Movie Review – 7 Thoughts About 3 from Hell

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR LIONSGATE’S NEW FILM 3 FROM HELL

I am a massive fan of pretty much everything Rob Zombie does.

That’s not to say that I think every movie, comic book, and album he has produced is perfect. Far from it. But I love his style and his ability to make even the most bizarre concepts seem somehow mainstream. The man is a pop culture icon; there’s no denying that.

Among all of Zombie’s creations, the Firefly family of House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects are particularly special to me. Not because they’re aspirational or admirable characters – they absolutely are not. They’re awful, nightmarish people. But there’s something compelling to me about these people and their relationships to one another, as well as the world that Zombie has built around them.

I saw House of 1000 Corpses in the theater on opening night. I had been following its troubled production for years at that point and didn’t really believe it would ever be released. I’ll always have a soft spot for Lionsgate just for making that happen.

The film blew me away with its over-the-top style and outrageousness, and my respect for Zombie increased due to his willingness to do seemingly anything, and damn the system.

While I enjoyed the heck out of House, I can’t say that I expected a masterpiece as a follow-up. At best I thought The Devil’s Rejects would be another ninety minutes of schlocky, gory music video. I was so very wrong.

The 2005 sequel was a fantastically shot, brutal piece of despair. With not a single virtuous character to be found, the movie relied on style and grisly action to keep the viewer engaged. For me, it succeeded. The Devil’s Rejects is one of my favorite movies and Bill Moseley’s Otis Driftwood is one of my favorite villains. I’ve dressed up as him on multiple occasions and we named our first dog after him back in 2006.

Since the release of that film Zombie has experimented with a range of other subjects. From his vision of Michael Myers to the psychedelic witchcraft of Lords of Salem to a Ralph Bakshi-esque animated feature, Zombie has dabbled in many corners of genre film. Some I’ve loved and some I haven’t, but Zombie’s name always guarantees a compelling watch.

After fourteen years away from the Firefly family I had no idea what their creator might have in mind or if he even still had the same gusto that made them so compelling in the first place. In my personal experience getting older means getting gentler, but a toned-down Otis, Baby, and Captain Spaulding simply would not work. As such, I went into 3 from Hell full of uncertainty. Beyond the characters, would Zombie even be able to harness the brutal energy of the previous films? Did he still have it in him to create that relentless tone?

3 from Hell was released as a limited theatrical experience via Fathom Events. As soon as tickets went on sale I ordered for the first night, despite the fact that I had to work the next day. Nothing less than an opening night viewing would be good enough for me, and there was no way I was missing the third entry in this series on the big screen after experiencing the first two that way.

Do Zombie and the cast still have what it takes? Was this a worthy follow-up or should the Firefly family have stayed as dead as the conclusion of The Devil’s Rejects suggested? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 7 Thoughts About 3 from Hell”