3 from Hell
3 from hell | rob zombie | sheri moon zombie | bill moseley | sid haig | sequel | house of 1000 corpses | united states | jeff daniel phillips | richard brake | kevin jackson | dee wallace | pancho moler | richard edson | clint howard | wade williams | sean whalen
Film: 3 from Hell
Director: Rob Zombie
Writer: Rob Zombie
Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley and Sid Haig
This was a film that was a mixed bag for me. I was intrigued when I heard they were making this, but I really enjoyed the movie prior to this, The Devil’s Rejects, which had an amazing ending. I wasn’t sure how they were going to pick this one up and what we would get. I also heard a mixed bag from podcasters I enjoy listening to so that also influenced by interest. There really isn’t a synopsis on the Internet Movie Database, so I’ll get right into a recap.
We learn that the Devil’s Rejects survived what happened at the roadblock. Each of them took 20 shots and after a long recovery, survived. We see there’s a number of people in the public think they’re wrongly accused. They are protesting for them to be released. This is actually an interesting commentary that is relevant, in that we see a lot of protesting happening and it actually feels like Zombie mocking that, since we know they’re guilty. With that said, Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) are all convicted. It looks like Baby and Otis get life sentences and Captain Spaulding gets the death penalty as well actually executed.
There’s a documentary being done about these three and it actually makes the warden Virgil Harper (Jeff Daniel Phillips) look bad. He comes off a bit arrogant and that he’s in control. That’s not the case when Otis is freed during a work detail by his half brother, Winslow Foxworth Coltrane (Richard Brake). During this breakout, Rondo (Danny Trejo) is murdered.
The two of them go on the run and try to figure out a way to free Baby. This takes them to Virgil’s house where they have to take Gerard James (Kevin Jackson), Virgil’s wife Judy (Tracey Leigh) and Heather Starship Galen (Sylvia Jeffries) hostage. If it works, they don’t know what their next plan is, but they’re sure to cause mayhem on the way.
Now I decided to go a little lighter on the recap here as I didn’t want to spoil too much. I had to go a little bit in recap, because due to Haig’s health, they had to find a way to limit his time in the film. It really is a shame though, because he is so good. I actually think it would have been more plausible to have him die in the shoot out though, but Captain Spaulding does have a good line when being interviewed here.
It could be considered a cheat by adding Winslow to this in order to make sure we have the trio. I can overlook it, because writer/director Rob Zombie did write these characters to be quite white trash so it is most definitely possible to have another half sibling out there. I will say though that I’m not a fan of his nickname, the Midnight Wolfman, but thankfully Brake is an amazing actor.
Something I really want to address, which is one of my issues with Zombie’s films. I don’t mind the grittiness of his characters and having them white trash like we see here with the trio. The problem though is that he makes everyone that way and it’s not as believable. Now I will admit this one is better in that sense than what we got with 31. There’s just an excessive amount of swearing from some people that I wouldn’t necessarily buy it from.
The last thing to cover before moving on is that this movie takes a wild turn for sure. The first part of it really is trying to figure out a way to get Baby out of prison. I actually don’t mind the plan they come up with since this film takes place in the 80’s. It just gets really wild from that latter half for sure.
To the pacing of this one, I think it is fine for the most part. The biggest issue I have with it is that it runs almost 2 hours and I think that’s too much. I feel that Zombie put in some cameos that really don’t need to be there and we get a lot of just filler at times. It could be trimmed by 10 to 20 minutes and it would have run as a tighter film. It still builds tension to see the depravity of these characters, just not on the level of The Devil’s Rejects. The ending is fine, but it is no where near its predecessor.
Shifting to the acting, I think that it’s actually pretty solid. I heard from podcasts that this is probably Sheri Moon Zombies best performance and I might have to agree. Otis and Winslow notice there’s something off about her. It does seem like she is broken and just way more insane from her time behind bars. There’s even an interesting story she tells Virgil about a cat that is stuck that she’s trying to help and we see her watching this weird screen under bed. It is kind of a weird scene, but it does seem to show she’s off. Moseley and Brake are both great and play off each other well. Haig was solid in his cameo. I thought Phillips was fine as was seeing Emilio Rivera as Aquarius. Pancho Moler, Dee Wallace, Clint Howard, Wade Willliams and Sean Whalen also have good cameos as well as rounding out the film for what was needed with the rest.
As to the effects of this one, for the most part they’re good. This one is gritty and brutal. We get some really good practical effects, especially a good amount of the blood. There’s a slitting of a throat that stood out for sure. An issue I did have is that close to the climax, they have some bullet wounds that are done with CGI. I wasn’t a fan there and we also get a slow-motion look at an arrow that started to make this feel like an action film. I will say though that Zombie again nailed it on the filter used in the beginning of this to make it feel like the 1970’s. This one moves into the 80’s since they were all held in prison. I thought that still worked.
The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack of this one. There is a moment late in the film that it features a rock song that I can seem to figure out the artist and song title, but it has such a creepy sound to it. That definitely works. I know early on we had a song that didn’t necessarily fit the tone of the film for me. Overall though I would say that the soundtrack is still solid and it never really took me aside from that one time.
Now with said, I’ve heard a lot of people being quite decisive about this film coming in and that actually made me excited to see it to determine for myself. If I’m honest, Zombie’s films are definitely hit or miss for me, especially the first time around. I think that this one has some interesting social commentary that is relevant today and has an extremely bleak outlook on life. I like that the continuity for the most part is intact, except knowing that a character really couldn’t be there to kill him off at the more logical spot. There’s a bit of a cheat after that, but I actually really like the actor even though the character not so much. I do think that the film runs a bit long and the ending isn’t anywhere near as iconic for the shoes this one tries to fill as a trilogy. The acting is good though across the board and the practical effects too. I did have some issues with the CGI gunshots though. The soundtrack has some points I really like and some that I don’t really care for, but for the most part it fits. I still think this is probably my least favorite of that trilogy and probably just above average for me. I would still recommend it if you like this group of Zombie films or him in general.
My Rating: 7 out of 10