Because the ho and bitch quotient on this website has been lacking recently…it’s Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror! This is Snoop’s third foray into horror (not counting Soul Plane), and it might actually be his best, ranking somewhere in the neighbor”hood” of Bones in overall quality. Despite a campy poster, the production value is surprisingly high, including a great cast, spectacularly gruesome special effects, strong direction (from a white woman, no less — Stacy Title, who helmed the great dark comedy The Last Supper) and an impressive anime prelude that explains the story behind Devon (Snoop), a gangsta who accidentally shoots his little sister and makes a deal with the Devil to bring her back to life in exchange for his life. He’s then forced to serve Satan as some sort of gatekeeper to whom souls of people looking for redemption come — but first, they must listen to his stories, because…well, otherwise we wouldn’t have a movie. This is a horror anthology that will certainly be compared to Tales from the Hood — and rightly so — but Snoop, as dry as ever with his monotone weed-speak, is hardly the storyteller that Clarence Williams’ Mr. Simms character was.
The first tale, “Crossed Out”, features a Latina graffiti artist (Daniella Alonso) who acquires the ability to kill anyone whose “tag” she crosses out with her paint can. The plot resembles the Vault of Horror tale “Drawn and Quartered” with a touch of Final Destination, as the only real value is the anticipation of seeing what fate meets those who are “marked for death”. (The best is a 40-ounce malt liquor bottle impaling; perhaps not coincidentally, Billy Dee Williams has a cameo.)
The next story, “The Scumlord,” features a Texan good ol’ boy (Anson Mount) who must spend a year living in, as he puts it, a “ghetto rat trap with a bunch of colored folks” in order to get his father’s inheritance. The building in question was owned by Tex’s dad before he died (i.e., before Tex Jr. killed him) and houses some black ex-Army guys (including Ernie Hudson, Jr., Tucker Smallwood and Richard Gant) whom his dad used to command. Tex Jr. of course immediately begins to abuse his power over the “colored folks” — including Sydney Tamiia Poitier as nurse Wanda (“They call me MISS Wanda!”) — not realizing that it probably doesn’t take much to push Vietnam vets over the edge.
The third story, “Rhapsody Askew,” features an aspiring rapper, Sod (Pooch Hall), whose partner in rhyme, Quon (Aries Spears of Mad TV fame), dies during their rise to fame. As is customary in horror anthologies, though, he doesn’t stay dead and returns for…Parcheesi. Make that revenge.
The stories themselves could use some work — they’re generic revenge tales that lack any twists or, aside from “The Slumlord,” any viable humor — but they’re executed well, with strong acting, direction, and eye-popping, stomach-exploding, St. Ides-skewering gore that show off production values on par with many wide theatrical releases. Now, if only they could team it all with a rapper who can act: Will Smith’s Hood of Horror?