never, ever catch you in the act. Which leads me to the next nugget:
KNOWLEDGE NUGGET #4:
Poodles can become C.H.U.D. monsters.
So you know how I said Steve's parents were oblivious? Well, I meant it. They don't notice corpses being dragged into their house, and they also don't notice their son doing this to their pet poodle:
When Steve drags Bud the corpse into his house, the poodle gets all excited, jumping up at the cadaver. You can't blame the poodle for getting all riled up, as I'm sure a corpse still smells infinitely better than the canned dog food they were feeding it. Well, Steve doesn't take too kindly to the poodle distracting him from trying to move the body out of sight, so he punts it. It's a great little sight gag, especially since you see it go flying down the stairs, unbeknownst to Steve's clueless parents.
Unfortunately for the poodle, its troubles have only just begun. When Bud the C.H.U.D. is reanimated, the first thing he wants to do is eat, and man oh man does that poodle look tasty to him. He chases it around the house and eventually catches it in the backyard.
While I do wish we could've seen the poodle get revenge on Steve for punting it down the stairs earlier, there's one potential visual gag that's even more satisfying - a classic dog vs. mailman routine!
The mailman shows up to the Williams' family home, when he's met in the front yard by their poodle growling at him. Normally, a mailman would think nothing of such a tiny creature trying to threaten him, but this is no ordinary poodle... this is a C.H.U.D. poodle! NAY, THIS IS A C.H.U.D.OODLE!
In an impressive and hilarious display of its newfound C.H.U.D. powers, the poodle flies through the air and chomps on the mailman's neck. He falls to the ground and is helplessly dragged away from the front yard by the poodle. And while all this is taking place, Steve's little sister is looking on in horror from inside their home.
Easily one of my favorite moments in the entire movie, and I've never seen poodles the same light since first watching it.
KNOWLEDGE NUGGET #5:
C.H.U.D. monsters look adorable in a bubble bath.
Okay, remember when I said you should never steal a corpse a little while ago? The one drawback of following that rule is that you'll never have the opportunity to see a C.H.U.D. like Bud in a bubble bath. I mean, COME ON! Look how adorable he is, all frightened and covered in bubbles! Being treated to that visual is totally worth letting a bunch of people in your town die, right? Yeah, I think so too.
KNOWLEDGE NUGGET #6:
Hungry and short on cash? You can find a meal in mall fountains.
As Steve and his cohorts walk around the mall in search of Bud, who recently escaped Steve's home (that's two dead bodies these morons have lost in less than 24 hours in case you're keeping score), they pass a fountain. It's not a huge fountain by any stretch, but still has some fish swimming around in it.
Naturally, Bud takes a stroll around the mall and notices the fish in the fountain. Oh, did I say fish? I meant DINNER.
With his bare hands, Bud snatches a fish out of the fountain and chows down on it. Don't feel bad for the fish though; by the looks of it, it was too big for that fountain anyway. Then again, he probably only bit it once, and now it's a mutant C.H.U.D. fish, just waiting for some kid to walk up, toss a penny in the fountain and make a wish. Oh, if only that scene existed!
KNOWLEDGE NUGGET #7:
Military officials always ride in limousines and keep bazookas in the trunk.
If you're gonna travel, you might as well do it in style. Colonel Masters (played by one of everybody's favorite movie bad guys in the 80s, Robert Vaughn) is out searching for his lost C.H.U.D., as he and Graves (Larry Cedar) ride in the back of a limousine. They see some people stumbling around town, including a barber who was recently attacked and turned into a mutant by Bud. This leads to some great dialogue:
Graves: "What the hell is that!?"
Colonel Masters: "Only the god damndest, ugliest barber I've ever seen."
After a long afternoon of searching around town, they've worked up quite an appetite, so their limo drivers takes them to the local burger joint, Bossy Burgers. It's a nice little place with a Western theme, and some great burger names on the menu that you'll notice if you pause the movie at the right spot. Burgers such as "Bowser Burger - $1.95", "Bronco Burger - $1.99", "Brimming Burger - $0.99", "Barn Burger - $1.75", and the best deal of all, "Bogus Burger - $0.29". I really wish I could take a road trip out to this town and find out what (if anything) was in the Bogus Burger, but unfortunately, Bossy Burgers is no more.
You see, Bud pulls up in a pick-up truck with a bunch of his C.H.U.D. converts (yes, these mutants can drive) and they decide to pop in for a meal. Instead of finding out what the Bogus Burger was, they opted to try the Employee Burger instead, if you catch my drift.
Well, when a full staff of Bossy Burgers employees have been turned into C.H.U.D.s, there's only one way to deal with it:
Have Robert Vaughn drive up in a limo, pull a bazooka out of the trunk, and blow the place to smithereens.
When the place blows up, he looks like a kid in a candy shop. When the smoke clears, there's nothing left of the Bossy Burgers building but some smoldering boards and a large cow head from the sign. Speaking of which, whatever company made that cow head should put a "Bazooka-proof!" stamp on all of their products, because it's quite an impressive feat. And just as quickly as they arrived with a bazooka in-hand, Colonel Masters and Graves drive off in their limo, not even bothering to check if there were any survivors. Hell, the least he could've done was left a note that read something like:
"Dear Bossy Burgers Owner,
Sorry I had to blow up your place with my trusty bazooka. It's a good thing I always keep a spare one in the trunk my limousine; you had one hell of a C.H.U.D. infestation at Bossy Burgers! No need to thank me... I'm just doing my job. Have a great day!
p.s.: What was in the Bogus Burger anyway?"
Yeah, I think that would've been the right thing to do, but hey... I'm not in the killing C.H.U.D. monsters with bazookas business, so who knows what the official military protocol is in such situations.
KNOWLEDGE NUGGET #8:
Robert Englund is creepy even when he plays a pedestrian.
Even with the goofy rockin' 80s music playing, seeing a quick Robert Englund cameo is easily the scariest thing in the entire movie. He's not even dressed as Freddy Krueger; he's just a guy wearing a trench coat, holding a little girl's hand as he walks her across the street amongst all the other trick-or-treaters on Halloween. But the sinister look he gives the C.H.U.D.s that are standing off in the distance appear to stop them in their tracks. Yes, even they appear to be creeped out by him.
So why did he take this tiny part? Did he owe the director a favor? Maybe this is supposed to be him playing Freddy Krueger before he was burned alive, back when he was still capturing children? Wait... could this town actually be Springwood!? So many unanswered questions arise from this extremely brief 4-second cameo.
What can I say... Robert just has that kind of on-screen presence.
KNOWLEDGE NUGGET #9:
Ice + Electricity = C.H.U.D. Explosions.
I won't get into the details of how the same idiot teenagers, who lose multiple corpses and were the sole cause of their town population being nearly decimated, figured out how to kill the C.H.U.D. monsters. What I will tell you is that they lured them into a swimming pool by dressing their friend Katie in a swimsuit, and C.H.U.D.s really aren't very good at swimming. Not that could've known this, so I'm sure Katie felt great knowing that her friends were using her as bait.
Anyway, some of them sink, some of them thrash around, and they all look pretty panicked and unsure of what to do - even the one who appears to be dressed like Indiana Jones with a fedora. Eventually, they decide they don't like swimming and start trying to climb out, but Steve simply pushes them back in while Kevin starts tossing cannisters of some icy cold material that freezes the monsters in place. With the entire pool frozen over, they introduce some electricity to the equation, and then we're treated to some C.H.U.D. fireworks:
You see? It's not hard to kill a C.H.U.D. when you think about it. All you gotta do is lure it into a swimming pool, throw in some magical coolant that instantly freezes the entire pool (which I'm sure is something you can get an any Home Depot), and then apply an electrical current to it. Piece o' cake.
KNOWLEDGE NUGGET #10:
"Chudified" is a word.
It's never mentioned once in the entire film, but since the word "Chudified" appears on the back of the box, I think we have to accept it as canon. Now you know the proper term for what happens to a person after they are bitten by a C.H.U.D. - they become Chudified! Look, it's written on the back of a straight-to-video 1988 VHS box that also includes a tagline which reads "THIS CHUD'S FOR YOU!". It also says "Abra Cadaver".
Folks, there's simply no arguing with quality writing like that. Chudified must become a part of our everyday vernacular.
So those are some of the important nuggets of information I took away from C.H.U.D. II: Bud The Chud. What about you? Is there anything else you learned from it that I didn't mention? Share your thoughts in the comments section below before you too become Chudified!
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