Tales From The Hood is a 1995 horror anthology film, directed by Rusty Cundieff. The film features four short African American-themed horror stories, with a Framing Device that is itself a horror story. The film opens when three young gangstas—Ball (De'aundre Bonds), Bulldog (Samuel Monroe, Jr.) and Stack (Joe Torry)—in South Central Los Angeles visit a mortuary to buy drugs from its owner, the mysterious Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III). The drugs are stored deep within the building, and as Mr. Simms guides the men through the funeral home, he takes the time to narrate stories relating to his four most recent "customers." In his words, "Death - it comes in many strange packages."
The first story, "Rogue Cop Revelation," deals with police violence and corruption, as a black politician murdered by racist cops seeks revenge from beyond the grave. The second entry, "Boys Do Get Bruised," touches on domestic violence as a young boy blames his prominent and frequent injuries on a monster that terrorizes him by night. The third story, called "KKK Comeuppance," explores racism in elected government. Senator Duke Metzger's (a character named for white supremacists David Duke and Tom Metzger) new campaign is interrupted by the ghosts of the slaves who used to live and work in his new house. Finally there's "Hard-Core Convert," a story about gang violence. Jerome John aka drug dealer Crazy K is wounded in a late-night ambush and wakes up in a Kafka-esque prison, where increasingly surreal and horrifying attempts to rehabilitate him are executed. Back in the frame story, the dealers grow tired of Mr. Simm's storytelling and resort to threats to procure their product, but Simms has one last surprise for the trio.
A sequel, Tales from the Hood 2, was released in 2018, with Keith David taking over for Williams as Mr. Simms as he assists Corrupt Corporate Executive Dumass Beach in laying the groundwork for the morality of a new model of artificially intelligent police robot.
This film provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Carl
- Armor-Piercing Question: Crazy K keeps holding to his gangbanger tough guy persona during his imprisonment and punches a creepy Neo Nazi for calling him a nigger. A moment later Crazy K is genuinely shaken when asked "Those people you killed, what color were they?"
- Asshole Victim: Ball, Billy, Bulldog, Crazy K, Newton, Stack, and Strom were all murderers. Carl was an abusive husband and (step)father. Duke Metzger was verbally abusive even to his own staff members.
- Creepy Changing Painting: The wall painting of Miss Cobbs (the voodoo priestess) in Metzger's house changes when the killer dolls are released one by one, with blank shapes appearing in their place.
- Cycle of Revenge: In the final tale, Crazy K shoots Lil' Deke for killing a friend. In his later rehabilitation, he is confronted by the ghosts of people he killed, many as parts of other cycles, including some guys who hadn't even done the killing he killed them for and a little girl. In the end, he is gunned down by three other men in revenge for that last killing. Those men happened to be Stack, Ball, and Bulldog, the three protagonists of the wraparound tale. In the end, it turns out that they too were slain for killing Crazy K in the last tale, and are currently in Hell.
- Dead All Along: Ball, Bulldog, and Stack. Possibly also Crazy K.
- Death by Racism: Duke Metzger. Possibly Billy, Newton and Strom, though in their own case they had further motivations.
- Dirty Cop: Billy, Newton, and Strom deal drugs in a black neighborhood and murder a public reformer who spoke out against them.
- Domestic Abuser: Carl whips Sissy with a belt and regularly beats her son.
- Defiant to the End:
Crazy K: I don't give a fuck!!!
- Crazy K when he was barely conscious when the 3 gang members from the mortuary shoot him to death.
"This shit ain't over yet, bitch!"
- Carl, even as he's been reduced to a crumpled heap of broken bones on the kitchen floor:
- Dying Dream: Crazy K is shot by three rival gangsters and arrested by the cops. In prison, he agrees to be put through an experimental therapy where he's shown pictures comparing black gang violence to KKK violence against blacks. Then the people he knows he's murdered show up to ask him why they deserved to die. Either it's a dying dream, or he's already in Hell. (Or at the very least, some form of Purgatory, which would fit with a lot of the symbolism in the segment, including the fact that the staff of the institution tend to dress in all white, the offer of redemption being accompanied by the need for purification, the state of torment while there, etc.)
- Evil Is Petty: When Duke Metzger's slaveholding ancestor had to surrender his slaves at the end of the Civil War, he preferred to massacre all of them.
- Exact Words: At the start of the framing story, Mr. Simms assures the three drug dealers who pay him a visit that they'll soon be standing knee-deep in "the shit".
- Fan Disservice: Crazy K actually has a pretty nice physique, and it's put on display when he opts for experimental aversion therapy for his crimes (he's in what amounts to a dark-colored speedo for the duration of the scene), but it's hard to appreciate it considering what happens to him.
- Foreshadowing: "You'll get the shit. You'll be knee-deep in the shit."
- In a subtler example, Mr. Simms blows smoke with a cigar at his lips in the interval before the 4th story ... and then puts it in his breast pocket without extinguishing it: an early hint that he's the source of the smoke.
- Freudian Excuse: Mocked by Dr. Cushing, who expects Crazy K to start blaming his parents, teachers, etc. for his own crimes.
- Gangland Drive-By: Several hit and run shootings appear in a montage about gang violence when Crazy K is being Mind Raped.
- It's All About Me: The root of Crazy K's problems - he believes that he himself is the only person he needs to take care of, no one else.
- It Makes Sense in Context: Invoked when Mr. Simms opens the second casket. We don't see it at first, but the gangstas are shocked and ask, "What the fuck happened to this nigga?!" Simms tells the story of the little boy who draws voodoo doll pictures and ultimately kills his abusive stepfather Carl by crumbling it up, stepping on it, and burning it. We then see Carl's mangled corpse in the casket.
- Large Ham:
Simms: THISSSSS AAAAIINNNN'T NOOO FUNNERAALLLL HOOOMMMMME!!! IT AIIINNN'T THE TERRORDOME NEIIITHERRRR!!!! WELCOME!!!! TO HELLLLL, motherfuckerssssss....
- Clarence Williams III absolutely goes to town as Mr. Simms. Justified by the fact that he's Satan toying with his latest victims.
- Rosalind Cash as Dr. Cushing in "Hardcore Convert" starts out fairly regular but towards the end especially when she starts experimenting on Crazy K she starts Chewing the Scenery!
- Last Disrespects: When the corrupt cops visit their prior victim's grave, they take the opportunity to piss on the tombstone. The dead man rises from the grave to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge not long after.
- Marionette Master: The army of undead slave dolls tormenting a white supremacist is controlled by an elderly voodoo priestess whose soul is contained inside an old Civil War painting.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Walter's teacher telling Walter's abusive stepfather about the monster.
- Not So Different: Crazy K is shown a montage of pictures showing members of The Klan torturing or killing black men or standing over their corpses and dramatized shots of black gang members killing each other. He's then essentially asked "How are you any better than them?"
- Oh, Crap!:
- The racist Metzger has a nice one when he sees that all the voodoo dolls from the magical painting have gone missing. He then turns around to see hundreds of vengeful puppets staring at him.
- And of course the three hoodlums at the very end of the movie.
- Perverse Puppet: The haunted voodoo dolls terrorizing Duke Metzger, which contain the souls of murdered slaves.
- Precision F-Strike: Four words "Welcome to hell, motherfuckersss!"
- Police Brutality: Billy, Newton, and Strom conspire to murder a black politician who was exposing their drug dealing business. Their victim subsequently rises from the grave to get revenge.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Duke Metzger is a slimy white supremacist politician who moves into the slavery-era mansion that belonged to his grandfather, a slave owner who had all his slaves massacred at the end of the Civil War. The spirits of the slaves, contained in a puppet army, proceed to torment Metzger.
- Redemption Rejection: Crazy K rather than admitting to the guilt of his crimes, remained defiant. It ends in his death and damnation.
- Satan: Mister Simms is revealed to be the Devil himself in the twist ending, and was merely mentally tormenting his new victims before revealing that they've been in Hell all along.
- Scary Black Man: Crazy K with any weapon in his hands.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Bulldog, on seeing what Mr.Simms really is.
- Sleazy Politician: Duke Metzger is a smarmy racist politician and former KKK member who decided to move into an old plantation house that once belonged to one of his ancestors, a slaveholder who was responsible for massacring all his slaves at the end of the Civil War.
- Spiritual Successor: To Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror.
- Sympathetic Magic: Walter draws pictures of his enemies and then damages. The individuals suffer similar damages.
- Taken for Granite: A variation when one of the cops who murdered a black politician is crucified and made part of a piece of graffiti, still screaming in agony.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer reveals quite a few plot points, most noteworthy being the twist ending.
- Twist Ending: As already noted, it comes with a memorable one.
- You Are a Credit to Your Race: Crazy K's white supremacist inmate stated that black people like Crazy K will be spared and enjoyed the fact that his victims are African Americans.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Crazy K is a murderous drug dealer, but he's visibly disgusted when a white supremacist compliments him because Crazy K's victims happened to be black.
- Villain Protagonist: Duke Metzger and Crazy K. Possibly Ball, Bulldog, and Stack if thought as protagonists of the frame story.
- Welcome to Hell: Quite literally, it turns out.
- Wham Line: In a movie full of them, Mr. Simms drops the biggest one of all.Simms: After you killed Crazy K, a few of his boys... killed you. I guess you didn't make it.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Clarence, the only non-corrupt cop on the force was called out by Moorehouse's zombie.Clarence: Are you satisfied now, brother?Moorehouse: (seizes Clarence by the throat) Where were you when I NEEDED you, brother?