Tales from the Hood (1995)
Director: Rusty Cundieff
Writer(s): Rusty Cundieff, Darin Scott
Starring: Clarence Williams III, Tom Wright, David Alan Grier, Corbin Bernsen, Lamont Bentley
Some of my favorite anthology horror movies (see my rant on how much I love them HERE) are made by horror icons, such as Stephen King, George Romero, Clive Barker, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter etc. but one of my favorites, hell, it might be in my top 10, would be linked to Spike Lee. Yes, that’s right, Spike Lee of such films as Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X (also the goofy guy with glasses at EVERY Knicks game)! He produced an anthology horror movie that surprisingly didn’t disappoint which had a great blend of gore and even some scares but in true Spike fashion, each tale also reflected a social commentary about living life in the ghetto of Los Angeles. There were clear lessons on racism, violence and culture but also had zombies, monsters and killer puppets! That is the kind of duality that I can get behind, even as a child. I knew the movie was something special right when I first saw the cover with my patented “if the box looks cool, it must be cool” method. In front of me was a burnt skull wearing dark sunglasses and yes, the best part, a gold tooth to top of the ghetto fabulousness that is Tales from the Hood.
The stage is set when three thugs arrive at a funeral home after getting a tip that there were drugs to be sold (can I sound any LESS urban?). They meet the eclectic funeral director, Mr. Simms played beautifully by Clarence Williams III who proceeds to start telling them stories based off the random specimens lying around his funeral home…of terror (I couldn’t resist).
Rogue Cop Revelation
Some crooked cops (aren’t they always) murder an influential politician (Tom Wright) who comes back from the dead a year later to punish those who did him wrong. This tale was a straight forward revenge story that had some fantastic kill scenes! It reminds you the creativity that horror movies can have with its types of kills and the artistry of gore that’s lost in today’s world of computer-animated violence.
Boys Do Get Bruised
A teacher is concerned when one of his students shows signs of abuse with bruises throughout his body. The student claims that a monster is causing him harm and the teacher discovers a much more disturbing truth. Being a David Alan Grier fan, I was QUITE shocked how serious and more importantly, scary the man can be in certain roles. He definitely shines in this story and has an awesome twist (pun…you’ll see why) in the end.
A racist senator played by Corbin Bernsen, decides to move into a former slave plantation and is soon joined by a spooky doll that’s connected to the plantations’ spooky past. Classic animated doll story mixed in with racist overtones which Corbin Bernsen plays SO well! If moving toys/dolls freak you out, this shouldn’t disappoint.
Violent gang member Crazy K has been given an opportunity to get out of prison if he subjects himself to an experimental treatment that can cure him of his violent tendencies. This story is dripping with social commentary, definitely the most moral-centric story of the four; this tale shows you how violence and culture are correlated but also delivered some good gore.
I really didn’t expect to like this movie as much as I did when I first picked it up, it can easily be swept into the “guilty pleasure” category but Tales From The Hood ended up very close to my Horror Heart because it’s genuine in its execution but still delivered plenty of laughs, gore and social commentary that would make any night interesting when watching with some friends! Goes to show, truly great horror flicks transcends race because scares do not discriminate…they’re just DAMN scary.