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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>
"This ain't no funeral parlor. This ain't the terrordome. Welcome to HELL mothaf*#%@!" In not too many words I want to express my respect for one of the most underrated horror movies of the 90s. Like The Twilight Zone it is a segmented film (although all directed by Rusty Cundieff) that spans across a good variety of horror genres. The real horrorshow here, though, is the domestic/racial issues against the black community. Cleverly (and without being preachy or offensive to white people), Cundieff disguised his agenda with rich characters and a bone chilling conclusion.
The HIGHPOINT of this movie for me is the film's proverbial ringleader- a funeral parlor director. The man, brilliantly and hilariously underplayed by a bug-eyed Clarence Williams III, finds a stack of drugs he wants to sell to three young hoods. As you watch you begin to wonder what eerie agenda he really has in store. These scenes tie all the vignettes together.
Also, the final segment is a very profound statement on gang violence (although beware, this is the preachiest segment). I like to call it A Clockwork Black because it applies Anthony Burgress's idea of reversing violence onto the offender onto a gang leader called Krazy K. Those K's in his name aren't a mistake either! Cundieff underlines a necessary argument about between black-on-black violence by comparing K to a neo nazi.
Like any memorable work of horror, Tales remembers to keep its monsters metaphorical. Police brutality, domestic violence, racial profiling, and gang violence are the most hideous creatures found here. I complement Rusty Cundieff on a job well done there. Excessive campiness and at-times generic camera work keep this from being great, but nothing stops its relevance in the genre.
STAR RATING: *** out of 4.
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