Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer Shocks 1995: Tales from the Hood

As beloved as anthologies are by genre fans, they rarely do well commercially (the latest example of that being Trick R' Treat, which didn't even make it to theaters). Personally, I don't get it. I love the idea of seeing a film with multiple stories. The great thing about anthologies is that with three to five stories to get to in just two hours or so, none of the stories can overstay their welcome. Math is on their side.

An anthology that deserved a much better reception than it got was Tales from the Hood. Putting an 'urban' spin on the Amicus anthology format, Tales from the Hood was clearly made by people who knew their stuff. It's not an exercise in nostalgia but yet for fans, there was plenty of shout-outs to the anthology classics of the past. Plus, with Clarence Williams III as the loquacious funeral director Mr. Simms, director Rusty Cundieff and co. got a perfect actor to act as the host for these stories. His performace alone is enough to make the movie memorable.

Sadly, there just wasn't an audience for it. Too bad, as I'd like to think that the team behind this movie had some more Tales to tell.

To read my full Summer Shocks review, click here.

10 comments:

William Johnson said...

Loved Tales from the Hood. I was pretty surprised since it came from director Cundieff and producer Spike Lee, who really hadn't dabbled in the horror or anthology genre before.

The movie is pretty solid in its first few stories but it really hits it mark in the last segment. I haven't been too 'scared' in a movie as an adult but that last section was so intense and graphic it made me feel odd in my stomach. Very powerful. I shall read the full review but just wanted to comment here! Thanks.

Will
Secure Immaturity

Jeff Allard said...

Thanks Will - I agree that TFTH's last segment is a real gut punch. Some truly sad, graphic imagery.

Emily said...

Funny, this movie just came up on my blog and I started thinking about what an underrated little gem it is. Seriously, were there ANY other anthologies in the '90s? Plus, if memory serves, the stories were genuinely unique. I need to rewatch it. And then get angry about the fact that not enough people did 15 years ago.

Matt-suzaka said...

Nice pick! I always found Tales to be a solid entry in the anthology genre, and like you, it is one that I really enjoy. All the stories are solid-to-great, and David Alan Grier is incredibly frightening in his abusive father segment. Can't wait to read your article, Jeff!

Jeff Allard said...

Emily, the only other '90s anthology I can think of off-hand is Necronomicon. That never made it to theaters and it was pretty lousy to boot but I have a soft spot for it (it's hard to completely hate on a movie where Jeffrey Combs plays H.P. Loevcraft). Oh, and there was also the made-for-Showtime John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper collaboration, Body Bags. That wasn't half-bad.

Matt, I knew you'd have my back on this pick! Species was a huge hit from that summer but I couldn't pass up the chance to give a big shout-out to Tales from the Hood!

William Johnson said...

Four Rooms came out in 1995. . .I've never heard anyone say anything good about it.

Akira Kurusawa's Dreams came out in 1990. That could be somewhat genre.

Those are the only two I can think of. . .

L. Rob Hubb said...

One of those films that nobody sees on release, but those who were lucky enough to see it always remember. Saw it in a matinee paired with PULP FICTION, and the audience was appreciative and rowdy.

This should be put back out on DVD, with the commentary that Cudineff did for the laserdisc release.

Jeff Allard said...

That'd be great - I've never heard that commentary!

Sarah said...

I haven't seen this since it was on cable in the 90s, but I remember liking it.

Another horror anthology film from the 90s: Tales from the Darkside: The Movie. It was earlier in the decade at 1990/1991.

Jeff Allard said...

Yep, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie came out in May of '90. Love that movie - one of my favorites!