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‘Tales from the Hood’ still scary

Submitted by LaToya Sergent on October 29, 2010 – 11:40 amNo Comment

This Halloween, let’s take a blast to the past to the 1990s.

Many kids may remember the Nickelodeon classic, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” “Tales from the Crypt” on Home Box Office probably kept those of us allowed to stay up late on Saturday nights awake. Honestly, who could forget The Crypt Keeper and that creepy laugh?

A still shot of Mr. Sims, played by Clarence Williams III in “Tales from the Hood.” Photo courtesy of flixster.com.

Well, none of that worked on me as a tyke. However, when I first saw the movie “Tales from the Hood” (1995) on HBO, I met my match. This is not your ordinary “slasher” film.

“Tales from the Hood” is a social commentary on the horror stories African Americans have had to endure throughout the ages. It is no surprise considering Spike Lee was the executive producer.

Three gang members (De’aundre Bonds, Samuel Monroe, Jr. and Joe Torry) go to a funeral home late at night, where they meet Mr. Sims (Clarence Williams III), the crazy, old funeral director. The thugs are spooked about going inside a place full of dead bodies, but are determined to get the stash of drugs rumored to be inside.

Mr. Sims is not bothered by their tough talk and bad attitudes, and instead of taking them to the drugs, he tells them four horror stories about the deceased. The first is about a revenge-seeking zombie political activist killed by dirty, drug-slinging cops. The next exposes the monster in a little boy’s bedroom, followed by a tale of a racist politician and the restless souls of slaves slain years ago on his plantation. The last story has special meaning to the hoodlums, as Mr. Sims shows them one of their associates lying in a coffin.

Don’t let the social themes in this film fool you. “Tales from the Hood” is definitely fits in the realm of horror. There are zombies, possessed dolls, lots of blood and a great twist. I admit it still gives me the “heebie jeebies.” 

The acting could have been a lot stronger, but the plot, makeup and cinematography makes up for it. How this film slipped under the radar is beyond me. Every time I ask someone if he or she has seen it, the answer is usually, “No.”

Take a break from the same old Halloween flick; watch something that is smart and sure to have you checking underneath the bed for monsters before you go to sleep.

Netflix has it on “Instant Play,” so you can watch it at home where you know nothing can get you. At least, you hope not.

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