Fans of Rob Zombie’s delightfully wicked and sometimes shockingly brutal horror series have been counting down the minute until the extensive seemingly rather elongated marketing campaign for “3 From Hell” wraps and the title is added to the marquee.
The wait, I’m happy to say, was worthwhile with Zombie’s second sequel to his “House of 1000 Corpses” both a clever satire on the genre itself and a bloody entertaining horror affair at the same time – one that harkens back to the glory days of early Craven, Hooper and Romero.
Sure, it suffers slightly from a case of threequelitis – in that the story itself feels a little more hobbled together than the rather well-structured “Devil’s Rejects” (which also served as a better conclude for the characters) but if dicings, slicings and maniacal characters are what fans of the series hope and hanker for, they won’t be disappointed.
The slight story revolves around Baby Firefly, Captain Spaulding and Otis Drift making their way out of prison – in spectacularly gory fashion – before returning to the world to continue their carnival of carnage.
The returning players slip comfortably back into their roles, with some – the wonderful Sheri Moon Zombie, in particular – adding even more layers to their well-established characters, but it’s franchise newbie Dee Wallace who steals the thing, offering up a hilariously horrifying against type-turn as an unhinged, potty-mouthed prison guard.
The stiff brigade will toss tomatoes at “3 From Hell” for what, unarguably, are some really shocking sequences but the smarter will note that Zombie isn’t glorying violence here so much as using horror as a playful tool to help distract the punter from more troubling, real-world events outside the multiplex.