Tales from the Hood: Spike Lee’s Anthology of Horror – Amazon Review / 13 Reviews of Halloween

The director of most of Chappelle’s Show brings us five tales of terror.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Three drug dealers, Stack (Joe Torry), Ball (De’Aundre Bonds), and Bulldog (Samuel Monroe, Jr.), arrive at a funeral home run by Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III) to purchase some drugs. As they head to where he stores the drugs, Mr. Simms relays four stories to them.

Trust this guy with your dead bodies.

“Rogue Cop Revelation” concerns a young black police officer named Clarence (Anthony Griffith) whose partner Newton (Michael Massee) pulls over a city councilman (Tom Wright) who has been trying to eliminate police corruption. Smith watches as Newton is joined by two other officers (Duane Whitaker and Wings Hauser) mercilessly beat the man up, then murder him after framing him for drug addiction. However, it turns out that the blue line is no match for the revenge of the dead.

That policeman sure was brutal. Good thing it’s fiction.

“Boys Do Get Bruised” is the tale of Walter Johnson (Brandon Hammond), a young boy who shows up to school with a black eye. His teacher, Mr. Garvy (Director Rusty Cundieff), asks about it and Walter says he was attacked by a monster. Later that night, Mr. Garvy visit’s Walter’s home, where his mother, Sissy (Paula Jai Parker), says that Walter is just clumsy. However, it soon becomes apparent that there is a monster living there when Sissy’s boyfriend Carl (David Alan Grier) shows up, but Walter finds out he has the power to deal with it.

David Alan Grier is surprisingly effective as an abuser.

“KKK Comeuppance” features Duke Metger (Corbin Bernsen), a former Klansman who is now a senator in the South. Rhodie (Roger Guenveur Smith), Metger’s image consultant, agrees to film a campaign commercial at Metger’s office, which is a former plantation. They find a mural of a former voodoo witch who supposedly put the souls of tortured and murdered slaves in her dolls. Slowly, Metger starts to realize that the dolls are hunting him.

Stop motion has never been creepier.

“Hard-Core Convert” features Lamont Bentley as Jerome “Crazy K” Johns, a murderous psychopath. He murders a rival gang leader, whose associates show up to enact revenge. While Crazy K survives the killing, he is put in an experimental rehabilitation treatment under Dr. Cushing (Rosalind Cash), which might be worse than death.

The nipple electrodes are essential to the healing.


This movie is one of the best examples of a horror anthology out there. I would put it in the same class of films as Creepshow, V/H/S, and Trick ‘r Treat, all of which combine great stylistic filming with creative horror stories. This movie was mostly the product of Rusty Cundieff, one of the few directors of Chappelle’s Show. The same kind of deep character-driven comedy that populated that show permeates this film, but it’s combined with some solid horror tropes and, most importantly, some strong social commentary. Unsurprisingly for a Spike Lee production, this film focuses largely on themes that affect African-Americans. I wish I could say the themes are no longer relevant, but, honestly, if you made this movie in 2020, the only thing that would shock everyone is the lack of cell phones.

Racists hiding behind the flag. Wow, fiction is wild.

While the stories are each very concise and powerful, the wrap-around segment contains an absolutely unforgettable performance by Clarence Williams III. If you’re older, you probably remember him as “Linc” from The Mod Squad or as Philby in the Mystery Woman series, and if you’re my age you probably remember him from Half Baked as drug kingpin Samson Simpson, but I will always remember him for his performance in this film as Mr. Simms. Sadly, he declined to reprise the role in either of the sequels (although he was replaced by the amazing Keith David and Tony Todd), but few people will ever forget his absolutely wild delivery, particularly of him riffing about “the shit” that the three dealers keep asking for.

This man is a f*cking legend.

I originally picked this film because it was supposed to be on Hulu, but unfortunately it’s not, unless you have Starz. I will say, it’s worth the rental on Amazon, particularly if you’re looking for a fun movie that still celebrates the Halloween season.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Psych 2: Lassie Come Home: Everything I Wanted – Peacock Review

I’m having trouble typing through tears of joy.


Shawn Spencer (James Roday) is a hyper-observant investigator who uses his skills to pretend to be a psychic detective along with his best friend Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill). The two worked in Santa Barbara, California, alongside the Santa Barbara Police Department under Chief Karen Vick (Kirsten Nelson). The two regularly pair with Det. Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) and Shawn’s now-wife Juliet “Jules” O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), and seek help from Shawn’s retired detective father Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen). It’s been 6 years since most of the cast moved to San Francisco when the show ended and Lassie has been the Chief of Police in Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, Lassie recently was shot and had a stroke during the operation to save his life, resulting in him being confined to a wheelchair with memory loss. It’s up to the Psych team to figure out who shot Lassie. Guests include Sarah Chalke as Lassie’s Nurse, Joel McHale as Lassie’s father, Richard Schiff as Lassie’s doctor, and Kurt Fuller, Jimmi Simpson, Sage Brocklebank, and Jazmyn Simon reprising their roles as Woody Strode, Mary Lightly, Buzz McNab, and Selene. 

Lassie hasn’t come home yet in this picture.


So, to truly appreciate this film, you not only need to have seen the show Psych, but also to know that Timothy Omundson had a major stroke in real life 3 years ago right before they filmed the first Psych movie. As a result, he was only in a small cameo via video in the film. His recovery has been hard, but honestly pretty inspiring. I don’t know the full extent of his mobility, particularly in his left arm, but I suppose it would have been necessary to address it somehow in the film. It surprised me, though, that this movie directly incorporated the stroke, albeit here from surgery, into Lassiter’s character. However, it worked amazingly. I’ve always loved Psych, so I admit that my opinion on this film might be a little biased, but having Lassie going through such a deeply personal journey enhanced almost everything about this film, even compared to the first movie. 

Lassie deserves all of the jell-o he wants.

The highlight of the show Psych, from the pilot on, was less the detective work of Shawn or the police, but more the interplay between Shawn and Gus. James Roday and Dulé Hill have such a wonderful natural chemistry that it makes almost any conversation between the two amusing. The friendship between Shawn and Gus is among the most believable on film, despite the fact that they are almost complete opposites in personality. This movie doesn’t mess with that formula, which is the right call, particularly since it’s been 3 years since we last saw them. 

They’re a couple of wild and crazy guys.

The main story is more compelling than usual, though, because it involves finding the person who hurt Lassie. Since the stakes seem higher, it has an added level of gravitas, even though the mystery is solved in the usual Psych style; which is to say a number of goofy scenes that slowly come together based around a number of coincidences and independent investigations somehow filling in the gaps. The film makes sure that the audience never forgets the center of the movie by having multiple scenes of Lassie questioning what his life means now that he might be physically and mentally reduced from what he was.  Given that Omundson himself was likely dealing with those same thoughts, the performance is incredibly natural and powerful. I don’t want to spoil it, but the last scene with him in the film did legitimately reduce me to tears. 

This man is a damned treasure.

Overall, this was a solid movie if you’re a fan of the Psych franchise. The creators have said they want to make 5 films, and right now that almost seems like too few.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.