American Nightmares DVD Review (Moonstone Entertainment / Patriot Films)
American Nightmares (aKa Tales from the Hood 3, Tales from the Crib, & Mr. Malevolent) is a 2018 horror anthology from the creators of the Tales from the Hood franchise Rusty Cundieff (Tales from the Hood 1/2, Sprung, Chappelle’s Show, & Fear of a Black Hat) & Darin Scott (Caught Up, Dark House, Tales from the Hood 2, & Deep Blue Sea 2). It was written, produced, & directed by both of them. Mr. Malevolent (played by: Danny Trejo from Heat, Machete franchose, From Dusk Till Dawn franchise, & Death Race franchise) hacks into two shady computer nerds Stuart (played by: Jared Kusnitz from The Secret Life of the American Teenager) & Jamal’s (played by: Michael Felix from WRZ: White Racist Zombies) computers with the Mystic Woman (played by: Nichelle Nichols from Star Trek TV series/Films, Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man The Animated Series, & Heroes), they force them to watch 7 different tales that covers some of the worst outcomes in the world today. In “Mates”, Shanicka (played by: Tamala Jones from Castle, Next Friday, Blue Streak, & Booty Call) is looking for love in all the wrong places especially with Reggie (played by: Giovanni Watson from Canal Street & Love Triangle). She randomly gets sent a free trial for a dating site called Perfect Mates & ends up meeting Jaylon (played by: Jason Olive from For Better or Worse & The Comeback) from there. They immediately connect & end up hooking up that night but it’s not what she expected & soon after Reggie finds out so it becomes a dangerous love triangle.
In “The Prosecutor”, ambitious Texas prosecutor Raymond (played by: Jay Mohr from Suicide Kings, Cherry Falls, GO, & Jerry Maguire) gets Floyd Johnson (played by: Eddie Steeples from My Name is Earl, The Lost, Would You Rather, & Torque) convicted for multiple murders after a powerful speech in court. Raymond announces his run for Governor after winning the case with TV host Chris Fury (played by: Vivica A. Fox from Kill Bill, Batman & Robin, Independence Day 1/2, & Set It Off). A witness comes forward to him saying she picked the wrong man & Floyd was innocent. Already in too deep for his campaign, Raymond blackmails her & covers it up, the wanna be politician lets the power go to his head. At dinner on the night of the execution, his family gets an unexpected visitor & all hell breaks loose. Karma is looking to pay back Raymond, can he escape his fate? In “White Flight”, disgraced racist ex-cop Tommy Deuchet (played by: Brendan Sexton III from Boys Don’t Cry, The Killing, Empire Records, & Session 9) doesn’t like anyone that’s not white & treats everyone else like trash. He gets a time machine delivered to him. He transports his family to a time where you didn’t have worry about race besides being white. His dream journey quickly turns into a living nightmare with nothing but regret.
In “The Samaritan”, Mr. Preevy (played by: Chris Kattan from SNL, A Night at the Roxbury, House on Haunted Hill, & The Middle) is a very sick man that orders a date with escort Angel (played by: Molly Pan from Carmilla) from pimp Borris (played by: Mark Christopher Lawrence from Chuck, Halloween II, Circus Kane, & Cooties). He has a fetish for clowns, they try to take advantage of his weakness by charging more but they just bought themselves an evening in hell with this weirdo. Money can’t buy everything that includes your life! In “Hate Radio”, over-opinionated & infamous DJ Hugh Bluff (played by: Jimmy Shubert from The King of Queens) continues to offend most of his community with his controversial show. A serial killer named The Chopper is terrorizing his city. This radio personality has more enemies than fans especially women but he is always appreciated by dedicated listener Felix (played by: James Duval from Donnie Darko, Gone in 60 Seconds, May, & SLC Punk!). When he becomes more feminine after a strange gift, he ends up kidnapped by the chopper. The psychopath seems very familiar but he doesn’t resemble his former self so it will be hard to talk his way out of this chaotic situation!
In “The Healer”, religious con man Bishop Love (played by: Barry Shabaka Henley from Collateral, Miami Vice, Lord of Illusions, & Rush Hour) convinces everyone that he can heal them & fix their problems. Many donate & give their life savings to help the cause. Roscoe (played by: Clarence Williams III from Tales from the Hood, Half Baked, American Gangster, & Sugar Hill) is a believer that lost everything including his daughter because of Love’s false prophecy. He tracks down the fake & makes his lies real. Bishop Love now can heal others but at what cost to him? In “Thy Will Be Done”, a young woman named Gina (played by: Ella Arro from The Last Ship) is pregnant after being attacked & raped. She wants to have an abortion after the tragedy but she is stopped by William (played by: Noel Gugliemi from The Fast and the Furious, Training Day, Crank, & Street Kings), Leanne (played by: Melissa Hayden from Guiding Light & General Hospital), & Saul (played by: Galen Howard from Smosh Babies & Galen). They kidnap her & force the young woman to have her baby. It turns out to be their biggest mistake ever, what was really inside her????
This is just pure speculation but I think American Nightmares might have been pitched to current Tales from the Hood rights owner Universal & they weren’t interested at the time so the creators went to different production companies to put this together. This doesn’t come close to the original Tales from the Hood but it’s much better than it’s actual sequel (I reviewed it on TodaysHaul.net). This is basically the unofficial Tales from the Hood 3. Rusty Cundieff & Darin Scott are veterans when it comes to the horror anthology & this is a huge step above compared to their last project. They went out & got a good cast for this featuring many familiar faces. Plus it had cameos from Nick Principe (Laid to Rest, Chromeskull, Collar, & Tales of Halloween) & Duane Whitaker (Pulp Fiction, Feast, Tales from the Hood, & The Devil’s Rejects). Danny Trejo chews the scenery in American Nightmares, he has a blast as the host Mr. Malevolent.
Chris Kattan gives the best performance in his career & he plays a great villain to my surprise. The other standout supporting roles were Jay Mohr, Barry Shabaka Henley, James Duval, & Clarence Williams III. Clarence Williams III? Yes, you read that right. This probably leaves you scratching your head like me & asking yourself “Why was he not in Tales in the Hood 2 as Mr. Simms?” The biggest problem American Nightmares faces is it’s very low budget & it definitely shows at times especially with the visual effects. I thought the special effects were actually real solid especially what they had to work with. Like every horror anthology, it has it’s strong segments & it’s weak moments but overall it was way better than expected. My personal favorite tales were “The Samaritan”, “The Prosecutor”, & “The Healer”. A few of them could have easily been turned into a full length feature. There’s no special features on the disc besides “Trailers” for various MVD releases. This was very entertaining & I had lots of fun with it, RECOMMENDED!!!!