This is it, fiends! Available now on Blu-Ray from Scream Factory is the highly-anticipated re-release of the 1995 horror anthology TALES FROM THE HOOD! I got an early peek at the disc, as did the fans and collectors that pre-ordered it in advance directly from Scream Factory, and I’m here to tell you why this is a must add to your home video library, especially for die-hard horror fans that are looking for a great, somewhat lost anthology.
In the tradition of all great horror anthologies, this one features 4 horrific tales, woven together by a wrap-around story that successfully ties into the final segment in a way that ends the whole thrill ride on a tremendous high. “Rogue Cop Revelation” shows what happens to a group of dirty cops when they frame and murder a city councilman / black rights activist. “Boys Do Get Bruised” presents a boy coping with an abusive step-parent by acknowledging him as an actual monster. Creepy dolls come out to play when it comes to dishing out a little vengeance to racist politician Duke Metger in “KKK Comeuppance.” And in “Hard-Core Convert,” a criminal gangmember must face the souls of his victims in a experimental rehabilitation procedure that produces some scary results! Telling us all these tales is a mortician named Mister Simms from the Simm’s Funeral Home.
Now, here’s 5 reasons you need to pick this title up ASAP.
It’s Truly A Long-Lost Gem
First and foremost, the main reason you should pick up TALES FROM THE HOOD is because most people haven’t seen it! Sure, it was a modest hit in the mid-90’s when it initially came out, and later became a cable favorite, but a lot of horror fans I’ve interacted with in the last decade or so are unfamiliar with it, or have never seen it. The main reason? Producer Darin Scott gives context in the vintage making-of featurette by explaining that any black oriented horror films that were coming out at that time were primarily spoofs and didn’t take the genre seriously. So, because of the title, and the way it was marketed, most would think this isn’t a traditional horror movie, when in actuality, it goes to some pretty dark places with its storytelling and themes, a lot of which were untapped at the time. In the same way that GET OUT managed to be both socially relevant and a great horror film, TALES FROM THE HOOD delivers on both social commentary and scares in equal part. With Spike Lee on board as executive producer and under the direction of Rusty Cundieff (who went on to direct every episode of THE CHAPELLE SHOW) from a script he co-wrote with Darin Scott, who is a professed horror fan, especially of the Amicus Productions horror anthologies, TALES FROM THE HOOD is a unique, unlikely horror anthology unlike any you’ve seen before.
Brand New Hour Long Retrospective Documentary
This is the stuff I love most about Scream Factory releases, getting lengthy retrospective documentaries! This time, the disc’s brand new hour long doc is brought to us by Hutson Ranch Media; one of the producers behind the NEVER SLEEP AGAIN documentary; and it features new interviews with a lot of the primary cast, filmmakers and producers. Basically, Cundieff and Scott delve into each of the segments, how they were conceived and executed. It’s great to hear from actors such as Wings Hauser and Corbin Bernsen, who both play some of the most despicable characters of their careers here! Kenneth J. Hall is on hand to discuss all the special FX in the film, and the assist that KNB provided. In fact, each segment has a different FX team behind it to give each story a different flavor. Among the stand outs are what Screaming Mad George provided for “Boys Do Get Bruised,” and the Chiodo Brothers creepy dolls from “KKK Comeuppance.” It’s just a great, well rounded making-of that covers all grounds. Also, it kicks off like this:
All Star Cast
Speaking of that cast, there’s a lot of familiar faces here playing roles that are pretty out of character. I remember David Alan Grier primarily for his hilarious characters on IN LIVING COLOR, so to see him here as an abusive evil stepfather is unexpected and a shock! Freakin’ Wings “VICE SQUAD” Hauser as a racist dirty cop? Cobin Bernsen as a sleazy politician that also gets his due at the hands of a bunch of killer dolls? Rosalind Cash as a sadistic doctor performing some CLOCKWORK ORANGE-esque punishment on a criminal? And a scene stealing performance by Clarence Williams III as the Crypt Keeper-esque Simms? Fantastic cast across the board! What’s not to love?!
Great HD Presentation
For years, it was long believed that there wasn’t a good HD master source to do a proper Blu-Ray release of TALES FROM THE HOOD, nor were there any reported original 35mm film prints in existence, unless they’re in the hands of shy anonymous film collectors. I know one friend that does have a 16mm print, but I’m not sure how good a presentation can be made from a scan of that. However, somewhere in the vaults, the fine fiends at Scream Factory managed to find an original HD source. So, when I popped the disc in, I was nervous how it would look, considering the producer was convinced we’d never see a Blu-Ray. I’m thrilled to report it’s great! It’s never looked better, and I’m so happy that a whole new audience will discover this film and get to see it in such a pristine presentation!
Look, I’m being biased here, because one of the first people I got to know when I moved to Los Angeles is producer and co-writer Darin Scott. When we first met, he was wearing a T-Shirt with the Green Lantern logo on it, and we chatted about everything from Garth Ennis comics to the horror genre. So, he’s just an awesome enthusiastic human being, in general. He’s tackled just about every genre of film in his career, and knows everything about every genre of film, but when he focuses on horror, we’re all very lucky. His first film was as a producer on another great anthology FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM, which I also strongly recommend. Darin’s all over the disc in the featurettes, both new and vintage, and on the commentary. But if you want to hear him geek out about horror, I strongly recommend listening to his first appearance on the Killer POV podcast right here, or on his recent appearance on Shock Waves, embedded below for your convenience!
TALES FROM THE HOOD is one of the most exciting of Scream Factory’s releases in 2017, because as I mentioned earlier, I think it’s a horror film that a lot of genre fans haven’t seen, and there’s a whole new generation that will discover it through this Blu-Ray and will love it. It was timely and relevant at the time of its release, and it’s even more timely and relevant now!
Welcome to hell, m*therf*ckers!
TALES FROM THE HOOD is now available through Scream Factory!