Release Date: November 3, 2006
The roots of mainstream horror date back to black and white television sets bringing a large audience shows like The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Twilight Zone – morality plays which set normal people in outrageous situations to teach a lesson. This concept got updated in the late 80’s with Tales from the Crypt, an amazing little bit of TV history that appealed to a much younger audience. Now, a full decade after it went off the air, it’s bling-encrusted film counterpart has finally arrived with Snoop Dogg taking on the role as (and this is from their advertising) the “CribKeeper”. If you thought that was cheesy, you should see the movie. And I mean that rhetorically, not as an actual suggestion.
Hood of Horror is actually three short films held together by the Hound of Hell (Snoop Dogg) and his poignant introductions and clever comments. The first follows Posie (Daniella Alonso), a girl sworn to avenge the death of her mother by local thugs. Her ghoulish guide (Danny Trejo) luckily gives her supernatural powers with which to defeat her enemies. The second tale is of the walking stereotype Tex (Anson Mount) who must spend a year in a house with four black veterans in order to inherit his father’s oil riches. He treats the previous occupants like dirt, and once again, revenge plummets from the sky in the form of Roscoe (Enrie Hudson). Roscoe leads the others in killing Tex and his wife (Brande Roderick) in mostly unspeakable/unwritable ways. Last, and probably least entertaining, is the tale of a rapper (Lin Shaye) whose past catches up with him. Could…revenge…be just around the corner for him?
In all blunt, bright-light-in-the-eyes seriousness, this movie is terrible. There are two ways to watch this film, and both paths lead the audience to disappointment. One is to think of it as a true movie – the bad acting, boring camera work and cheesy dialogue sinks it. The other is to think of it as a comedy gore fest – the average amount of blood, only one inventive death and limited number of over-the-top moments keeps it from entertaining. Basically, it’s a movie stuck in the middle, trying to figure out if it’s a decent film or a mindless excuse for more blood splattering.
What’s even more frustrating about the movie is this: how hard is it to make a mindless gore-a-thon? Not very, if you were wondering. Cheesy dialogue? Check. Bad acting? Check. Zero budget? Ding ding ding! Hood of Horror should have been a two hour carnival ride of blood, guts and unnecessary one-liners, but somewhere along the way, it thought it could go legit, which is sad because if it had kept on track, it could be a seriously guilty pleasure.
Foundationally, nothing makes sense, and the movie suffers because it’s all about revenge. Unlike Twilight Zone or even it’s closer counterpart Tales from the Crypt, Hood of Horror lacks any sense of depth. Those shows were fun, interesting, bloody, but they always kept you thinking while wading through the bad acting. (True fans of the Twilight Zone will scoff at this comment, but William Shatner was in, like, six episodes so I rest my acting case.) Hood of Horror offers a mish-mash of sensibilities – never giving a good reason to follow its revenge logic. Perhaps the worst example of this is in the second tale, where racism underlines almost every action, yet the writing uses racism (or at least nth degree stereotyping) to create it’s main character.
Leading up to the screening, I kept hearing everyone talk about this movie – particularly one scene where a man’s mortal coil is shuffled off via a 40oz bottle that slams through the back of his throat and busts through the back of his skull, spewing blood and brain matter everywhere. After I watching Hood of Horror I realized why everyone couldn’t stop talking about this moment – it’s intensely cool, and it’s the only thing in the movie worth talking about.
The Upside: One inventive death: Forty Bottle through the head. Okay, and the first tale is actually pretty decent.
The Downside: The other hour of film.
On the Side: Danny Trejo (Desperado, From Dusk Til Dawn) plays a former thug. Trejo, now a beloved character actor, spent time in prison.
On a Personal Note: This movie could have been amazing. Snoop Dogg as ghoulish host is a great concept, but if there’s a next time, stick to the basics of gore. Every conversation/plot point is short and only acts as another reason to show a ridiculously bloody death.
Final Grade: F
Related Topics: Austin