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Four short, moralistic horror vignettes (a la EC Comics) that deal with mostly black characters. The framing story introduces three youths out to pick up a drug shipment at a funeral parlor from the strange director, Mr. Simms. As the three punks wind their way through the parlor, Mr. Simms tells them the last stories of some of his more interesting clients. Written by
Renee Ann Byrd <email@example.com>
"Tales from the Hood" centers around three drug-dealing youths. The movie opens up with the three of them walking up to a funeral home run by a creepy mortician named Simms(Clarence Williams III). They are at the funeral home to pick up a stash of drugs. Instead of getting right down to business, Simms entertains the three men with some rather grisly stories.
In the first story, "Rogue Cop Revelation", three white, racist cops murder a black politician; all the while a black police officer is watching the entire thing. The black officer is then told that if he opens his mouth, he will join the politician. A year later, the politician from beyond the grave contacts the officer so he can get revenge on the cops who killed him.
In the second story, "Boys Do Get Bruised", as some people have claimed, is an interesting twist right out of "The Twilight Zone". A new boy at a school shows up the first day with a bunch of bruises on his arm. His teacher begins to get very concerned about this. The boy tells the teacher he got the bruises from the "monster" that lives in his house.
In the third story, "KKK Comeuppance", a former Ku Klux Klansman-turned-politician moves into a mansion that was once the sight of a horrible slave massacre that occurred around the end of the Civil War. There is a lot of distrust towards him, because of his shady history. He is told by many of the protesters that a bunch of voodoo dolls, which are inhabited by the souls of the murdered slaves, are still on the mansion grounds. The politician shrugs all of this off as just local superstition, until his assistant (who might I add is black) dies mysteriously. Soon it becomes clear that the politician is not alone in his brand new house.
In the fourth story, "Hard Core Convert", a gangster is arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. Some years after being sent to prison, he's offered a chance to be released, if he agrees to be a participant in a brand new experiment. It is here that elements of "A Clockwork Orange" begin to come into play.
Being African-American myself I feel "Tales from the Hood" is one of the most important "horror" films to come out of the nineties. I really like the fact that all though most of these stories are fiction, they all are based on reality and have many issues surrounding the African-American community that need to be addressed. Issues such as police brutality, child abuse, racism, and black-on-black crime are all brought to light here. I admit that although the horror elements of the movie are a bit cheesy, it does get its message across without much trouble. The stories themselves, while they aren't too original, are very well written.
The first segment, which may be the weakest of the four stories, has one of the more important issues, which is police brutality. The idea is sooner or later, the cops would get their comeuppance. You see the three white officers probably still would not have been proved guilty, even if the black officer had said something. Surprisingly, the black officer is not spared from the dead politician's wrath.
The second story is probably the one that I find the most ironic. This story proves that monsters do exist in real life, although they may not always be in the form of what we've come to expect.
The third story is probably the mediocre of the bunch. This story gives a new meaning "reparations". It also shows us that racism really is ugly and that sooner or later, somebody in the present is going to pay for someone else's past evil deeds.
The fourth story will prove to be the most important as it revolves around the topic of black-on-black crime. The main character of this story is an uncaring and unsympathetic young man who would kill everyone on Earth given the chance. The best example of this is during the sensory deprivation scene where he begins seeing hallucinations of all the people he's killed. It also shows when innocent people are caught in the crossfire. The scariest part of this whole movie takes place during this segment of the film. It is in the part where the main character is sitting in the cage before his treatment and he starts a conversation with the man sitting beside him. The man as we quickly see, is a white supremacist. The man then begins talking about how the gangbangers are always killing each other off, thus helping along his theory of "cleansing". What makes this so scary is that it is true and that nothing is being done about it. The issue of gang violence is something that really needs to be addressed.
"Tales from the Hood" is a very good movie no doubt, despite its flaws. But you need to watch this movie, not expecting a horror film, but a very important social studies lesson.
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