Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses premiered in 2003. Its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects then two years later. Fans didn’t think they would get more of the giggly but deadly Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie) or dangerous Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley). In the last scene of The Devil’s Rejects, an injured Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) and his two children are trying to escape the police only to get involved in a shoot-out at the end. In the last scene, a resigned Otis looks back at his father and Baby and then floors the pedal, driving right into the police barricade.
The chance of them surviving the crash and bullets at the end of The Devil’s Rejects is nearly impossible. However, they manage to survive. In the opening scene of 3 From Hell, we find out that the trio awaits trial for murders that they committed in the previous parts of the franchise. At the news of it, the nation is falling amok. Young people go even further by blindly believing in their innocence (although let’s be honest, the police have more evidence than they even need). Young women are falling in love with Otis, but the young men, however, would love to meet Baby. Although the nation chants “Free the three!” almost every day, there is no possible way the Firefly family will be released.
But, as we already know of their strong will and desperate desire to kill, they manage to figure a way out and run for their lives. With the company of Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, aka Midnight Wolf (Richard Brake), the trio plans to stay put and figure out the best place to hide. That won’t be a piece of cake. This means they have to suppress their want to kill. To not end up back in prison, they must sacrifice this urge. Baby, Otis, and Foxxy now have to re-learn how to live in a society of people very different from them.
In reprising their roles, Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie don’t disappoint. They come back to these parts after fourteen years and it’s still beyond astounding. Together with Richard Brake, they created a deadly trio straight from hell. While watching the third part of the franchise, the audience has a chance to notice the transformation of the siblings. Ten long years in prison left scars that are invisible, but very real. Otis becomes a man who will risk anything for an act of revenge; his character is taken much more seriously in this third instalment. Although still brutal, 3 from Hell shows the struggle of Otis’ return to the reality and the world that is, once again, wide open for Fireflies. His sister, however, is lost in her own mind. It seems the time in the cage, separated from everyone, didn’t do her good. In the first and second chapter, Baby was extremely bubbly, loud — an almost teenager-ish type of girl. That thrown in the mix with her need for murder and extreme skill in throwing knives creates a deadly mix. But now, Baby’s changed. She often goes inside her mind, saying incoherent things that nobody understands. The woman is still very dangerous, that’s for sure. However, after joining Foxxy on their brutal journey, the audience can observe the revelation of Baby’s deep-rooted mental health regress. ”She’s gotten wacky”, her brother says to his companion when his sister is not around.
Baby’s mental health is something that is well portrayed in 3 From Hell. We observe the peak of her character in the two previous films. Baby Firefly has a desperate need to kill because otherwise, she goes crazy. Ten years in prison have completely changed Vera (her real name). The woman still feels the desire to kill, but in the third part she is often distracted and confused. In one scene, when the police are close, instead of running away, she jumps and sings as if she’s not aware of the seriousness of the situation. However, as the plot progresses, Baby gets used to her new reality and seems to be a little better. In the contrary to their Baby, Otis and Foxxy are surprisingly social. That factor in their character development is fascinating — we get to see the brutal killers in everyday conversations, laughing and playing around.
3 From Hell possesses elements of its predecessors and something new as well: for example, the documentary style footage about the Rejects at the beginning of the film. Rob Zombie included this interesting element as a twist. Instead of the normal way to introduce the viewers to the plot, he instead presented a short documentary within a film. Through this prism, the audience finds out about the fate of the deadly trio and what they were doing since we last saw them. 3 From Hell is as brutal, blood-splashing and gory as the two previous films, however this one element distinguishes the films from each other. It was a good idea to bring back the characters and summarise their life during those years we haven’t seen or heard from them.
The Rejects franchise doesn’t have a sophisticated style or an original script. It has a similar feeling to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or the Halloween series. But that’s not at all a flaw. What makes it unique is the style of directing and the phenomenal cast. Sadly, it seems only Rob Zombie’s fans appreciate the genius behind the work. 3 From Hell, as well as its previous parts, simply isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like gory, brutal slashers, you won’t like it. However, if you are a fan of horror films and you celebrate Halloween not only in October, he will have something for you. 3 From Hell will satisfy any true grindhouse slasher fan.
3 From Hell is available on Digital now
by Zofia Wijaszka
Zofia lives in LA and is passionate about pop culture, television and Stevie Nicks. She graduated from the University of Wroclaw, Poland with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Social Communication with Creative Writing. Her work revolves around women in television and film. She previously has written for GirlTalkHQ, Reel Honey and Polish film portals. She loves the Scream movies, Carol and Big Little Lies. She wants Sarah Paulson to be her buddy and go for drinks with her. Her Twitter – @zoshugrochu