Clarence Williams III’s performance in Tales from the Hood is 12 minutes of total perfection. He plays host in this terrific horror anthology as a mortician named Mr. Simms, whose funeral home (SPOILER) is a rubber reality for purgatory and hell. Over the course of 98 spectacular minutes, Simms tells four tales to three drug-seeking gangsters named Stack, Bulldog, and Ball (played by Joe Torry, Samuel Monroe, Jr and De’Aundre Bonds), who have no idea what they’re in store for. Mr. Simms is a wild creation made even crazier by Williams III’s performance and serves a crucial role in the movie. Without his go-for-broke fun take on the devil, the movie might feel too preachy or depressing. Part of the brilliance of Tales from the Hood is that it balances its tones so deftly and Clarence Williams III is a major part of that.
recently on the podcast. I still believe everything I said about the sequel, but I don’t want to get lost how much I love Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott’s 1995 original and thank them for making a horror movie that’s been a touchstone for me for 23 years. Well done Mr. Cundieff, Mr. Scott, and especially you, Mr. Clarence Williams III. I’ll leave you for now with some random thoughts:
A) After watching the movie with Rob a couple of months ago, one of his buddies pointed out a detail I never noticed. Simms holsters his lit cigar upside down in his breast pocket before the final segment. It’s either a funny filmmaking mistake or a great, subtle piece of acting from Clarence Williams III. Is the fire pointing downward meant to tease that they’re about to go to hell?
B) Since each segment in Tales from the Hood is around 20 minutes, is Simms just walking these guys around from room to room very slowly?
C) For Simms diehards like myself, make sure to watch the “Vintage Featurette” on the Scream Factory Blu-ray special features. He narrates in character!!!
D) Clarence Williams III was asked if he liked being in the devil make-up and he said (in Clarence Williams III monotone): “I did not.”
3) “what What WHAT??!!!”
2) Anytime he says “The Shit”
1) “This ain’t no funeral home! It ain’t the Terror Dome, neither! Welcome to hell, motherfuckers!”