Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tales from the Hood

Director - Rusty Cundieff (Fear of a Black Hat, Clueless)
Starring - Clarence Williams III (Halfbaked, Maniac Cop 2), Joe Torry (House Party 3, Halloween House Party), De'aundre Bonds (Dope, The Wood)
Release Date - 1995
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Chill or be chilled"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

      Have I mentioned how much I love anthologies?  Some of my favorite memories watching horror late at night growing up.  I can remember going to the video store and looking specifically for anthologies.  I've said more times than I care to count but I love the ones that have a brilliant wrap around segment that ties everything together nicely.  That is why Creepshow, From a Whisper to a Scream, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, and Tales from the Crypt are among my favorite.  One anthology I remember loving when I was in middle school and high school is Tales from the Hood.  I remember one year around Halloween the IFC channel aired My Bloody Valentine, Friday the 13th Part II, The Boogens, and April Fool's Day.  These were all fantastic films and I was hooked on the channel.  The next night they aired Tales from the Hood along with several more films from the late 90s.  Tales was the only film I liked that night but damn was it a good film.  I rented it several times after that on VHS but was never able to find it for a reasonable price on DVD.  Recently Scream Factory released the film on blu and they were kind enough to send a review copy my way.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows three thugs who visit a funeral home to get their "shit" from the owner.  When they enter the building they meet Mr. Simms (Williams) who is the funeral director and curator of the funeral home.  As they make their way to the "shit" he stops to tell them stories.  The first involves a group of dirty cops who was exposed by a black activist for selling drugs in his community.  When the cops find the activist one night they decide to teach him a lesson which doesn't sit well with a rookie that just happens to be black.  They kills the activist and the rookie is forced off the force.  A year after his death the activist comes back and has the rookie gather everyone responsible for his death where he exacts voodoo revenge on them.  The second story follows a teacher who has a new student.  When the student has a hard time adjusting in school he starts to get close to him and discovers the boy is covered in bruises.  He visits the boys home and encounters his mother who is clearly a battered wife but when the boys father arrives the teacher learns who the real monster is.  The third tale follows a racist politician that purchased an old plantation that was once the site of a horrendous massacre of slaves by their former owner.  A local woman moved into the home and turned their souls into voodoo dolls so they could find peace.  Once he moved in he has angered those spirits who are not bloodthirsty.  The third tale follows a ruthless thug who kills anyone that has wronged him.  After gunning down a rival he is slaughtered in the street by his friends only to gunned down by the police.  The three young thugs then learn their connection to that final tale and their eternity. 
     The wrap around segment is what truly sells me on an anthology.  If it doesn't tie the films together and offer closure on the overall film then the anthology is lost to me.  Tales from the Hood was able to deliver one of my favorite book end segments out of any anthology which really helped bring the entire film together.  The acting in this one is great.  I've always enjoyed watching Clarence Williams III and this film is easily one of my favorite performances of his.  He is fucking hilarious in Halfbaked but he's maniacal in TftH.  I always found it strange watching David Alan Grier not be a comedian.  He took on a more serious role and was able to pull it off brilliantly.  If you talk about this film and don't mention his sinister performance then I question if you had actually watched it.  The entire cast does a great job and really do an amazing job to create characters that stand out but they don't touch Williams and Grier.  The stories for this one all have that classic EC horror twist.  They have great pacing, make great use of the action, and then hit you with that twist that made EC horror comics so much fun.  Cundieff does a great job at bringing these tales to life.  Finally, this one is not that gory.  We do have a few on screen kills and some great practical effects but the film is all about telling stories and not the carnage.  Overall, Tales from the Hood is easily one of my favorite horror anthologies.  It has a great cast and some fun stories.  I would recommend this to anyone for a little late night chills.

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