During the last five years, we’ve had the pleasure of watching several excellent black horror movies. Jordan Peele gave us Us and Get Out but we also have Remi Weekes’s His House and Tim Story’s The Blackening. Things were much different in the eighties and you could argue that was the golden age of horror movies. Finally, with the release of Candyman in 1992, we began to see a change. Before that one, John Carpenter made The People Under The Stairs, a highly underrated horror comedy. And if you want to go further into the past, the only movie I can remember is Blacula. It’s funny to think that the 1998 smash hit Blade starring Wesley Snipes finally broke the dam.
Tales From The Hood is a bit messy but entertaining and charming horror comedy with a black twist. Sure, it can be a bit heavy-handed when it comes to messaging at times. However, it’s fully aware of that and tries to make up for that fact by offering you a good script, excellent performances, and creative plots. We will witness five stories of horror, as this is a horror anthology, all somehow related to the African-American community. And we’ll stay in the city, as the title suggests. Just to get back a bit to the earlier history lesson, if you want to know more just check out the 2019 documentary: Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror.
Now, the title of this movie comes from the popular nineties horror television show Tales From The Crypt. Rusty Cundieff who directed and wrote this movie along with Darin Scott based some of the stories on his own experiences. So, what’s this movie actually about, you might be wondering. Well, we have three young gangsters who break into a funeral home and hold its owner hostage. The owner then tells them four stories about the four dead men they see in the parlor. The stories explore racism, gang culture, domestic violence, and obligatory police violence.
So, about twenty minutes per story plus add twenty for the main one and you’ve got yourself one fast-moving movie. Even if one of the stories is not to your liking, maybe the next one will be. All of them are of equal quality so everything depends on your taste. KKK Comeuppance was definitely the funniest one while the last one, Hard-Core Convert, had the most impactful messaging. It also had some pretty strong flashing lights so just be ready for them. Tales From The Hood is a movie that’s definitely rough around the edges. However, it manages to be both entertaining and to send a message.
Clarence Williams III was excellent as the funeral home director along with Corbin Bernsen who plays the racist senator. I also want to single out the late rapper and actor Lamont Bentley who plays Crazy K in the last story. His performance here was phenomenal and it’s no wonder he found himself alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg a couple of years later in the movie The Wash. And if you’re wondering from where you know Roger Guenveur Smith, it’s from another nineties hood classic Deep Cover, also starring Clarence Williams III.
Finally, when it comes to gore, the first story is the juiciest one. And the practical effects along with make-up aren’t too shabby. The second and the fourth ones feature several quite disturbing scenes that you could only see in the 20th century. So, if you’re looking for something both entertaining and refreshing with that sweet, sweet nineties flavor, do check out Tales From The Hood. Oddly enough, we got not one but two sequels in the last couple of years. Both of which are barely watchable. You would be better off watching some of the old-school horror anthologies like Creepshow.
Director: Rusty Cundieff
Writers: Rusty Cundieff, Darin Scott
Cast: Clarence Williams III, Joe Torry, De’aundre Bonds, Corbin Bernsen, Anthony Griffith, Lamont Bentley
Fun Facts: Rusty Cundieff’s parents both appear in the movie. His daddy is the preacher while his mommy is the woman in the rocking chair on the painting.