Tuesday, July 22, 2014

C.H.U.D. II: Bud The Chud - Chuds Just Wanna Have Fun

C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud
1989
Directed by David Irving
Writren by Ed Naha

Starring Brian Robbins, Bill Calvert &Tricia Leigh Fisher
Rated R - Approx 84 Minutes
Vestron Pictures
MCEG

Taglines:
- Their first mistake was stealing a corpse... Their second was waking him up.

- This C.H.U.D.'s for you!

Alternate Titles
A Cidade das Sombras (City of Shadows) - Brazil
Reacción viva (Strong Reaction) - Spain
Kuunpuremat (Bite of the Viper) - Finland
Turbózombi, véruszkár (Turbo Zombie) - Hungary

Das Monster lebt (The Monster Lives) - Germany


"Meat."
         - Bud the Chud


C.H.U.D. of course stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.  Alternatively, in the first film it also stood for Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal...but there's no mention of that this time around and it's just as well because C.H.U.D. II is nothing like it's predecessor.  The first film was a fairly straight forward horror film, where as this film is a straight up horror comedy.

The plot centers around two high school friends who unwittingly unleash a CHUD after stealing it from the CDC.  See they accidentally lost a cadaver that was meant for their high school biology class and rather than fess up, they thought it would be a better idea to steal a corpse and replace it.

I can never see Robert Vaughn and NOT think of Superman III......

Bud gets some new duds!

Steve and Kevin are you're typical 80's best buds.  Steve (Brian Robbins, who you fellow children of the 80's may remember best as Eric on the sitcom Head of the Class) is the smart ass, fast talking one who takes nothing seriously and has an answer for everything.  Kevin (Bill Cavert) is the quiet, reserved and far more intelligent one that is constantly fixing Steve's messes.  There's also Katie (Tricia Leigh Fisher) who is Steve's pseudo-girlfriend (and naturally Kevin really likes her).

After our two heroes steal Bud the Chud, they naturally bring him back to Steve's parent's house to hide until they can bring him to school the next day.  Things go wrong when Bud falls into a bubble bath and a hairdryer falls in too, re-animating him.  The boys lock Bud in the basement and then leave to get a burger.  Bud breaks out and chases the family poodle outside, chomping on it and turning it into a CHUD Doggie.  Thus the CHUD contamination begins.

Runaway corpse...never going back.  Runaway on a wrong way track....

I'll be honest....I've been in weirder situations....

They boys come back to discover their undead guest has escaped and go out looking for him.  Meanwhile the military gets Katie's license plate off of security footage from when they hijacked the corpse and Colonel Masters (the one and only Robert Vaughn!) who was heading up the CHUD project is onto the boys.  The rest of the film plays out much like three way cat and mouse game between Bud and his every growing army of converted CHUDS, our heroic (sorta) trio and the military.

Gone are the long necked, glowing eyed, slimy CHUDs of the first film.  Bud and Co are now grey skinned zombies with messed up teeth.  Amusingly, for a film about cannibalistic monsters rampaging in a town, there is not much in the way of the red stuff.  When a person is attacked by a CHUD, they pretty much get nibbled on and they turn into a CHUD themselves.

CHUDism is on the rise....and they've choreographed their walk!

HELLOOOOOOO KATE!!!!!

CHUDs have a weakness to extreme cold, so the military uses giant freeze guns to try and contain them, but unfortunately the effects don't last long.  How will our heroes overcome the ever growing number of CHUDS?  Will the military destroy the whole town?  Will the CHUDs take over?  Will Keven tell Katie how feels????  Watch C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud to find out!

GORE
As I mentioned earlier, there is not much in the way of the red stuff.  Even a scene in which Bud (who has developed a crush on Katie) reaches into his own chest and pulls out his heart to give to her, is completely bloodless.

T&A
No naughty bits on display in this one, either.  Though we do get to see Katie in a nice bathing suit, so that's cool  To be honest, I'm unsure why this got an R rating.  There's some language, but honestly I would have no problem showing this to a bunch of tweens on Halloween.

MONSTERS:
CHUDs!  Lots and lots of CHUDs!  There's even a CHUDified poodle!

CHUD DANCE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FINAL THOUGHTS
When I turned 17, I went on a video store binge.  I got my own membership to my beloved Video Paradise, but I also went out and got memberships to every other video store that I could find in my area.  My wallet was a virtual who's who of video rental stores circa 1996.  Video Paradise, Blockbuster, Country Video, Video Corner, Applause Video, Record Town, and a few more that I can't even remember.  Their membership cards bulked out my wallet to the Nth degree.

I was completely obsessed with finding new flicks to watch and in the fall of 1996 I could be found making rounds to multiple video stores on a Saturday afternoon, scouring the horror sections for stuff I haven't watched.  I remember renting this one from Country Video (a small little video shop on the edge of town) one October weekend.  I remember it quite clearly because it was the same weekend that I rented Phantasm II for the first time and because a lifelong Sphere Head.  Thus, CHUD II will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first part of a mid-October double feature that introduced me to The Tall Man.

I still get the warm fuzzies just thinking about it and because of that, I'm sure nostalgia is probably bumping this rating up a a a little bit.

FINAL RATING
THREE OUT OF FIVE PIZZA ROLLS

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Alien Factor - Extraterrestrial Zoo Escape

The Alien Factor
1978
Directed by Don Dohler
Written by Don Dohler
Starring: Don Leifert, Tom Griffith & Richard Dyszel 

Unrated - Approx. 80 Minutes
Cinemagic

Taglines:
- They brought terror from beyond our galaxy!

Alternate Titles:

Skrekken fra rommet (Terror from the Room) Norway








"She's in shock, Bert, she didn't say ANYTHING!"
                                                                             - Sheriff Cinder



 I love Regional Horror.  To me there's nothing better than when a group of people get themselves together and make a movie simply because they love doing it.  There is an immediate tactile sense to the whole thing, and for my money Hollywood can never beat it.  Even more so, I love the films of Don Dohler.  You can tell that he absolutely loves his films....almost to a fault.  I'm getting ahead of myself though.

That's an interesting spacecraft you got there......not very aerodynamic though...

Aliens wear jeans apparently....

The Alien Factor starts with a young couple making out in their car, which is parked in a field in the middle of winter during the day.  As if that isn't odd enough, an insectoid alien drags the guy out of his car window and mauls him...the girl booking it and getting out of dodge, leaving Romeo behind to get the ol' extraterrestrial pulled pork treatment.  

The local Sheriff thinks that it's a wild animal attack.  He brings the girl and her mangled boyfriend to (I guess) the local hospital (which looks suspiciously like someones house) where a doctor and her assistant (George Stover!) perform an autopsy on the body.  Meanwhile, Mayor Wicker (who is apparently not respected by anyone because they all just call him Bert) is worried that this is going to affect his entertainment park plans for the town.  

What's an alien flick without rednecks going out to hunt them?

There are more mysterious deaths including a fella who is apparently rapidly aged.  Dr Sherman thinks that it may be an advanced case of Progeria (a disease that appears to rapidly age it's victims).  We know better though, because we've seen the insectoid alien as well as a tall furry thing with pincers in it's mouth.  Ew.  

Enter Ben Zachary, a mysterious fellow who offers to help, claiming that he studies the occult, extraterrestrials, etc.  With no other ideas or options, Bert....er...Mayor Wicker and Sheriff Cinder employ his help, hoping to rid themselves of this menace.  The Sheriff and Zachary hike out into the woods and discover the downed UFO.  Zachary then starts to receive a psychic message from an alien that's lying dying nearby.  The alien divulges information about the escaped creatures.  At this point Zachary tells the Mayor and Sheriff that he can rid them of the alien problem, but he has to work alone.  

The Insectoid Alien says HELLO!!!!!!

Bigfoot is an understatment!  Look at the size of those things!

Supposedly the deadliest of the aliens....also the cutest.

The ending of the movie is cliched on one hand....but I also didn't see it coming the first time I watched it way back when.  I'm not sure if that's due to the fact that I was watching it at 3am or if the acting is so stiff and wonky that you just can't read emotions, but at any rate....it caught me off guard the first time.

A word of warning:  The Alien Factor is not a film for beginners.  What I mean is this:  If you are a lover of "bad" movies, there's a lot to love here.  Everything from the creative low budget alien effects to the hilariously over the top 70's band performing in a local bar is a B to Z Grade movie buff's dream.  If you are just getting into it though, you may want to get your feet wet with another film.  The Alien Factor can be quite talky at times.  Then there's the extended shots of people running around the Maryland woods in the middle of winter.  You really get a sense that Dohler was in love with the images he had put on scene and was reluctant to cut them from the film...hence you have a three minute sequence of someone just wandering around the woods.  This is what I meant when I said that he may have loved his films to a fault.

If I was Sheriff....I'd rock out bad-ass sideburns too!


Ooooh, Bert.  

The Mysterious Mr. Zachary.

GORE:
There's not a whole heck of a lot of the red stuff, but there are a few dead bodies hanging around.  The guy who get's his lifeforce sucked out (that's the progeria looking guy) is pretty cool.  There's a few shots of the red stuff here and there, but not a whole heck of a lot.

T&A:
Sorry guys, there's more flesh on display in most Disney movies.

MONSTERS:
The whole reason to watch this flick!  The aliens are all varied and pretty cool.  The insectoid is a humanoid bug.  It's a like a very low budget precursor to the Judas Roaches in Mimic!  Then there's the big furry one.  He's got goat like legs (though the feet are big weird three toed thingies) and sorta looks like Bigfoot had a love child with a bug.  There's an alien that looks like a Sasquatch got turned inside out and then put on a pair of jeans (!?) and finally a giant lizard type alien that is stop motion animated in the film.

I want to be in this band in the worst way


FINAL THOUGHTS
As I said above, this one is a little rough going in parts and I wouldn't recommend it for bad film novices.  However, if you love these types of films and you want to see some truly wonky acting and some good ol' fashioned cinematic ingenuity (some of the forced perspective shots of the UFO's are really very good) then you can't go wrong.  You've gotta love the sheer wackiness of the whole thing.  Also, there's that awesome band.  

FINAL RATING
THREE OUT OF FIVE PIZZA ROLLS








SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Without Warning - Alien Big Game Hunting

Without Warning
1980
Directed by Greydon Clark
Written by Lyn Freeman, Daniel Grodnik

Starring Jack Palance, Martin Landau & Cameron Mitchell

Rated R - Approx 89 Min
Heritage Enterprises Inc.

Filmways Pictures 


Taglines:

 - The Alien Terror Is Here On Earth.
 - It Preys On Human Fear. It Feeds On Human Flesh.

 - Earth Is The Hunting Ground. Man Is The Endangered Species.





Alternate Titles:
Alien Warning
It Came Without Warning
Alien Encounters
The Warning - UK
Llegan sin avisar (They Come Without Warning) Spain
Ilman varoitusta (Without Warning) Finland
Varoitus (Warning) Finland 
Utan varning (Without Warning) Sweden
Terreur extraterrestre (Alien Terror) France
Πλανήτης Γι: Παιγνίδι για εξωγήινους (For Planet: A Toy For Aliens) Greece
Fenyegetés (Threat) Hungary
Horror - Caccia ai terrestri (Horror - Hunt For Land) Italy
Ostrzezenie (Warning) Poland
Alien Shock - West Germany

Das Geheimnis der fliegenden Teufel (The Mystery of the Flying Devils) West Germany

"No chance....no help....no escape...."
                                                          -Sarge



I was going to wait until the fancy new Blu Ray from Shout Factory dropped to review this one, but damnit, I really wanted to watch it and after watching it, I decided...what the hell....why not review it now and add to the hype!

                                            
                                             
Palance, Mitchell & Landau!  It's like and early 80's extraterrestrial Expendables! 

Without Warning is another film that falls very nicely into the Campfire Tale Feeling™ brand of movies.  From the first frame, it drips with atmosphere and dread.  The plot is absolutely nothing new:  There's something in the woods and it's hunting humans.  It's how the plot is executed that really makes this one for me.  First of all, there's a who's-who of some of my favorite actors:  Jack Palance, Martin Landau and Cameron Mitchell all under one title?  Sold!  Secondly they save the monster for the end, like a classic should.  For the bulk of the movie we only see the strange little flying critters that it tosses at it's prey, which then attach to them, sucking their fluids out.

The Flying Frisbee Creatures™ in all their glory

These little critters are nasty looking.....they are slimy, brown little pentagon shaped things.  They fly through the air like a Frisbee until they attach to their intended prey.  Then they secure themselves on to said prey through tentacles that burrow into the flesh of the prey.  They have gnashing teeth in the center that look like they could give quite a hickey if given half the chance.

Don't mind the dead bobcat there....

Who the hell is Zorba????

The film opens with Cameron Mitchell's character taking his son on a hunting trip.  It's not very long into their morning excursion that they are both taken out by the Frisbee Critters.  Now you KNOW all bets are off when Cameron Mitchell is the first to go!  We then shift our attention to a teenage foursome on their way to "The Lake".  Isn't it funny how everyplace has "The Lake"?  It never has a name....it's always just...."The Lake".  Kinda like how when they need an expert on something in a flick, they'll just call "The University".  That's always amused me.  Anyway, I digress.

"The Lake"


The foursome, Sandy, Greg, Beth and Tom stop on their way to "The Lake" to get some gas at a little ramshackle gas station.  Right outside there's a dead bobcat hung from a tree.  Huh!  Looks like a friendly place, don't it?  The place appears to be abandoned, so naturally the girls seek out the bathroom while the guys fill up the van after realizing that there are no locks on the pumps.

Greg and Sandy search for their friends
Here we are introduced to two more characters that we'll be seeing more of down the road:  The Sarge (Landau) whom Sandy runs into while investigating the men's room (the women's room is locked) and Taylor, who owns the gas station and is apparently quite the avid hunter.  Hmmmm, foreshadowing much?  The gang pays for their gas and spills the beans that they are headed toward "The Lake".  Taylor warns them not to go there...stating that there are too many hunters around and there have already been accidents.  He makes the kids promise they won't go.  The kids promise (and I'm sure they each had their fingers crossed) and go on their merry way.

What could possibly go wrong with a Scoutmaster bringing a bunch of scouts into alien infested woods?

Naturally, the head start for "The Lake" where they swim and make out and what-not.  It's all downhill from there for the kids.  Tom and Beth vanish and after searching for them, Greg and Sandy come across a shed owned by the Water Dept.  Looking inside they find not only the bodies of Tom and Beth, but of Cameron Mitchell, his son and a Scout Master that was taken out earlier in the film as well.  They make a break for it, running back to the van.  On of the Flying Frisbee Critters lands on their windshield, where we get a good look at the freaky little thing.  Being a horror flick, the van won't start at first.....so we get a nice moment of tension as Greg desperately tries to start the van while SOMETHING is trying to get in the side door.  Oh the suspense!

Here's a fun gallery of dead bodies for ya!


Greg and Sandy drive off to find help, ending up at a bar full of country folk.....and Sarge.  Greg tells his tale of finding the bodies in the water shed, and about the Flying Frisbee Creature, which makes the locals think that perhaps the kid is in cahoots with Sarge, who's been babbling about alien invasion for years.  Unfortunately Sarge starts to become more and more unhinged as the night goes on.  The power goes out and as the Sheriff arrives, Sarge shoots him, thinking him to be an alien.  Taylor (remember our hunter friend from the gas station) takes Greg and Sandy and the threesome try to find a way to turn the tables on the extraterrestrial hunter....eventually ending in a western-ish showdown.  Would you have it any other way with Jack Palance?

The Bar Scene is SO Campfire, I felt like I needed s'mores!

I haven't watched this film in years.  It has never been available on DVD and I think the only VHS copies were only available overseas.  The Blu Ray edition from Shout Factory on August 5th is going to be the first time that this film is available on home video in the states.  I do remember seeing in on cable sometime in the late 80's....I have a very strong memory of watching this alone late one night in my family's sun-porch (where we had a nice little entertainment center setup) long after everyone else had gone to bed.  If I'm not mistaken, I had crept downstairs to watch it late one night.

Oh dear Jesus, what in the hell is THAT?

GORE
There is a fair amount of gore on display here.  The Flying Frisbee Critters make a bit of a mess when they attach themselves to a victim, with slimy tentacles and gnashing teeth tearing up human flesh.  There's also a good look at the dead bodies hanging in the water shed, with some good gore fx on them.

T&A
No nudity in this one.  Couple of girls in bikinis are all yer gonna get here, mister!

MONSTERS
Awwww yeah!  First of all there's the Flying Frisbee Critters.  Slimy little pentagon shaped critters with tentacles and teeth that fly through the air just waiting to burrow into your skin and gnaw on you!  Then there's The Hunter alien.  He's a tall, bald mofo that looks very similar to the standard description of aliens.  Only instead of short and grey, he's tall and blue.  Still, a disturbing sight, especially if you're like me and aliens freak you out!

Showdown by the Water Shed


Final Thoughts
Why this movie has never had a wide release before is beyond me.  It's got everything you could possibly want:  Aliens, gore, campy acting, great actors, and a palpable feeling of dread.  Truly one of the best scenes in all of B-movie cinema is the bar scene that takes place about at the midway point.  It oozes that Campfire Tale Feeling™.  I cannot wait until this comes out on Blu Ray.  I would love to see this film cleaned up and I can't wait to see it find a larger audience.  This is truly a classic and a gem.  Don't Miss It!

Final Rating 
FOUR OUT OF FIVE PIZZA ROLLS!