3 From Hell is the final installment in the famed Firefly Family trilogy. At last, the return of The Devil’s Rejects themselves. The film takes place a decade after the gang’s shootout with law enforcement. 3 From Hell (trailer here) opens with our sinister siblings Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie) and Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) separated from Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) and each other.
The ending of The Devil’s Rejects seemed fitting and has led to a lot of questions by fans if the latest addition is a necessary one. Well, in the words of the late-great Dodgeball (2004) legend Patches O’Houlihan: “Is it necessary that I drink my own urine? No, but I do it anyway because it’s sterile and I like the taste.“
It should come as no surprise that yet another Rob Zombie film has caused a split within the horror community. House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects have amassed a cult following since their initial release and The Devil’s Rejects even managed to win over quite a few mainstream critics.
Full disclosure: I’m a card-carrying member of the Zombie cult. I’m not here to argue that there aren’t issues with 3 From Hell. Does the story seem to lack at times? Oh, yeah. Are some of the scenes a bit out of place? You betcha. Is the movie necessary? Maybe not. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a good time with familiar faces. And that’s okay for me. Allow me to explain why.
I’ve always felt the first two films were carried by character. The raw, calculated insanity displayed by Bill Moseley as Driftwood. Sherri Moon Zombie’s performance as Baby has earned her a spot among the icons of horror. And the late Sid Haig shined as everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed clown, Captain Spaulding.
The stories weren’t perfect, but that’s not what we cared about. That’s not what mattered. Zombie has stated publicly how the pitch for the first movie came about and the all ensuing shenanigans with Universal. As horror fans, we have an innate ability to recognize when we are witnessing greatness within our genre. Otis, Baby, and Captain Spaulding, as characters, stand alone and their impact on the genre speaks for itself.
Which brings me to an eerie intersection that also contains a spoiler that occurs within the first few minutes of the film. We are all aware and deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Sid Haig. Recently, Zombie has come forward in interviews explaining how the complications with Sid Haig’s health forced him to rewrite the movie.
Spaulding is executed fairly early in 3 From Hell. I have to admit, watching it so close to the actor’s passing is surreal. Otis and Baby share a moment of reflection on Spauldings death in the film, showing their humanity, if only for a moment. You can almost feel the emotion from Moseley and Zombie pulsating from the screen.
Richard Brake had some very large shoes to fill. Clown shoes, that is. And he does a masterful job. The Wolf-man is the half-brother of Baby and Otis (who is really “adopted”) and equally as imposing and maniacally amusing. Unfortunate real-life circumstances certainly altered the course of this film. Brake, Moseley, and Zombie still shoulder the load. Ultimately it’s another Rob Zombie movie. You’re a horror fan. You know what that means.
These characters are refreshing. In a genre where the majority of the monsters are masked maniacs and hidden killers cloaked in darkness. As such, it’s nice when good old-fashioned humanity comes knocking. Cold, unforgiving, and familiar. The face of true fear is a face we all share.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the film as an ode to one of horror’s iconic families. Perhaps an unnecessary one to some. But not to me. I’ll take another trilogy of Baby, Otis, and Winslow. Give me all the sickening soliloquies of Otis Driftwood. The crazed cries of Baby, and the howls of the Midnight Wolf-man. I’ll laugh and quote their off color dialogue any chance I get.
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Director: Rob Zombie
Writer: Rob Zombie
Stars: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Richard Brake, Sid Haig, Jeff Daniel Phillips
Release: October15th Blu-Ray/DVD
Studio/ Production Co: Lionsgate