Rob Zombie movie sequel fails to live up to original film

Written By Jared Murphy, News Photo Editor

Having cheated death and escaped from prison, the Firefly Family is back again causing mayhem on the back roads of rural Texas. Rob Zombie’s “3 From Hell” played in select theaters on Sept. 16, 17 and 18 with a DVD and Blu-Ray release set for Oct. 15. 

“3 From Hell” is a direct sequel to Zombie’s 2005 horror movie “The Devil’s Rejects.” In the ending scene of “The Devil’s Rejects,” the Firefly Family, made up of Otis, Baby and Captain Spaulding, were killed in a gunfight with police, or at least we all thought so. In the beginning of “3 From Hell” we learn that the three have survived the gunfight, suffering over twenty bullets wounds each. This foreshadows the main issue throughout the film. 

The storyline in this movie doesn’t make any sense.  The final scene of “The Devil’s Rejects” had the Firefly clan going out in one final blaze of glory. In “3 From Hell” they somehow survived a fury of bullets and are put in jail where they eventually escape and continue their reign of terror.   

Originally, Zombie had Captain Spaulding playing a much larger part in the film, but actor Sid Haig had been in the hospital with health complications and has since passed away. We only get a few lines from Spaulding in the beginning, which is a huge disappointment since he was where most of the dark humor in “The Devil’s Rejects” comes from. Spaulding dies in prison within a few minutes of the film starting. Since Haig couldn’t act as nearly as much as Zombie wanted, the film had to be rewritten. 

This film felt like the fifth or sixth installment in a series when all the ideas have run out. Otis and Baby escape from prison and meet up with Otis’ half-brother Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, who shares the same love for mayhem as Otis and Baby do. This felt like a cheap fix to having to write Spaulding out of the movie. If they brought back another member of the family from the first two films, it would have been a stretch, but it would have been better than making up a new character as a scapegoat. 

“3 From Hell” lacks the shock factor that Zombie’s movies are known for. The two previous movies in this series were extremely gruesome and even hard to watch at points. “3 From Hell” fell short of this and the impact of the film suffered. 

The storyline takes the main characters to Mexico while they are on the run, which once again seems like a cheap fix from having to rewrite the movie. I’m not sure if this was in the original script, but this seemed like lousy writing. The whole Mexico idea seems like Zombie was throwing something at a wall and seeing if it stuck. 

With no apparent shock value and a lackluster storyline, “3 From Hell” fell short, and the series would have been better off being left alone. If Sid Haig didn’t have to be written out, I believe this movie could have been just as good as “The Devil’s Rejects.”