Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Vamp or Not? C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud

Leila contacted me and asked if I had seen this flick, suggesting it “Plays with some vamp tropes” but was essentially a zombie flick. The film was directed by David Irving and released in 1989 and, at first glance, has little to do with the original film. In that the C.H.U.D.s were Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers and the film was pretty much a creature feature.

In this the creatures do not appear However it becomes apparent that the US military (personified in this by Colonel Masters (Robert Vaughn, Transylvania Twist)) have used an enzyme from the original creatures to try and make a super soldier serum. Unfortunately, it has had side-effects, the enzyme kills the individual and then restarts them as the walking dead and then gives them an uncontrollable need for meat.

Robert Vaughn as Masters
The military have one experimental C.H.U.D., Bud (Gerrit Graham, National Lampoon’s Class Reunion), left. He tries to escape but is caught and frozen. Masters decides that he will keep Bud on ice and then use electricity to revive him at some point in the future. What could go wrong?

Kevin and Steve
We then meet classmates Kevin (Bill Calvert), the smart one, Steve (Brian Robbins) the rebellious prankster and Katie (Tricia Leigh Fisher) their female friend. Steve gets a detention for him and Kevin and they have to sort out the biology lab’s store. Unfortunately they come across a cadaver on a trolley (that is due to be brought into their class) and accidentally send the trolley rolling off, out of the school and down the highway. So, to cover their own backs, they go to a hospital (and centre for disease control) and steal a new corpse – the frozen Bud.

Bud awakens
They get the corpse back to Steve’s and eventually it ends up in the bathroom – indeed in the bath – and, after an accident with a hairdryer, is revived. Steve thinks that this a sure-in A for biology (assuming that the electricity and chemicals in the bubble bath have revived Bud) but soon Bud is out and doing what revived corpses always do, chowing down on meat (at first a dog and then other humans). In this a bite introduces the C.H.U.D. enzyme into the one bitten, which then kills and reanimates them in turn. So far, so zombie – so why ‘Vamp or Not?’

a frozen C.H.U.D.
Well… the C.H.U.D.s all develop sharp teeth and fangs for a start off, and this then goes along with their desire for meat – a desire that seems to be more for spreading the condition than actual feeding but, nevertheless, they do often call out for meat… Indeed they do speak from time to time and Bud changes attire and looks to get a haircut. They have memory and Bud falls for (a photograph of) Katie – in fact he physically offers her his heart during the finale, ripping it out of his own chest. The C.H.U.D.s have evolved also, when they are frozen they are able to raise their body temperature and unfreeze themselves.

Katie lures the C.H.U.D.
These things are hard to kill. They survive a rocket attack on a building (with the army mistakenly believing it will have dealt with them) and when one loses its head, the body continues to walk around and the head is reattached later. In the end the way to kill them turns out to be to freeze them and, whilst they are defrosting themselves, introduce electricity (strange as that was essentially how Bud was revived). We also see that they can drive and make decisions.

crashing the school dance
As a film it feels in the same realm of Return of the Living Dead, but I don’t think it matches the earlier film’s brilliance, or maintains the comedy as well. As for what sort of film it is, well it all starts feeling rather zompire – they are undead, they are driven to bite (at the very least) living humans, they retain personality/intelligence and they develop sharp teeth/fangs. There is certainly a genre interest and a use of some tropes, as Leila mentioned but, overall, I am going to stick to the zompire line. The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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