This is a fairly feeble attempt to create an old-fashioned horror anthology, in the manner of TALES FROM THE HOOD, featuring three short stories – set in the hood, naturally – linked together by rapper Snoop Dogg. Unfortunately, the film gets off to an extremely slow start with an animated sequence that sets up the mythology: a gang-banger is turned into an angel-or-demon, one among many who keep an eye out on those who take the wrong path in life. The animation consists mostly of static figures sitting in cars, with blurry backgrounds moving behind them to suggest speed, and the character design bears little if any resemblance to Snoop Dogg.
The stories are all pretty basic and predictable in the old “Tales from the Crypt” style: some character gets an opportunity, blows it big time, and pays the bloody price at the end. The first features a female graffiti artist who is bequeathed a magical power: when she crosses out the names of taggers with her spray can, they die horrible deaths; at the end, her victims turn the tables on her. In the second, a white racist is forced to move in with his late father’s black army buddies, in order to learn the errors of his ways; instead, he makes their lives miserable, and in the end they turn the tables on him. Finally, a young rapper on the rise wins fame, money and awards after arranging for the apparently random killing of his former partner, who comes back from the grave and turns the tables on him.
There’s a certain cartoony fun to these simple morality stories, but mostly they serve as an excuse for laughably lame gore. An obvious example is the liquor bottle through the head – a scene so incredible and unconvincing that it is little likely to give even timid viewers nightmares. They plots are also a bit repetitious (two of them feature characters who are revealed, in flashback, to have committed murders).
Snoop Dogg cuts an impressive figure as our guide to the hood, but he’s not a great actor, and his entourage (a couple of ‘hos with spooky contact lenses and/or fangs) looks like runners-up in an amateur Halloween costume contest. Fortunately, the supporting cast shoulders the acting burden well, with old pros like Ernie Hudson (GHOSTBUSTERS) and Jason Alexander (SEINFELD) breathing a little life into scenes here and there.
Needless to say, a Snoop Dogg rap is featured on the soundtrack. One would expect a music video to promote the film, but it is a bit surprising to see video tagged on to the end of the film itself: after the stories are over, you see a montage reprise of highlights, intercut with Snoop Dogg’s performance. It’s not bad, actually, and it might have served as a nice end credits sequence, but instead there is a return to the cut-rate animation that started the film – as there were not enough of that before the opening credits.
SNOOP DOG’S HOOD OF HORROR screened as part of the Screamfest horror film festival in Hollywood, which took place in October 2006. It was then scheduled to “preview” as part of the nationwide After Dark Horror festival in November, before a proposed theatrical release in the early part of 2007 (which turned out to be extremely limited).
SNOOP DOGG’S HOOD OF HORROR (2006). Directed by Stacy Title. Written by Jacob Hair, Chris Kobin. Jonathan McHugh, Tim Sullivan. Cast: Snoop Dogg, Ernie Hudson, Danny Trejo, Pooch Hall, Anson Mount, Daniella Alonso, Lin Shaye, Brande Roderick, Richard Grant, Jason Alexander, Billy Dee Williams