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If you are in the mood for a good old-fashioned scare fest, told with a modern spin, then check out TALES FROM THE HOOD ($25). The best way to describe TALES FROM THE HOOD is as BOYS IN THE HOOD meets TALES FROM THE CRYPT. This anthology style movie takes one back to the days of the Amicus productions that were based upon the gory cult TALES FROM THE CRYPT and VAULT OF HORROR comics. Instead of a Crypt Keeper TALES FROM THE HOOD features a more ethnic Mr. Simms, a mortician who describes to three gang members how his latest clients met their fates. Clarence Williams III is an absolute scream as Mr. Simms; his over-the-top performance alone is worth the price of admission.

TALES FROM THE HOOD features four stories, plus a wrap around tale that punctuates the proceedings nicely. Spike Lee served as the film's executive producer, and the casting would lead one to believe that the film's target audience is African American, yet I found myself enjoying the scary tales as much as anyone else would. I guess horror is a universal thing that has no racial barriers. The cast of TALES FROM THE HOOD features Joe Torry, De'aundre Bonds, Samuel Monroe Jr., Wings Hauser, Tom Wright, David Alan Grier, Rusty Cundieff, Corbin Bernsen and Rosalind Cash.

HBO Home Video has made TALES FROM THE HOOD available on DVD in a respectable looking Letterboxed transfer that does not contain the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. TALES FROM THE HOOD is presented at approximately 1.85:1 and the framing appears balanced without any appreciable loss at the edges of the screen. Everything appears relatively sharp and detailed, although image quality is only average. Color reproduction too is about average. TALES FROM THE HOOD is a very dark film that has had some difficulty being compressed into MPEG-2. Artifacts were noticeable in a number of very dark sequences, however anything well lit appeared fine.

The soundtrack is two-channel Dolby Digital, which decodes to standard Dolby Surround. This matrixed soundtrack has a few directional effects, but provides more atmosphere for the film than anything else. Dialogue reproduction was clean, and the rap music on the soundtrack was sufficiently loud. A monaural Spanish language track is also available on the DVD. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus feature animation and sound, plus offer access to a "making of" featurette, a theatrical trailer, seven TV spots and cast biographies/filmographies.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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