Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
We look at 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' in a brand new episode of Ink & Paint - and don't forget to subscribe to our podcast!x
review, 3 From Hell, 3, From, Hell, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Richard Brake, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Dee Wallace, Emilio Rivera, Richard Edson, Kevin Jackson, Pancho Moler, Steven Michael Quezada, Rob Zombie, Horror

3 FROM HELL

THEY SHOULD HAVE STAYED THERE

MONSTER FEST REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
30th October 2019

When people think of Rob Zombie’s films, they think of dead bodies, naked breasts, vulgarity and a retro 70s grindhouse vibe... and to do so sorely discounts Zombie’s skills as a filmmaker.

Zombie has a knack for horrifically beautiful compositions and a feel for atmosphere and character, letting quirks and background details suggest history and depth. He speaks the language of classic horror films, but when he emerged as a filmmaker his taste for the extreme put him at home in an era in which ‘Saw’ sequels had become institutions (note: we now live in the era of ‘The Conjuring’).

‘House of 1000 Corpses’ was Zombie finding his footing. Its sequel, ‘The Devil’s Rejects’, had plenty of virtues alongside the screams and viscera. Zombie’s 2007 remake of John Carpenter’s masterful ‘Halloween’ found him trying (largely successfully) to squeeze a distinctive vision into a box created by slasher-film expectations. Where Carpenter’s original left killer Michael Myers as mostly an unknowable mass of bloodlust (see: David Gordon Green’s recent... uh, reboot sequel ‘Halloween’), Zombie’s version delved uncomfortably into serial killer psychology. ‘Lords of Salem’, easily Zombie’s finest film, was an unsettling and frequently beautiful modern giallo.

His latest film, ‘3 From Hell’, is a sequel to ‘The Devil’s Rejects’. It opens in 1978 with a pseudo-documentary about the fate of killer clown Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig, ‘Bone Tomahawk’), Charles Manson aficionado Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Harley Quinn-ish “Baby” Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie) – the remnants of the murderous gang from ‘House of 1000 Corpses’ who survived being shot 20 times each (to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 'Free Bird') at the end of the previous film.

'3 FROM HELL' TRAILER

A documentary prologue covers the trial and the death sentences they receive, to be served out at Bain County Correctional, run by warden Virgil Dallas Harper (Jeff Daniel Philips, ‘Satanic Panic’). It also includes fake “testimonials” from people who seem to idolise the gang as outlaws (a la Oliver Stone’s ‘Natural Born Killers’), despite their mindless crime wave of murder and mutilation, and chant “Free the Three”. After a brief interview, Haig’s Captain Spaulding (arguably the beating heart of the series) is killed off-screen, executed via lethal injection.

Ten years later, Otis Driftwood escapes after being sent out on a chain gang along with his old enemy, Rondo (Danny Trejo, ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’). He is freed by his heretofore unmentioned half-brother, serial killer Winslow Foxworth "Foxy" Coltrane (Richard Brake, ‘Mandy’, ‘The Sisters Brothers’). The duo finds the warden’s house and takes his wife hostage as collateral to break Baby out of jail. There’s also an appearance by Clint Howard as a particularly unfunny clown calling himself “Mr Baggy Britches”, who has the misfortune of showing up at the door where the hostages are being held.

Even as someone who found the campy ‘House of 1000 Corpses’ to be watchable, and thinks ‘The Devils Rejects’ is a legitimately good movie, ‘3 From Hell’ is still a below-average film. Zombie does little more than play his greatest hits, running through them like lines on an anniversary tour setlist. That means freeze frames and copious amounts of sub-juvenile banter.

Zombie does little more than play his greatest hits, running through them like lines on an anniversary-tour set list. That means freeze frames and copious amounts of sub-juvenile banter.

At a guess, I’d say that Zombie’s original vision had to be rewritten and recast at the last minute, as Sid Haig passed away after filming just a few scenes. The new character that is introduced to fill the void feels like a third wheel (the other characters even acknowledge this) despite the talent of Richard Brake. Compared to those earlier entries in the series, it suffers dramatically due to the fact that so few of the original Firefly clan are left.

The only reason ‘3 From Hell’ isn’t as unwatchable as ‘31’, Zombie’s worst film, is because those remaining characters from the previous movies still have some magnetism. Sheri Moon has evolved into a good actor over the years and is particularly impressive here, playing an older, hardened version of her trailer-trash seductress. Richard Edson, as a pimp who sounds a lot like Fenster from ‘The Usual Suspects’, is also genuinely funny.

The last third of the movie sees the gang lay low in a Mexican village and engage in a massive shootout, like Sam Peckinpah’s ‘The Wild Bunch’. There’s a slow-motion action sequence played out to Iron Butterfly’s 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' just like the climax of Michael Mann’s ‘Manhunter’. There is even a machete duel straight out of Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Machete’ (another grindhouse series that ran out of creative juice). While he’s learned how to approximate the look and feel, the outsider-art griminess, of the cult classics he reveres, Zombie’s nods to superior filmmakers and good intentions don’t carry ‘3 From Hell’ as far as they should.

As with every Zombie film, there are solid ideas - Baby in prison being put through the gauntlet by a sadistic guard, a luchador-masked Mexican cartel coming after the crew, a trio of serial killers viewed as counterculture cowboys - but none of them are fully realised and thus fall flat. Bloodshed is filmed in queasy close-up, frequently rendering its close-quarters combat nearly incomprehensible, while the dialogue coasts on the repetition of the word “motherfucker”, with hardly any substance or memorable monologues.

Whether the ultimate failure of ‘3 From Hell’ lies in a troubled production or creative exhaustion on the part of Rob Zombie, this shambling revenant of a film is something that might only be appreciated by the most indiscriminate midnight-movie crowd and diehard fans of the series.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 1h 51m
CAST: Sheri Moon Zombie
Bill Moseley
Richard Brake
Jeff Daniel Phillips
Dee Wallace
Emilio Rivera
Richard Edson
Kevin Jackson
Pancho Moler
Steven Michael Quezada
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Rob Zombie
PRODUCERS: Rob Zombie
Mike Elliott
SCORE: Zeuss
The3FromHell
3FromHell
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Looking for more Monster Fest reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
Rosemary & Thyme: The Complete Collection - Mystery thriller series featuring the gardening detectives
TRENDINGWIN ROSEMARY & THYME: THE COMPLETE COLLECTIONMystery thriller series featuring the gardening detectives
Brideshead Revisited: The Complete Series - The classic novel adapted with a distinguished ensemble cast
TRENDINGWIN BRIDESHEAD REVISITED: THE COMPLETE SERIESThe classic novel adapted with a distinguished ensemble cast
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
Lion - A raw and powerful journey of identity
TRENDINGLIONA raw and powerful journey of identity
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
In My Blood It Runs - An eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
TRENDINGIN MY BLOOD IT RUNSAn eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
Scoob! - Mystery swapped for money-hungry mayhem
TRENDINGSCOOB!Mystery swapped for money-hungry mayhem
Waterloo - An epic recreation of the legendary battle
TRENDINGWATERLOOAn epic recreation of the legendary battle
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
Sorry, Wrong Number - An inventive slice of 1940s film noir
TRENDINGSORRY, WRONG NUMBERAn inventive slice of 1940s film noir
Double Lover - Softcore pornography for cinephiles
TRENDINGDOUBLE LOVERSoftcore pornography for cinephiles
Sleeping Beauty - A history of Disney's masterpiece on its 60th anniversary
TRENDINGSLEEPING BEAUTYA history of Disney's masterpiece on its 60th anniversary
The Land Before Time - 30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
TRENDINGTHE LAND BEFORE TIME30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
Buffy - A 20th anniversary love letter
TRENDINGBUFFYA 20th anniversary love letter
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
Cosmos: Ultimate Edition - The world premiere Blu-ray release of the iconic series
TRENDINGCOSMOS: ULTIMATE EDITIONThe world premiere Blu-ray release of the iconic series
I Still Believe - Faith romantic drama misses every demographic
TRENDINGI STILL BELIEVEFaith romantic drama misses every demographic
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best superhero films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best superhero films streaming right now
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us