One movie that has been taking critics and audiences by storm this year is Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Blending elements of the horror and thriller genres with some pretty strong social commentary on racism, the film is brilliantly made, tons of fun and flat out great. And while it is being hailed as a big stepping stone in the horror genre, there is a movie that came out in 1995 that makes the perfect companion to Get Out if you are planning a movie night anytime soon. Rusty Cundieff’s Tales from the Hood. And it just happens to have just debuted on Blu-ray from the folks at Shout Factory.
When three gang members (Samuel Monroe Jr., Joe Torry, and De’aundre Bonds) arrive at a funeral home to retrieve a drug shipment, they meet the home’s strange funeral director Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III) who proceeds to tell them four tales of horror based on the stories of four of the corpses currently residing with him. The first story concerns a man murdered by crooked police officers and the one guilty cop who hears a voice from beyond the grave telling him to set things right.
The second story concerns a boy named Walter (Brandon Hammond) who is tormented by a monster and is concerned as none of the adults in his life believe him.
The third tale deals with a racist politician running for governor (Corbin Bernsen) who lives in a former plantation house that may be haunted by its history of racial violence.
And the last story deals with a career criminal (Lamont Bentley) who agrees to experimental behavior modification in the hopes that he will gain early release, but who may never see the light of day again.
Tales from the Hood, for whatever reason, is a film that eluded me back in the 90s. I always assumed it was a cheesy Tales from the Crypt-like horror film but seeing it now, 22 years after its release, I was quite surprised and pleased to find out it was much more than that. Tales from the Hood is a very well written, very funny, very disturbing and very relevant film. It starts out very typical of the time period, a little cheesy and overacted, but shortly into the first segment things get pretty serious and I must say that writer Darin Scott and co-writer/director Rusty Cundieff really pull no punches. They tackle racial stereotypes one after the other, and tackle them with nothing glossed over. They show racism for what it really is. Ugly. But somehow, they manage to do it while still making the movie entertaining and fun. And that is no small task. This new Blu-ray of Tales from the Hood also features a brand new documentary on the making of the film that is just as fascinating as the film itself. Whether you are revisiting it or discovering it for the first time, Tales from the Hood is very highly recommended.