Otis and Baby escape prison with the help of a new friend and together,
the three embark on a road trip of murder, mayhem, and madness.
3 from Hell (2019)
Written and Directed by Rob Zombie
Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Richard Brake,
Sid Haig, Dee Wallace, Pancho Moler, Danny Trejo
Sequel to 2005's The Devil's Rejects
The first time I saw The Devil's Rejects, I was satisfied with the ending. For me, that is how the Firefly clan should have met their end: in a hail of bullets and fuck yous to the man. That's who they are and it was an ending fit for the villains Rob Zombie had masterfully gotten us to sympathize with. However, I was dubious as to if this was their actual death or were we going to be jerked around into another terrible tale of madness and murder starring Otis, Baby, and Captain fucking Spaulding.
At the announcement by the director himself that we were going back down that rabbit hole, I was excited. Skeptical but excited. Caleb and I even met Richard Brake at Crypticon last year and he was grinning in that oh so scary/happy grin he has (watch 31 or this to see what I mean) that we were going to love what they did.
This movie did not deliver for me. Maybe it'll grow on me and I might change my tune. One day. Rob Zombie has always been a director I admire, for better and for worse, because he seemed so confident in getting his vision from script to screen. After watching this, I wonder if he made this because he had nothing else to do.
There are stories from Zombie himself where he says that Sid Haig's injury impacted the production so much that he rewrote the script to give Richard Brake's character, Foxy, a more prominent role. Those rewrites and the lack of Haig/Captain Spaulding are very apparent. A lot of this film feels slapped together and scenes from The Devil's Rejects are rehashed. And I could look past that if it went somewhere. It doesn't.
The movie feels like it's more about Baby and her mental breakdown while incarcerated than about them getting out of jail and wreaking havoc (which happens but not in the way we've become accustomed to). Elements of the Manson murders in the obsession of the public with serial killers and their instant celebrity (which Sid Haig goes into in his only scene in the flick, and I loved it) aren't exploited/explored enough for me. Sheri Moon Zombie really cranks it up in this one with her insanity and savagery and its one of the highlights but it's not enough. Dee Wallace is fantastic as a sadistic prison guard who has a tumultuous relationship with Baby to put it mildly.
All in all, I think this movie suffered from outside and unforeseen circumstances that handicapped this entry for me. Maybe it should have been delayed or not even made at all. I love that Rob Zombie is making movies with flashes of style that we don't get enough of these days. I think he can apply that style to a new idea and get back the confidence that saw him slap audiences in the face with The Devil's Rejects.