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Tales from the Hood: Collector's Edition (1995) - Blu-ray Review

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Tales from The Hood - Blu-ray Review

4 beersIn which the real monsters are revealed to be us, brothers and sisters.  Welcome to Hell, motherfuckers!

My friends and I often have conversations about the horror movies released during the 1990s and what is so painfully wrong with most of them.  And then we get to Tales from the Hood and all conversation stops.  Many have not seen this film.  The ones that have seen it absolutely love it.  In my opinion, director Rusty Cundieff’s socially aware anthology of terror, originally released in 1995, remains an overlooked horror gem from the era. 

And why is that?  It’s essentially Tales from the Crypt with an African-American spin and Tales from the Crypt was very popular, so is it possible that this one escaped the theaters without being seen by the majority of audiences because of its brutal honesty in commenting upon the social structures in both white and black communities during the latter part of the 1990s?  You’ll discover that not a lot of things have changed. 

Produced by Spike Lee, Tales from the Hood answers the all-important question of how to kill something (or someone) that’s already dead.  And it all takes place within the mighty halls of the Simms Funeral Home.  Starring Clarence Williams III as the creepy mortician who agrees to sell a large amount of drugs to the three inner city young men who come collecting, this four-story narrative is framed by Stack (Joe Torry) and his friends responses to each story, all designed to scare them straight.

The horror film begins its four-story night of terror with “Rogue Cop Revelation” in which a whole bunch of white, racist cops beat a civil rights activist and political aggressor to death.  They then frame him as a drug dealer.  Years later, a guilt-riddled cop (Anthony Griffith), who was a rookie on the night of the beating, gives in to the voices in his head and gets the gang back together one last time on the grave of the black leader they murdered.  And he is about to get his revenge on ALL of them.

In the second story, “Boys Do Get Bruised”, a small boy is the target for a monster’s attack.  It highlights what is and isn’t real in the mind’s eye and, as domestic abuse within the home environment is its what it’s addressing, the film doesn’t fail to get your attention.  But it’s far trickier than it lets on to being.  The violence is in your face and , as David Alan Grier essentially beats the hell out of his family, one can't help but root for his destruction.  And, yes, it is one that is very deserving.  Screaming Mad George is to be endlessly commended for his practical effects here as Grier finds his body being twisted in horrible ways.

In fact, all of the stories pull the rug from under the feet of its audience with the disturbing realities at play. 

The third story, “KKK Comeuppance”, is probably the most famous of the bunch due to its connection to the rise of David Duke.  Starring Corbin Bernsen as Duke Metger, a political rung-climber seeking the presidency by disavowing all that helps African-Americans, the story sees his character in all its obnoxious beliefs being terrorized by black slave dolls in the deep south.  He claims to be an original American.  He is far from it and, in the age of Trump, its political message lives on.

The final story, “Hardcore Convert”, a gangbanging thug is incarcerated alongside a violent white nationalist and the two men, with behavior to match their appearance, confirms each and every stereotype hurled at the other.  Sub-cultures get broken down throughout the story and, due to their haunting nature; disturb us more with the truth than they do with monsters and ghosts.  The evil that men do trumps the evil of the supernatural.

Few films treat these socially relevant issues with any degree of realism.  By disguising Tales from the Hood as a horror film, Cundieff - who studied journalism and religion at Loyola – and co-writer Darien Scott get to mix so many things about the horror genre with social commentary.  You need this one, Horror Hounds and Gore-Gore Girls.  Trust me, it’ many social messages continue to live on. 

Relevant then and, unfortunately, still relevant today, Tales from the Hood proves there’s still no fucking peace in the dollhouse.

Tales from The Hood - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
98 mins
Director
: Rusty Cundieff
Writer:
Rusty Cundieff, Darin Scott
Cast:
Clarence Williams III, Corbin Bernsen, Joe Torry
Genre
: Horror | Crime
Tagline:
Your most terrifying nightmare and your most frightening reality are about to meet on the streets.
Memorable Movie Quote: "After you killed Crazy K, a few of his boys killed you! I guess you didn't make it!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 24, 1995
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 18, 2017
Synopsis: 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.

Tales from The Hood - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- April 18, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Language:
English
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Scream Factory presents Tales from the Hood with a polished visual upgrade from its original DVD release.  The new 2K scan of the original interpositive is rich in beauty.  The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  Nicely saturated, there are no dents in its shiny armor.  Colors are strong throughout and are particularly memorable with their inclusion of details and strong edges.  Black levels are clearly defined, too.  Important considering the film takes place during the evening hours.  Shadows are detailed.  The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is solid and aggressive.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Man, the audio commentary by director/writer Rusty Cundieff is not to be missed.  Fans of the film will love this and the information it contains about the directing of the movie.

Special Features:

The supplemental items begin with a bang.  There is a new making of featurette that is highlighted by the involvement of its cast and crew in NEW interviews.  From 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, there’s a lot of information about the filming of the movie to soak in.  The rest are archival spots and a vintage look at the making of movie.  Reversible cover art is also included.

  • Welcome To Hell: The Making Of Tales from the Hood (56 min)
  • Vintage Featurette
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Original TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

Tales from The Hood - Blu-ray Review

 

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