3 From Hell
Dir. Rob Zombie (2019)
When newcomer Foxy Coltrane helps Otis and Baby escape prison, the three flee to Mexico. Their troubles are not, however, over.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
3 From Hell was released about ten years too late, and it could’ve been a lot better if it was made immediately following The Devil’s Rejects simply because Sid Haig should’ve been one of the stars. Unfortunately, his untimely death (and may he rest in peace) limited his role to a cameo, but he was just as compelling in the short time he was on screen as he’s been through the other two films. Thankfully, Baby and Otis are back, and they’re as wild as they’ve ever been. After Otis’ brother Foxy Coltrane breaks Otis and, with Otis’ help, Baby out of prison, the newly formed trio heads to Mexico to escape the long arm of the law. In Mexico, they find brand new enemies to brutally murder. The acting in the film is fantastic, and you have to give it a little bit of a break due to the rewrites necessary when Haig passed away. Sheri is Baby at her most insane, and Moseley’s Otis is just as vile and grotesque as ever. Richard Brake is outstanding as Foxy Coltrane, and had he been present through the entire series he would have been as big a fan favorite as Otis. The character development in 3FH isn’t as deep as those from the previous film, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be because of the groundwork put in from those films. The film also drags a good bit, as the traverse to Mexico and the scene-setting once there take a bit of time to develop. It feels that there are a few too many filler scenes, but again, this is likely because of Haig’s absence, as he absolutely could have lightened up the scenes. One of the more impressively fucked up scenes involves a dinner party with the most unsuccessful clown performances of all time, through which we learn that yes, Virginia, there is a clown heaven. It’s every bit as brutal as the motel scene in the second film, which is hard to beat.
This scene in particular was exceptionally brutal.
Both before and after Baby’s escape, she is clearly losing her fucking mind, or at least losing whatever of it she had to begin with. This is made evident through some truly creepy scenes involving a dancing cat and some endlessly strange monologues. She manages to largely resolve her issues throughout the film, and in the end she ends up as fine as its possible for someone with her brain to be. The process does allow Sheri to show off her range, and she’s got a helluva range, despite what a lot of her critics say. You can tell, throughout all three films actually, that she has a great time playing the role of Baby, but its perhaps no more evident than in 3 From Hell. Otis and Foxy are the sane ones of the three, with Baby bringing up the mentally deficient rear. It’s tough to imagine a character that would make Otis Driftwood look “normal”, but Baby nails it in this film.
The 3 From Hell isn’t as cool of a name as The Devil’s Rejects, though.
Let’s face it, though: this film would be absolute trash without Brake, Zombie, and Moseley, but their characters make the film imminently watchable. Is it great? No, it’s not great, and it’s not really an adequate sequel to the first two. But, there is enough action to make it worthwhile, and it would not have drawn the ire that it did, nor would it be as forgettable as people said it was, had it not been part of a trilogy with the other two films and had Haig been alive to finish it out. It’s difficult to detach the film from those two facts, because it’s relatively unremarkable otherwise outside of the home invasion scene and the compelling main cast. It’s one of those things where, compared to the original two, it’s garbage as all hell. But as a standalone film it’s really well done with some horrific scenes of violence and a cast of wildly entertaining characters. While it’s easy to watch this film and say that it desperately misses Haig’s presence, I believe it would’ve been just as easy to make the argument that the first two missed Richard Brake’s Foxy, who could’ve added a lot to those already almost-perfect films. Who this film is for: Firefly completionists, Horror fans who don’t mind lowering expectations, Little people lovers Bottom line: It’s not a great end to the trilogy, but the choices were either to never finish out the trilogy or finish it without Haig, and Zombie chose to carry on. Supposedly, Haig got sick well after pre-production was already underway and Zombie realized he was too sick to film his scenes. They had to completely reconfigure the movie, and it sorely misses his presence. However, Brake, Zombie, and Moseley are outstanding, and their characters are engrossing enough to make the film definitely worth a watch. It’s not the best, but it’s better than a lot of the stuff I watch. It’s got Zombie’s flare, but it drags a bit too much and too often to deserve to be in the same class as the other two films. Still worth giving it a watch, though.