Movie Review: Tales from the Hood

After watching Body Bags, I was in the mood for another horror anthology film. So I searched through my wish list and came across a movie I had wanted to revisit for a long time now, Tales from the Hood. The movie was directed by Rusty Cundieff and produced by Spike Lee and features four segments revolving around stories told by Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III), a funeral director, to a group of three guys looking for a stash of drugs.

The first story is about an African American rookie cop named Clarence who quickly finds out that his partners are crooked, and racist, after they beat and murder a black man named Martin. Time passes and Clarence has quit the force because of the incident he witnessed. But he soon hears the voice of the man the cops killed and gathers those cops together so Martin can return from the grave and exact revenge.

The second story is the typical story of a boy, Walter, scared of the monster in his room. But in this case, the monster is his mother’s boyfriend, Carl (David Alan Grier). And after a teacher confronts Walter’s mother about the bruises on Walter, Carl’s true appearance is unveiled.

Story number three is about Duke Mether (Corbin Bernsen), a man hopeful to be Governor, but with a past in the KKK. If that sounds familiar it is because his first name, Duke, is taken from David Duke, a former KKK member and white supremacist who did run for many offices and was a member of the Louisana House of Representatives at one time (the last name Metger is taken from another Klansman). Duke also lived in an old plantation house that was supposedly haunted by dolls that were possessed by the spirits of old slaves. The dolls are all displayed in a painting, but when they get free, Duke finds out just how dangerous these diminutive demons are.

And the final story involves a gang member named Crazy K. He gets into an altercation and kills someone, while being shot himself. He receives a life sentence for murder and is sent to prison. But after a visit from Dr. Cushing (Rosalind Cash), Crazy K is sent to another facility and is subjected to various tests that try to get him to repent for his crimes. But he rejects the opportunity and is returned to the time when he was shot. He is then killed by the same three men that are visiting the funeral home.

The movie then jumps back to the funeral parlor where Mr. Simms reveals three coffins. When the guys open the coffins, their bodies are in them. Simms explains that after they killed Crazy K, some of his boys retaliated and killed them. They are in fact dead and the funeral parlor is actually Hell and Mr. Simms transforms into Satan.

Tales from the Hood is one of my favorite all-time anthology films. The segments are all varied and each brings a different style to the screen. The direction of the film is fantastic and the acting is great throughout. Tales from the Hood is very similar to a collection of stories from Tales from the Crypt. Everything pieced together made for a great film. Add a great 90’s rap and hip hop soundtrack, and Tales from the Hood makes for a great watch!

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.