Scary Movies To Watch In The Dark #8: Tales From The Hood

On this blog I’ve already written a review of Tales From The Hood but because I love this film so much I felt the need to do it once more. In a genre like horror where practically every film is glorified by those high on nostalgia, I still feel like Tales From The Hood doesn’t get the respect and credit it deserves.

What I left out the last time I wrote about Tales From The Hood was the obvious comparison to Get Out. Get out is a quality horror film that tackles the subject of racist and is not only a critical achievement but also quite the financial achievement, grossing around 250 million dollars against a 5 million dollar budget. Part of the film’s success can be credited to the hype of seeing Jordan Peele stepping out of the comedic world. It’s also a film that was released during the right place and time.

Ever since this fantastic achievement, those who don’t really do research are quick to state that this is the first time race and social commentary are being discussed in a horror film since Night Of The Living Dead. One would be a fool to overlook the quality in Tales From The Hood, a film released twenty two years before Get Out.

When it comes to those who have heard of this film and shook their head in disgust I can see why. As mentioned in my previous review of this movie, the poster is by far the least appealing poster I’ve ever seen. Who on earth would look at the cover with a skull that has a gold tooth and sunglasses and think to themselves “O yeah! This movie looks like it’s worth my time.”?

Thankfully, this film has been given a Blu-Ray release from Scream Factory and the artwork on the front is gorgeous and is appealing just like the film.

Another thing that repulses people is the title. As soon as you see the word hood, you have a horrible first impression of what the film might offer. Don’t worry, it’s the complete opposite of Leprechaun In The Hood.

When I mention this film to people, I swear to god multiple people have said to me “Doesn’t that have Snoop Dogg in it?”

What I love about Tales From The Hood is that it modernizes the outdated formula of Tales From The Crypt. While I love Tales From The Crypt, many of the stories are similar to the Old Testament morality in a James M. Cain novel with a touch of the supernatural. Tales From The Hood takes this storytelling of the 1940s and 50s and adds a relevant flavor to it.

The balance Rusty Cundieff achieves of being true to the supernatural campy element of horror anthology films while being able to tell socially relevant stories is a masterful artistic achievement. Few horror films can achieve this balance of entertaining horror while at the same time tackling such serious subject matter as police brutality.

I think the campy entertainment of this film is perhaps why some have a hard time giving it a chance. It began in the 70s but since the creation of online communities in the 90s, there is a group of horror fans that take the genre far too seriously. Films without amazing prop work and creative gore are far more critically acclaimed and seem to be overall more socially acceptable. This desperate need of approval in a genre that is supposed to be rebellious and hold up the middle finger to what is socially acceptable is incredibly toxic to me.

As I look through some of the negative reviews of Tales From The Hood it’s obvious most people do not like the use of social commentary in a campy supernatural horror anthology film. Personally I think it’s a great idea to inject social commentary into this type of storytelling because you’re pulling in people who normally would perhaps avoid such serious subject matter. Odds are a horror fanatic isn’t sitting down to watch 12 Years A Slave or Moonlight.

Dear White People has a perfect rating among television and after sitting through two episodes I personally feel Tales From The Hood gets the point across more effectively in less the time. I’ve heard Dear White People described as a show that brings up After School Special topics and never gets to the point or “You Know I’ve Learned Something Today” and it’s quite accurate.

Tales From The Hood has suffered numerous angles of ridiculous criticism from overly serious and dull horror fans that stick their nose up at every that isn’t Silence Of The Lambs, Seven or The Babadook, people who think it’s far more intelligent to tell a story of the horrible in humans. And of course it has suffered from snobs who want nothing to do with horror in the first place.

Personally, Tales From The Hood feels like seeing a talented stand-up comedian with a social message. Their first job is to entertain you and while they do that, they’re pumping an intelligent message into your brain and making you think. Tales From The Hood is an amazing horror film that has great social messages mixed into it and I don’t see why we should make it suffer for that.

A film can be entertaining and intelligent at the same time.


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