Tales From The Hood is THE SHIT. They just don’t make them like this anymore. I remember seeing the poster when I was 9 and wanting to see it. I didn’t see it till years later on HBO at my older sister’s house and I fell in love instantly. I’ve always wanted to own a copy but the DVD was out of print for years. Recently, Scream Factory released an amazing Blu-ray of Tales From The Hood and I picked up a copy. With the film turning 22 this month, I thought it was about time for a tribute.
Tales From The Hood was directed by Rusty Cundieff (Sprung 1997) from a script he wrote with Darin Scott (Caught Up 1998). The film features a cast that includes Clarence Williams III (Purple Rain 1984), Joe Torry (Sprung 1997), Samuel Monroe Jr. (Menace II Society 1993), De’Aundre Bonds (Get On The Bus 1996), Tom Wright (Creepshow 2 1987), Anthony Griffith (Dead Man’s Curve 1998), Wings Hauser (Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time 1991), Michael Massee (The Crow 1994), Duane Whitaker (Pulp Fiction 1994), Brandon Hammond (Mars Attacks 1996), Rusty Cundieff (School Daze 1988), Paula Jai Parker (Friday 1995), David Alan Grier (Blankman 1994), Rosalind Cash (The Omega Man 1971) and Corbin Bernsen (The Dentist 1996).
The official synopsis:
Welcome to the ‘hood of horrors!
It’s a place where your worst fears can come to life. A place where it’s hard to tell nightmares from reality. A place where you will discover Tales From The Hood.
Stack, Ball and Bulldog arrive at a local funeral parlor to retrieve a lost drug stash held by the mortician Mr. Simms. But Mr. Simms has plans for the boys. He leads them on a tour of his establishment, introducing them to his corpses. Even the dead have tales to tell and Mr. Simms is willing to tell them all. And you better listen – because when you’re in the ‘hood, even everyday life can lead to extraordinary terror.
What makes Tales From the Hood hold up so well today isn’t just the fact that its a fantastic film, but also because the social commentary is just as relevant today as the day it was made… Hell, maybe even more so. The film tells 4 horror stories that center around police brutality and corruption, domestic abuse, racism and political corruption, and gang violence. These themes are a vital part of the narrative but it doesn’t feel heavy handed or preachy and it never loses its sense of humor or fun. It does that by weaving its social commentary through stories that feature zombies, monsters, killer dolls, and trippy visuals.
Tales From the Hood is an absolute blast and features some fun and creative kills, including man being crucified to a wall with used needles before melting and becoming graffiti, a man crumbling like a piece of paper, and a man being eaten alive by dolls. This excellent special effects work was created by such legends as Screaming Mad George (Predator 1987) and The Chiodo Brothers (Killer Klowns From Outer Space 1988). The film features excellent performance from its all star cast, with my favorites being David Alan Grier playing completely against type as an abusive husband, Corbin Bernsen as an over the top and hammy racist politician, and Clarence Williams III as Mr Simms, the man who runs the funeral home.
Time for some interesting facts related to the film.
- Tom Wright, who plays the Martin Moorehouse, the resurrected victim of police brutality, also plays the Hitchhiker in Creepshow 2.
- The disturbing abuse that Walter and Sissy suffer at the hands of Carl was originally far more brutal in the original cut. After test screenings, Rusty Cundieff cut it down significantly.
- The segment KKK Comeuppance had an alternate ending that was shot but wasn’t used. It featured Corbin Bernsen’s racist politician being lynched by the dolls instead of eaten alive. The only evidence is a promotional still that was used on the chapter listings on the DVD.
- This was the last film for actress Rosalind Cash.
- The film’s ending was a tribute to British horror anthologies of the ’60s and ’70s.
Tales From The Hood is a movie that I have loved since my first viewing and it only gets better with age. I’m glad Scream Factory finally gave it the respect it deserved with a Blu-ray that I’m happy to have in my collection (autographed no less). The film’s social commentary is even more relevant today than the day it was made and it’s no coincidence that there are rumors that the film is getting a sequel after all these years. To Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott, I sincerely hope you get the project off the ground, as I think the world could really use a Tales From The Hood 2 right now.