Put an anthology horror film in front of me, and I’ll eat it up. My latest dessert was the classic Tales from the Hood Blu-ray release from Scream Factory. Taking the film at face value, one would assume the movie is a spoof of sorts, featuring rap, gangsters and lots of weed. In fact, I watched the film years ago and completely forgot what it was about, and for some reason, my memory about the movie morphed into that exact concept. So you can see how surprised I was when I put the Blu-ray in and was treated to a serious horror film featuring strong black characters and social topics that to this day still ring true. Sometimes when you watch a film, and you say, “wow this movie still holds up to this day,” that can be a positive thing. Unfortunately, in the case of Tales from the Hood, all the ideas behind the film still hold up, which honestly, is rather sad.
The anthology film features corrupt cops, gang violence, abusive boyfriends and slaves getting revenge on racist politicians. The film takes these ideas and wraps them up in a horror package, which makes things a bit easier to accept, but there are times where the film can be hard to watch. One short uses real life photos of racist acts of murder to drive home the message it’s serving up, and damn, that was tough to see.
Nevertheless, Tales from the Hood, hard-hitting messages and all, is a damn fine horror anthology. Even with so much seriousness surrounding the film, we still get plenty of moments of laughs and good old fashion horror. The first tale, Rogue Cop Revelation, features a terrifying zombiesque character getting some sweet revenge with lots of fun moments and gore gags. Also, seeing Corbin Bernsen playing a super racist politician, who gets his just desserts, is a crowd pleaser. It’s funny hearing him on the new 56-minute documentary explaining he is nothing like that character, so please forgive him.
I would be remiss in not mentioning the actor who steals the show. Clarence Williams III, who plays the Crypt Keeper like character, Mr. Simms, is a sight to behold. He creeps his way through his performance and knows how to say the word “shit” with class. The last line of the film from Mr. Simms is also something that will stick with you.
If I were to write down some of my negatives, it would have to be the final story. Lamont Bentley plays a gang member who gets a second chance at redemption, by subjecting himself to all sorts of experiments. This story goes rather trippy with the visuals and doesn’t explain much when it’s over. It is probably the story that feels the most out of place compared to the others, save for the violent montage that gives you plenty of feels, and not the good kind of feels.
Besides that story feeling off and a bit of sketchy acting from our doomed drug seekers who hear the tales, Tales from the Hood is not the cheesy film you think it is and you would be wise in checking it out, especially if you love anthology films.
Scream Factory releases Tales from the Hood on a collector’s edition Blu-ray, in the films original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer has been cleaned up and is a vast improvement over the DVD already available. There are moments where the film’s quality degrades, but that most likely is a result of the negative having been damaged over time. As for the audio options, you have a DTS-MA 2.0 option that fills your front channels quite nicely. Another option titled “Alternate” DTS-MA 2.0 sounds like unaltered audio but is rather low and dull sounding. Stick with the first audio option.
As for special features, the releases biggest positive is also the only thing new on the disc. The newly shot 56-minute documentary on the making of Tales from the Hood is an informative sit down with the director, a few of the actors and crew as they go through each story and the ideas and work that went into shooting them. Everything else included on the disc is from past releases. Yes, the laserdisc commentary has been ported over for this release!
As you can see, the Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Tales from the Hood is worth picking up. The asking price at the time of this review is a bit on the steep side, but if you want the movie on Blu, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting an excellent, solid Blu-ray.
A quick Blu-ray vs DVD comparison shot, all thanks to caps-a-holic!
- NEW Welcome To Hell: The Making Of TALES FROM THE HOOD – Featuring Interviews With Director/Writer Rusty Cundieff, Producer/Writer Darin Scott, Actors Corbin Bernsen, Wings Hauser, Anthony Griffith, Special Effects Supervisor Kenneth Hall, And Doll Effects Supervisors Charles Chiodo And Edward Chiodo (56 minutes)
- Audio Commentary With Director/Writer Rusty Cundieff
- Vintage Featurette
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Original TV Spots
- Still Gallery
RUN-TIME: 98 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1995
RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2017
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 (Clarence Williams III). 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.