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Three from Hell Review

September 23, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Three from Hell
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Three from Hell Review  

Three from Hell Review

Sheri Moon Zombie– Baby Firefly
Bill Moseley– Otis Firefly
Richard Brake– Winslow Foxworth Coltrane
Sid Haig– Captain Spaulding
Emilio Rivera– Aquarius
Jeff Daniel Phillips– Warden Virgil Dallas Harper
Dee Wallace– Greta
Danny Trejo– Rondo
Clint Howard– Mr. Baggy Britches
Pancho Moler– Sebastian
Kevin Jackson– Gerard James
Daniel Roebuck– Morris Green

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Rob Zombie
Screenplay by Rob Zombie

Distributed by Lionsgate and Saban Films

Not Rated
Runtime– 111 minutes

Three from Hell Facebook page

The Saban Films Facebook page.


Three from Hell, also known as 3 from Hell, is the highly anticipated sequel to The Devil’s Rejects and the third movie in the “Firefly family” franchise. Written and directed by Rob Zombie, it’s a mixed bag of interesting performances, vilely hilarious dialogue, graphic violence, mayhem, and truly reprehensible characters as the movie’s heroes. And that, as far as I’m concerned, is the movie’s biggest problem. Much like The Devil’s Rejects, Three from Hell really, really, really wants me to root for the Firefly clan, but it’s hard to do when, at the end of the day, the Firefly clan is a bunch of rapists and murderers, and knowing that how can you really root for them?

Three from Hell basically picks up where The Devil’s Rejects ended, with Otis (Bill Moseley), Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) presumably dead after being shot multiple times by the police. The Firefly clan isn’t dead, though. Somehow they all managed to survive the onslaught of bullets and they are now under arrest and in police custody. The family eventually goes on trial and, due to the massive amount of evidence against them, they are all convicted and sent to prison for life/given the death penalty. The Firefly clan also become huge media celebrities, with people declaring their love for the Fireflies and whatnot (“Free the Three!” is a common phrase amongst these people).

So ten years go by, Spaulding is given a lethal injection for his crimes, Baby thrives a bit as a mental patient of sorts, and Otis breaks out of prison with the help of unknown until now Firefly family member Winslow Foxworth Coltrane (Richard Brake). Otis also kills Rondo (Danny Trejo), one of the bounty hunters that Sheriff Wydell hired in The Devil’s Rejects and who finds himself on the same prison work detail (Rondo has no idea who Otis is when Otis shoots him in the head). While on the run, Otis and Coltrane come up with a plan to break Baby out of prison so the remaining Firefly family members can be together and whatnot.

Now, while Otis and Coltrane devise that big plan, Baby is the subject of a prison guard’s disturbing infatuation. That guard, Greta (Dee Wallace), both loves Baby with all of her heart and can’t stand the sight of her and actually sends prisoners to beat her up. Those prisoners (the great Dot-Marie Jones is one of them), even when they have her outnumbered, are no match for Baby and she kills them with unrelenting glee.

So then some stuff happens, Otis and Coltrane put their big plan into place (it involves holding the prison warden, Virgil Dallas Harper and played by Jeff Daniel Phillips, hostage), and they manage to get Baby out of the hoosegow. They also kill a bunch of people along the way, including a clown played by Clint Howard who showed up at the wrong house at the wrong time. Now free to do what they want (there’s a police dragnet looking for them, but the cops are fucking clueless and have no idea where the Fireflies are), the Fireflies hole up in a sleazy hotel for a little bit before they decide to head to Mexico to avoid the law and, I guess, kill people in a different country.

So the Fireflies hit Mexico, engage in some debauchery while celebrating the Day of the Dead, and come face to face with a gang of assassins in luchador masks and led by Aquarius (Emilio Rivera), the son of Rondo. Bloody mayhem develops.

And that, essentially, is Three from Hell. It doesn’t sound like much, and it really isn’t, in the big scheme of things. It’s just the further adventures of the despicable Firefly family. If you’re into that kind of thing, Three from Hell is something you’re going to love. If you’re only mildly into it, well, you may or may not like it. I liked aspects of it. I can’t deny that, while they’re truly the scum of the Earth, the Fireflies are entertaining. Moseley, Moon Zombie, and newcomer Brake give their roles life and they fully embrace their awfulness while being glib and, at times, hilarious (Moseley sure knows how to say “motherfucker”). You can’t take your eyes off of them. But, again, the Fireflies, while entertaining, are the worst people in the world. How the hell can you really, truly root for them or like them?

Director Zombie really wants us to like the Fireflies. He wants us to root for them. He tries to make it seem like the Fireflies, because they fully embrace their awfulness, are somehow truer people than the people that they kill. The characters who would be considered the good guys in any other movie, like Warden Harper, have all kinds of “flaws” that get revealed bit by bit (Harper treats the prisoners like shit and he cheats on his wife with prison staff) and are there to show the audience that these other characters are no better, in a moral sense, than the Fireflies. That sentiment is, of course, ludicrous. Cheating on your wife is not the same as cutting off someone’s face and making a mask out of it. It just isn’t.

Zombie also fails to do anything with the idea of the Fireflies, while in prison and awaiting trial, becoming media sensations and developing fans. Wouldn’t the Fireflies have fans everywhere and be noticed by those fans when they’re out of prison? And wouldn’t the Fireflies, being murderers and all, use their fans to get places and then kill them? I think they would. The movie doesn’t really get into any of this stuff.

Zombie does do a good job integrating Brake’s character into the franchise, as Sid Haig was too sick to do more than the one scene he’s in (and, while clearly not in the best of health, Haig does a great job being a foul mouthed psycho). It will be interesting to see if Brake pops up in any future Firefly family movies.

And, yes, I don’t believe for a second that Three from Hell is the end of anything, despite all of the claims otherwise. The Devil’s Rejects was supposed to be the final Firefly movie, and I knew back in 2005 that it was really only a matter of time before Zombie did another one. He likes the Fireflies too much to let them die.

Bill Moseley is fabulous, once again, as Otis. He’s a complete fucking psycho and definitely deserved to die in prison, but he’s out and about in the world and telling people he’s the Devil and Satan, so why not watch and try to enjoy it for what it is? Moseley has no issues romping around with butt naked women (Otis has no problem with fat chicks, just like Spaulding. That’s cool), or taking a wiz while wearing some of the dirtiest underwear in the history of movies. And check out the machete fight he gets into at the end of the movie.

Sheri Moon Zombie is even crazier this time around as Baby, and because of that she’s less interesting. She does have some nice scenes with Pancho Moler, who plays a one-eyed midget in Mexico named Sebastian who is sweet on Baby (he brings her breakfast). I wish the movie had more of that kind of thing in it with her. Moon Zombie is quite proficient with a knife, though, and a bow and arrow. And what’s the deal with her director husband’s infatuation this time around with her feet? Usually he’s got the camera trained on her butt.

Richard Brake is awesome as Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, the unknown Firefly family member. He fits right in with the Otis and Baby and the overall world of the movie. I’m not sure he would have fit in House of 1,000 Corpses, but I have a feeling that that movie may end up becoming a kind of “Firefly Prequel” kind of thing in the future, or an urban legend of some sort. Anyway, I’m down for a Coltrane solo movie if Zombie and Lionsgate want to do one. I’d like to know what sort of sick bullshit he was involved in while Otis and Baby were in prison.

Jeff Daniel Phillips, who I initially thought was Sacha Baron Cohen (form certain angles Phillips looks like him), does a good job as the hardass prison warden Virgil Dallas Harper. He clearly wasn’t hard enough on the Fireflies. He should have made sure that all three died in prison.

And Emilio Rivera does a nice job with a character that’s just doomed to die, Aquarius the Mexican gang leader. He does get the best luchador mask, so at least he has that going for him.

Now, there are plenty of horror/genre cameos that are kind of cool, in their own ways. Austin Stoker plays a TV news reader, Daniel Roebuck pops in for one scene as the TV show guy he played in The Devil’s Rejects, Morris Green (Zombie should do a movie with that character, too. Just him and his no doubt wacky, every day world), Richard Riehle is some sort of dumbass cop, Chaz Bono does a brief “man on the street interview” scene, and the great Bill Oberst Jr. has a nice scene in the woods that doesn’t end well for him at all. Danny Trejo should have had more to do.

So what’s the final verdict on Three from Hell? It’s pretty good, not great. I’d say that it’s about on par with The Devil’s Rejects, maybe a little better (Three from Hell is slightly less sadistic than The Devil’s Rejects, but only slightly). And, like I said, I don’t think it’s the last Firefly movie at all. The ending doesn’t suggest that anything is over, and with Zombie loving these characters so damn much, not to mention the franchise’s fans, I’m sure there will be at least one more Firefly movie. There’s more mayhem to inflict on the world.

Three from Hell is definitely worth seeing if you’re a fan of Zombie and his movies, especially The Devil’s Rejects. It’s hard to really like the protagonists, but it’s also hard to say they’re not entertaining. The Fireflies are entertaining. And, I guess, that’s the most important thing, right?

See Three from Hell. See it, see it, see it.


So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Lots.


Nudity? Yes.

Doobage: A full on police bullet barrage, a quick montage about how much the public loves the Fireflies, a sad prison interview, a hilarious “squirrel and clown” bit, of screen lethal injection, ditch digging, a work detail escape, bullet to the head, movie talk, multiple beatings, another head shot, off screen knife torture with bloody face removal, attempted prison attack, multiple stabbings, hostage taking, thumb torture, a party clown that tries really hard to tell a good joke, a wicked bullet to the head, cocaine snorting, choking, likely of screen rape, decapitation, throat slitting, naked running with knives, front yard stabbing, an old woman on oxygen just sitting in her yard and minding her own fucking business, yet another bullet to the head, pot smoking, porno talk, soda machine hooey, going to Mexico, a snake, pissing in the street, a local knife throwing contest, a partying montage, fellatio, breakfast, multiple off screen sex orgies (probably), 2 vans, a slow motion shootout, arrow to the neck, vicious stabbing, shotgun city, head smashing, up close machine gun attack, knife to the throat, a machete fight, body burning, and driving on down the road.

Kim Richards?: None, which is surprising.

Gratuitous:The Devil’s Rejects, Austin Stoker, the late 1970’s, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, Sid Haig, Chaz Bono, Danny Trejo, Richard Brake, Daniel Roebuck, Dee Wallace, a picture of Ronald Reagan on the wall, Sheri Moon Zombie acting crazy, Richard Riehle, Bill Oberst Jr., talk of titties, Dot Marie Jones, loud cowboy boots, lesbian forbidden love, spreading a dead woman’s ashes all over because the Fireflies are pieces of shit, Clint Howard, Clint Howard as a party clown, a “laugh party,” really bad jokes, weird beard ballet dancing, Bill Moseley watching a public domain 3 Stooges short on TV, Sheri Moon Zombie wearing an Indian headdress, criminals arguing over who is more notorious, the Fireflies in a hotel room watching TV and playing cards, Sheri Moon Zombie’s feet, Sean Whalen, grape soda, some sort of horror host show, Mexico, a midget wearing an eyepatch, Richard Edson, a three legged dog, an El Camino with three coffins in it, Bill Moseley taking a piss, In a Gadda Da Vida on the soundtrack, Sheri Moon Zombie dancing with the Indian headdress on, Bill Moseley reading a Spanish comic book, Bill Moseley participating in a machete fight, and an ending that suggests nothing has really ended.

Best lines: “Free the Three!,” “I’m saying I’m just a clown dancing for the fucking man!,” “You know what they say, the world loves a clown,” “Which end of the fuck knife are you holding? The handle or the blade?,” “I’m not a bad man. I’m just another lost soul searching for forgiveness in this lost world,” “Public enemy number one, motherfucker!,” “I look like a fucking stooge!,” “Is it just me or are these the greatest fucking beans ever?,” “I’m a lot more fucking Bogart than you are!,” “You think this happened a hundred years ago?,” “Are you fucking crying? I ain’t crying. I got a piece of fucking skull in my eye. Shit hurts,” “Yeah, that should be enough time. Ding, dong, the bitch is dead,” “She’s not a bad little cocksucker,” “Snitches get stitches. That’s cute,” “I live inside your head,” “A fucking clown?,” “Bravo, Bozo, bravo,” “I hate clowns,” “I don’t appreciate your tone, sir,” “Don’t fuck with a scorpion, bitch!,” “Hey, granny!,” “Show me your salami, motherfucker!,” “Man, I expected a little more out of Mexico,” “Who died and made you king of Mexico?,” “Let’s get fucked up! And do some fucked up shit? What other kind is there?,” “Too much noise! Too much noise!,” “I never realized until now how ugly I am,” “How can Satan come and kill me? I am fucking Satan!,” “What took you so long, motherfucker?,” “Now we can have a real Day of the Dead,” “Fucking rat,” “You’re not even worth a bullet,” “At this point, life seems hazardous to my health,” and “I know how to cook a fucking corpse.”

The final score: review Good
The 411
Three from Hell is the long awaited sequel to The Devil’s Rejects, and it’s pretty good. It’s missing Sid Haig, yes, but Richard Brake picks up the slack as a new Firefly family member, and Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie are back and just as entertaining as ever. There’s plenty of mayhem and debauchery on display here, and while it’s been advertised as the end of the franchise, I don’t think Three from Hell is the end of anything. There are more stories to tell and more people for the Fireflies to kill. So, yeah, check out Three from Hell and wait for the next one. Perhaps that one won’t take fourteen years to happen. Maybe.