“I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing. I was born with the evil one standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since.” – H.H. Holmes
There are horror movies and there are Rob Zombie horror movies. It’s clear he takes inspiration from other filmmakers but he definitely makes the effort to create his own flavor. Whether I’m a fan of each new film of his they always leave me with a similar feeling of unease, a kind of celebrated disgust if you will. I’m left with a shock of the senses, a disbelief of what in the hell was allowed on screen. He pushes the envelope beyond recognition and for that I commend him. His films always have this air about them declaring he doesn’t give a shit who if anyone likes his movies, he makes them because he enjoys it. 3 From Hell is his most confounding film to date.
I say confounding because I’m not entirely sure what kind of film was intended here. On one hand, yes it’s very much a horror film with gratuitous amounts of gore and abhorrent violence. On the other hand it’s got the ambitions of a really violent action flick, a revenge tale of sorts. Maybe both genres were combined intentionally I can’t really say. It’s definitely the least jarring of his films, The Lords of Salem left me unhinged.
I would say this is the film’s biggest weakness, a lack of focus or purpose. A decent amount of the runtime is spent breaking one of the main three out of prison. Once this is accomplished the story begins to meander without ever really finding its way back. There’s even an exchange between characters where one asks the other what the plan is. He replies saying he has no idea. It’s as if Zombie himself is saying it to the audience.
One of my favorite demented twists is the perspective from which the story is told, from the devils themselves. Since it’s about them, about their beliefs and practices you find yourself rooting for these psychopaths as enemies swarm them seeking retribution. These are murdering creatures formed into human shape, make no mistake. And yet… GO REJECTS! It’s a little fucked up I’ll admit. It’s Zombie, what do you expect? He has made enough movies to say that if you like his work you know it by now. He has a style all his own and he seems to revel in it. Take it or leave it.
The main three are just as morbidly disconnected from the human race as ever. They thrive on disobedience and what is more wayward than murder? Maybe the torture they inflict beforehand perhaps? Who’s to say? It’s these “skills” they’ve perfected over the years that prepares them for the ultimate confrontation against those literally addressing themselves as Black Satans. In the end the real motivation is to have these three mentally destroyed monsters wreak havoc upon the unsuspecting public and to somehow find the joy in such deplorable behavior.
The murder and mayhem is plentiful, the jokes demented and inappropriate. It’s Rob Zombie doing what he does best and for the fans hoping for pure Zombie bedlam, 3 From Hell delivers ten fold, if not a bit limping along the way. For me personally it’s the kind of film I found enjoyment in but really never need to see again. I had fun, that’s all I require for the time being, thank you.
Rated R For: strong sadistic violence, language throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use
Runtime: 111 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Richard Brake, Jeff Daniel Phillips
Directed By: Rob Zombie
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2.5/ Acting: 3/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 3.5
OVERALL: 3 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Not for me.
Check out the trailer below:
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