I was browsing through today's new DVD releases for inspiration for a Cinematical Seven when the heavens above aligned. I didn't actually see the beauty to my right upon first glance. It took a second, more thorough scan of the offerings for me to glimpse it and in retrospect I'm not sure if I spotted it or if a divine ray of sunshine glinted off my watch, illuminating its glory for me to be hold. Once I did, though, I knew it was love at first sight: Mutant Vampire Zombies From the 'Hood! It was destiny.

See, unlike the old saying, I do judge a book by its cover/title. A title like Mutant Vampire Zombies From the 'Hood! may as well exist for no one else but I. Every word in the title feeds deliciously off the one next to it. We're not just talking about zombies, we're talking about vampire zombies. That are mutants. From the 'hood. Exclamation point!

It's genius, I tells ya' (and I haven't even mentioned that it was directed by someone whose first name is Thunder or that it stars none other than C. Thomas Howell). But it's hardly the first "From the Hood" film to grab me with its title alone. No, MVZFTH! is just the latest ancestor in a royal line of films with absurd titles intended to lure people into the hood. I may not have seen all seven of the beauties below, but I love them all the same (that's the problem with obsessions).
In order of descending hilarity:

7. Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror
Alright, while most of the films on this list are assuredly one-note, Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror gains an upper hand with me because not only does it have a great title, but it's also an anthology horror film. And ya' know what? It's actually not all that bad, either (it's at least not the worst horror movie Snoop Dogg has ever been in). Okay, it's a watered down Gin and Juice'd downed version of Tales From the Hood, but it's actually surprisingly well made and has a pretty fun cast to boot (I'll watch anything with Lin Shaye in it, Boat Trip included).

6. Hood of the Dead
Dreadful cover art aside, The Quiroz brother's Hood of the Dead has the added benefit of invoking the greatest zombie franchise of all time (even if Romero's last few Of the Deads have been lackluster, the original holy triumvirate more than make up for them). Plus, it's one of the few titles on this list that actually takes itself seriously. Oh, there are certainly plenty of laughs to be had at Hood of the Dead's expense, but it tries its best to be an earnest horror movie about an almost-out-of-the-projects guy who sticks around to re-animate his brother after he's killed in a drive-by shooting. Once his brother is revealed to be a blood-thirsty ghoul, though, he has to struggle with losing him once again. And by struggle I mean team up with some gang bangers to put down the zombie uprising.

Warning, trailer is NSFW:

5. Once Upon a Time in the Hood
I haven't actually seen Once Upon a Time in the Hood, though that's not much of a surprise given that it's only one of two non-horror movies on the list. And from what I've briefly read about it, it's actually supposed to be a decent, low-budget action flick about gang wars in Chicago. There is one reason and one reason alone that it's on this list and it has everything to do with a strange cognitive association only my brain would make. Whenever I look at the title I think of Once Upon a Time in the West, which is natural. However, for reasons I either know not or have deeply repressed, I instantly associate that title with How the West Was Fun. So in my brain I just assume that Once Upon a Time in the Hood stars the Olsen twins, which is a vision that will always put a smile on my face.

Yes, I am strange.

4. Leprechaun in the Hood
I tell ya, I give the Leprechaun series a ton of credit for at least trying to bring their evil little Irish midget to new locales, but it is impossible to take this film seriously. That wouldn't really be much of a complaint if Leprechaun in the Hood managed to do comedy/horror right. The filmmakers simply looked at the lesser legacy of Freddy Krueger and decided that a killing jester was what people wanted to see. And apparently the only location less absurd than space they could think of (yes, In the Hood came after the little green bastard spent a film on a spaceship) was the hood.

3. Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood
There are a number of reasons this movie does my head in in the most wonderful of ways, but I think my favorite has to be that the title implies the Leprechaun (miraculously still played by Warwick Davis at this point) actually left "tha Hood" at some point. Where'd he go? Back 2 Space?.

Bonus absurdity: He does smoke from a bong in this movie, which I believe is a franchise first. Six parts in and they're still innovating! Warning: Trailer is NSFW:

2. Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood
True story: I found a way to work in the title Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood into every single paper I wrote in my second year of Spanish. We didn't have to translate film or book titles at that point, so I thought I was a genius for coming up with a fourteen-word title to use. Fortunately my Spanish teacher had a good sense of humor and liked movies (though it was awkward when I bumped into him the opening night of House of 1,000 Corpses). Pointless story aside, I actually love this movie. I think it's the last thing the Wayans brothers were involved with that was actually funny and it's the only legitimately good movie on this list.

1. Frankenhood
I will consider my life a sham until I finally see Frankenhood, a film about two morgue workers who re-animate a huge dude to play on their team in a streetball tournament. The only thing better than the title is the fact that someone at IMDb called it "Weekend at Bernie's meets Hoop Dreams". And the only thing funnier than that is the cover art and tag line: Their M.V.P. is R.I.P. Genius. I can't wait until the next movie night at my house comes around and I subject a crowd full of people to Frankenhood.
categories Cinematical