Directed by Rusty Cundieff [Other horror films: Tales from the Hood (1995), Mr. Malevolent (2018), Tales from the Hood 3 (2020)] & Darin Scott [Other horror films: Dark House (2009), American Horror House (2012), Something Wicked (2014), Deep Blue Sea 2 (2018), Mr. Malevolent (2018), Tales from the Hood 3 (2020)]
I rather liked the first Tales from the Hood, and in fact, I think it’s probably one of the best horror anthologies of the 1990’s (in truth, competition isn’t that strong). This, though, is rather laughable, and has almost no redeeming attributes. At almost an hour and 50 minutes long, with a pitiful framing sequence, this is just hard to get through.
Comprising of four stories (‘Good Golly’, ‘The Medium’, ‘Date Night’, and ‘The Sacrifice’) and the aforementioned atrocious framing (‘Robo Hell’), only one of these is possibly worth watching, being ‘The Sacrifice’ which is easily the most political and also most reminiscence of the first movie (taking an element or two from ‘KKK Comeuppance’). It’s a bit heavy-handed, what with a black Republican being forced to change his ways by the ghosts of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Chanay, Goodman, Schwerner, and, of course, Martin Luther King Jr., but at least it was somewhat interesting, especially with the brief alternate history had those listed not made the sacrifices for the Civil Rights movement they had.
I’m not saying ‘The Sacrifice’ is great, but it is leagues above anything else in this movie. ‘Good Golly’ honestly started out fine, but really quickly went down an utterly idiotic and regrettable route. ‘The Medium’ was entirely generic, and ‘Date Night’ was actively bad.
As a matter of fact, not only was ‘Date Night’ bad (though not near as poor as ‘Good Golly’), it had, what seemed to be, a rather glaring error in it. Two men drug some women with the intent to rape them, and of course, they plan to record it. However, when looking through the viewfinder, they can’t see the women – they’re vampires. All fine so far, but then the women make a video for the men, and – – – the women appear just fine on camera now?
Yeah, it didn’t make any sense. It didn’t make the story worse, as it was already terribly generic, but it was beyond pathetic, which can be said of ‘Robo Hell’, the framing story, in which a racist law-and-order guy wants a story-teller to tell stories to a Robocop-esque robot, so it can properly track down ‘criminals’ and take them out. It’s very fascist, very obviously wrong (I despise conservatives and what they stand for, but very few are as obviously terrible as this guy is), and when the ending comes, it would amaze me if anyone was surprised.
I’m not going to bother about harping on the performances. Some people were fine, such as Lou Beatty Jr.. Others were somewhat pathetic, such as Alexandria DeBerry and Bill Martin Williams. Keith David was no Clarence Williams III. The problem here wasn’t the performances, though, as bad as some of them were – it was the piss-poor stories.
And it’s not like they didn’t have potential. It’s pretty clear from the final product that they had some money and the ability to get some really good camerawork here. I mean, you can’t tell from the opening graphics (which looked utterly terrible, and I can’t even begin to describe how much it made me laugh), and the fact that they briefly showed House on Haunted Hill (public domain for the win, right?) in one of the segments, which never bodes well, but the movie wasn’t near as cheap as other poor horror films.
Which is the most damning thing of all. I’m not going to say this was as bad as Late Fee, which is probably one of the worst anthology horror movies I’ve seen. I will say, though, that it’s a worse movie than Slices, because at least Slices was dealing with a next-to-nothing budget, and it showed. Here, there was clearly a crisp and solid-looking production. It suffered, though, due to the terribly shitty stories, and overall, this just feels like a mockery of the first Tales from the Hood as opposed to a good-faith continuation, which, given the director of the original also worked with this one, is just amazing.