Director – Rob Zombie (House of 1000 Corpses, Lords of Salem)
Starring – Sheri Moon Zombie (Halloween, The Devil’s Rejects), Bill Mosely (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Night of the Living Dead), and Richard Brake (Doom, 31)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 3/5
Tagline – “The evil returns”
I became a hardcore horror fan when I was in middle and started seriously collecting horror movies when I was in high school. It was around this time that Rob Zombie released his first film House of 1000 Corpses. When the movie received a physical release I watched it so many times that I could quote almost every scene. After a few years I became sick of it and then Zombie released the sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. The film was far superior to the first installment and I just couldn’t get enough of it. Sadly, that film fell victim to my over-watching and I became sick of it too.
Years passed until this year when Umbrella Entertainment released both films on blu. I revisited them both and found that House of the 1000 Corpses was fun but did not age well. The Devil’s Rejects still held up but the CGI bullet wounds stood out more to me now than they did then. When Zombie announced a third film in the Firefly saga I was excited. I’ve liked his movies for the most part and I had high hopes for the film. The film, 3 From Hell, received a limited theatrical run and when news hit that a physical release was coming later this month I reached out to see if I could get a review copy.
**Spoiler Alert**The film picks up sometime after the events of the last film. Captain Spaulding, Baby, and Otis are apprehended after a lengthy gunfight and taken to prison. They are locked away for almost 10 years when Otis is broke out by his half brother Winslow Foxworth Coltrane (Richard Brake). They hold the warden and his family hostage until they get Baby out and flee to Mexico in hopes of hiding out until everyone forgets about them. However, that doesn’t happen. The hotel owner in Mexico recognizes the three and calls the son of Rondo who was killed by Otis when he was escaping prison. He arrives with his gang and the small Mexican town is turned into a war zone.**Spoiler Alert**
Rob Zombie is one of those few directors in the game that has serious hate and serious love from fans. Zombie has a huge fan base due to his musical career and these die-hard fans are blind by their love for him. They refuse to actually watch the film and see it for what it is. They always love the films just because Zombie directed it. The same can be said for those that hate Zombie. They have already dismissed his films for being horrible without actually seeing them. I’ve been a fan of Zombie’s and like all directors he is capable of making some serious duds. 3 From Hell was not a bad film but if Wal-Mart horror is a thing and then so is Wal-Mart Grindhouse Cinema and this is a part of it. Note, Wal-Mart horror is those generic horror flicks you can find at any big box store and the films are painfully mediocre.
The acting in this one is hit or miss. The legendary Sid Haig is only in the film for a few moments due to his health which makes this film extremely bitter sweet. It’s rather depressing seeing him on camera after his passing. Sheri Moon Zombie shined in the first two films but she was very underwhelming in this one. Bill Moseley returns as the legendary Otis and fucking slays in the role. His intensity is unrivaled. Joining them is Richard Brake who makes the film so much fun. His chaotic character is only matched by Otis’ intensity. The supporting cast is where the hit and miss comes in. Some of the characters are just as memorable as the Firefly family while others were extremely underwhelming and easily forgettable.
The story for this one ignores the ending of The Devil’s Rejects which is something I’m fine with. The movie had to be changed on the fly due to Haig’s health at the time of filming but I think Zombie did a fantastic job as throwing Brake is as a half brother. Sadly, it is all predictable. You know exactly where it’s going before you get there which does take some of the fun out of it. I like the new characters added especially Winslow Foxworth Coltrane. With that being said, I was not a fan of the direction Baby has taken. I know she is unpredictable and maniacal but she was straight up annoying in this one. The film has solid pacing and the comical elements did break up the slower scenes.
Finally, those of you looking for on screen deaths will find plenty here. We get some fantastic practical effects but Zombie once again gives the viewer some horrible CGI blood. The computer generated blood in some of the scenes is just horrible and stands out like a hooker in church. Overall, 3 From Hell gives the viewers another chapter in the Firefly story but this story is very middle of the road. The predictability does drag the film down but it still entertains. Check it out but don’t expect a life changing experience.