REVIEW: Tales from the Hood (1995)

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Tales from the Hood: A

I saw this in the theater when I was twelve and it was awesome. Since then, I’ve probably seen it another fifteen times and I’ve enjoyed it each time. In my opinion, it is one of the most charming and creative 90’s horror films. The social commentary is relevant and the make-up, effects, writing, and acting are all extremely entertaining. I will concede that my history with the film might make my biased because of my own nostalgia.

This is one of those Creepshow style anthology films with a frame story setting up four “mini-films.” The mini-films each have, at their core, a social issue that affects African Americans who live in the hood which are also allegorically represented amidst all the panic and gore:

1. Police corruption / racism: A black rights activist is murdered by corrupt cops. They even gloat and go pee-pee on his grave after. Fucking meanies! He rises from the dead to fuck them up with extreme brutality. Zombie Black Rights Activist can teleport, has telekinesis, and can modulate his voice.
2. Domestic violence: David Alan Grier plays this asshole abusive boyfriend/dad who is also a monster. A teacher gets wise to what’s going on and one of DAG’s victims tries some voodoo type magic on his ass. Sounds fucked up, but when you get to the end of this one, there will be lulz.
3. Political racism: A racist white senator lives in a house that used to be a plantation, a fact that gives him an abundance of joy. Too bad for him that the house is haunted by a tribe of living dolls who are possessed by the souls of tortured slaves. You can imagine that they don’t think the senator is very cool. There’s some Child’s Play-esque terror as the dolls stalk and attack him.
4. Gang violence / prison rehabilitation: A gangsta named Crazy K goes to jail because he was being a gangsta named Crazy K. A new rehabilitation method allows the souls of his victims to kick it in the solitary confinement cell with him. These visitations make Crazy K become Crazier K and he has to ask himself if he still wants to go hard in the paint or instead, take responsibility for the evils he has committed.

Clarence Williams plays the Crypt Keeper character and his gap-toothed maniacal cackling punctuates each story. It’s a real treat.

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