Tales From the Hood

The B-Movie Isle: Tales from the Hood – Collector’s Edition (Scream Factory)

The B-Movie Isle takes a look at the newest release from Scream Factory.  The very prescient and forgotten horror film; Tales from the Hood.  Adam takes a tour with Clarence Williams III as his guide to the scariest of drug deals gone awry.  Does the film still work?  Is just silly fodder? Or has time aged this film to perfection.  Read below to find out…

The Film

Wow.

Memories of Tales from the Hood I had were always fond ones.  Specifically, Clarence Williams III’s truly wicked and inspired performance as Mr. Simms the funeral director/story teller.  I had forgotten much of the content of the horror anthology series.  That blurry memory allowed for one of the truly great re-watches of a film in recent memory.  This viewing was even greater than my recent re-watch of Dr. Strangelove at TCM Film Festival.

Tales from the Hood is as relevant, vital and brutally honest about race relation and the human condition as Jordan Peele’s brilliant Get Out. The film directed by Rusty Cundieff takes more from Twilight Zone than from Tales from the Crypt or Creepshow.  Cundieff and co-writer Darrin Star create stories both socially relevant and scary as hell.  The ingenious part of the film, like in Universal Horror films, the humans in the stories are always scarier than the monsters.

The cast is uniformly terrific headlined by Clarence Williams III in peak form.  The nature of his role as the “master of ceremonies” of sorts is pitch perfect.  The legendary actor at first may seem a bit over-the-top but over the course of the film you will realize what the end game is.  David Allen Grier is flat out amazing as the father in the segment “Boys do Get Bruised”.  Any thoughts of Grier as a softer comedic actor will be wiped away by the ending of this brutal segment.  Wings Hauser and Michael Massee bring a greasy horrifying brutality to their roles as cops in “Rogue Cop Revelation”.  Hauser and Massee are almost too good in these roles.  Corbin Bersen is in peak comedic form as the awful Gubernatorial candidate who gets some very just deserts.  Special note should be made of Lamont Bentley as Crazy K, much of the films power and final segment “Hard-Core Convert” rests upon the work that he’s asked to do.  He is able to make the reality of a situation that could look silly seem realistic, brutal and truly frightening.

The film deals with police violence, domestic abuse, racism and race on race killing with candor and a brutal honesty.  Cundieff is able to push boundaries he could not have, had he worked in another genre.  The film is funny, brazen and horrific in equal measure sometimes at the same time.  Many will be uncomfortable (with good reason) during the bulk of the film in their first viewing.  The film is both designed to be uncomfortable and darkly funny in equal measures.  This is a brilliant film that will hopefully be rediscovered by the horror community en masse as it deserves as such.  This isn’t just fly-by night horror, this is the real deal; socially relevant darkly comedic horror.  Those that have never seen are in for a huge treat.

The Transfer

The recent remaster looks beautiful.  They’ve treated the film with a care that I’m not sure that it received during its theatrical release.  I know on home video it did not look as good as it does.  The picture was more like the flat washed out look of the trailer you see above.  This current transfer has a deep rich contrast level and a nice amount of grain to give it that “archival print” look that many of us adore when it comes to transfers.

The Extras

The Special Features include:

  • 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
  • Audio Commentary With Director/Writer Rusty Cundieff
  • Vintage Featurette
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Original TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

Running almost an hour the new Making-of documentary Welcome To Hell: The Making Of TALES FROM THE HOOD is a great informative look back on the film on the making, reception and ultimately the films status in the pantheon of great horror films.  Those involve are proud of their work on this film, specifically Bernsen seems to have relished the reception he received for his work.  The Commentary by director Cundieff is as lively and informative, this commentary is from the Laserdisc days.  One would have liked to have seen a newer commentary with Cundieff and co-writer/producer Darin Scott had joined him as they were great in the making-of doc.  They’ve also including a vintage featurette, trailer, TV spots and a still gallery.  Scream has definitely made a case for the film being greater than the cult status it has had with these great extras.

The Bottom Line

Thanks to Scream Factory, Tales from the Hood will now be seen by a much wider audience.  This isn’t just a forgotten oddity but a true blue undiscovered vital classic.  In our scary strange times this film has become more relevant than ever.  HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATIONS!

Tales from the Hood is out on April 18th and is now available to purchase!




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