Movie Name: Tales from the Hood
Studio: 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks
Release Date(s): May 24, 1995
MPAA Rating: R
Stack (Joe Torry), Bulldog (Samuel Monroe Jr.), and Ball (De’aundre Bonds) are three gang members on the verge of a big score. Traveling to a mortuary, the three have plans to make a big drug deal with the mortician Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III). Every deal has a price…and the mortician’s price is a series of stories based on the corpses in the funeral home. “Rogue Cop Revelation” tells of a militant politician (Tom Wright) gets revenge after being killed by dirty cops, “Boys Do Get Bruised” has a young boy (Brandon Hammond) deals with his abusive father (David Alan Grier) that he sees as a monster, “KKK Comeuppance” sees a former Ku Klux Klan politician (Corbin Bernsen) discovers himself haunted by the ghosts of slavery, and “Hard-Core Convert” has a gang member (Lamont Bentley) finding out there may be no escape.
Directed by Rusty Cundieff, Tales from the Hood is an anthology horror film with an African-American theme. The film was produced by Spike Lee and released to largely negative reviews.
Tales from the Hood follows in the tradition of other anthology films like Creepshow its namesake Tales from the Crypt. The movie African-American “theme” does make it a bit different than the other films, but the story suffers from problems in that it isn’t written very well.
An anthology film needs great stories, and this is seen in countless films. A majority of the stories must hold your interest and Tales from the Hood fails in that aspect. The first story is a rather generic revenge story, and it is a very predictable in its direction. The second story is a bit more interesting but only due to casting and the last story is just a weak rip off of A Clockwork Orange. The only story that jumps out of the movie is the story about the dolls…It is visually interesting and fits the themes of the movie…If you have to watch one story, watch it. The basic framework for the film follows a typical horror anthology pattern in that there is a host (the Mortician) and three characters who turn out to be dead…just like in the original Tales from the Crypt.
The movie has a decent cast that doesn’t get to really act. Mod Squad star Clarence Williams III is fun as the mortician Mr. Simms and seems to have the most fun with the film. Corbin Bernsen is good as the racist politician plagued with devil dolls. The most interesting casting of the film had to be David Alan Grier who at the time was deep in his In Loving Color career as the evil and abusive father in “Boys Do Get Bruised”.
The budget for the movie seems to have been all blown on “KKK Comeuppance”. The evil killer dolls are scary and fun, but it comes at the cost of the rest of the film. The movie looks cheap and the horror misses its mark as a result. The movie could have done with one more true monster story to replace one of the weaker entries.
I like an anthology film, but Tales from the Hood isn’t original enough to really succeed as a good one. The movie had potential to bring a different story to the mix through its unique voice, but instead, it didn’t take it far enough…though I do recommend seeking out the scary doll story for a bit of fun.
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