There is nothing worse then remembering a long lost favorite movie, only to find out it’s…out of print. It’s been a while since I’ve experienced this horrible phenomenon, but last night while searching eBay for old movie posters, I ran across a Tales from the Hood theatrical print. I had not thought about this movie in years and was excited to purchase it from Amazon only to find out it was out of print on DVD.
It never released on HD DVD, Blu-ray, or any current streaming service either, so off to eBay I went, where I learned a VHS copy goes for $49 and a DVD ranges from $89 to $184. Wow. Now I don’t think any single DVD is worth over a hundred bucks–not even a producer’s cut of Alexander with all of Colin Farrell’s parts cut out. In all seriousness, the prices on Amazon for this film are maddening, but a thing is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, I guess.
Tales from the Hood hit theaters in May 1995. Its budget is estimated at around $6 million, and it made about $11 million during its theatrical run, so it is not considered a flop. I am sure it made a decent amount on VHS sales, and its soundtrack featuring new music by Wu Tang Clan most likely moved a couple units. Obviously, there was interest in this film, so why was it allowed to go out of print?
In the DVD craze of the late 90s, when every studio’s back catalog titles good and bad were being released–Judgement Night and Trespass come to mind–this film was given a limited DVD release in 1998. Now if you trust Rotten Tomatoes’ 38% rating, then you will think it’s no wonder this film is out of print. But if you are a fan of horror anthologies and Boyz in the Hood, then you owe it to yourself to seek this film out.
Tales from the Hood was written and directed by Rusty Cundieff, most famous for his films Fear of the Black Hat and Sprung, executively produced by none other than Spike Lee. The most notable actors in this film are Corbin Bernsen and David Alan Grier. Both are amazing in seldom seen serious roles, and character actor Clarence Williams III is eating up the scenery every time he is on screen.“Tha SHIT!” That outburst will make sense once you have seen the film, so hold your laughter accordingly.
This is an anthology movie broken into four stories, with a major plot line that ties them all together. It is best described as Rod Sterling and the Crypt Keeper road tripping to the Twilight Zone, but taking a detour to Roscoe’s House of and Chicken and Waffles. Intrigued yet? Here is a bare bones, spoiler free synopsis of what to expect.
The film opens with Stack (Joe Torry), Ball (De’aundre Bonds), and Bulldog (Michael Masses) attempting to buy drugs from funeral home owner/director Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III). Of course, nothing is what it seems, and Mr. Simms tells these unlucky friends that he stashed the drugs throughout his mortuary in a brilliant plot device that enables the director to tell all four stories in a way that makes sense and is not distracting.
Casket one contains the body of recently deceased cop “Clearance,” in a story titled “Rouge Cop Revelation.” This story may not be as relevant to younger viewers due to its early 90’s influenced theme of police brutality with a zombie twist. Once this story concludes, Mr. Simms tells a story about a boy named Walter, starring David Alan Grier, titled “Boys Do Get Bruised.” This one will definitely stay with you and make you see him in another light. Next is an equally rare and serious, but effective turn for actor Corbin Bernsen in “KKK Compeuppance.” This is by far the oddest of the stories, but it fits right in with the overall theme of the film. The last story, “Hard-core Convert,” is considered by most to be the weakest of the bunch, but after multiple viewings, it has grown on me considerably. Plus, this story is integral to the overall plot of the film. Because of this, I will end my review here.
My Christmas wish this year is for Scream Factory to buy the rights to this film and finally give us fans a proper Blu-ray release. Until then, with Halloween on the way, I recommend everyone check their local used DVD spots and swap-meets to track down this film. I am currently bidding on a copy of it on eBay, and it is currently at $40. If it goes any higher, I will just have to skip a couple meals, but it will be worth it because this is by far one my favorite guilty pleasures of cinema. Still not convinced? Then I leave you with this quote: “Don’t worry, you’ll get the shit. You’ll be knee-deep in the shit.” Thank you.
Article by contributor Moan4Stallone.
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