The final chapter of Rob Zombie’s Firefly Trilogy brings a shocking twist in the first act with one of the prolific trio being replaced by someone who is nearly as demented as their predecessor.
In 1978, the trio of Johnny Lee “Captain Spaulding” Johns, Otis “Driftwood” Firefly, and Vera “Baby” Firefly were caught after a massive standoff with police. It has been ten years since then and Captain Spaulding was sentenced to death and executed via lethal injection. However, during his time doing prison work, Otis escapes with the help of his half-brother Winslow Foxworth Coltrane. Meanwhile, Baby, still imprisoned in maximum security prison, finds her parole denied again and even worse, head guard Greta intends to kill Baby before her next hearing but is unsuccessful and despite the prison’s warden, Virgil Dallas Harper, wanting to keep Baby in prison, he soon finds a terrifying nightmare about to happen.
Otis and Winslow hatch a plan to get Baby out of prison. They head to Virgil’s home and forces him and his roommates to be subjected to torture until the warden agrees to release Baby. Reluctantly, the warden complies with the brothers and releases Baby. Grown tired of having to resort to killing, the trio decide to head to Mexico on the Day of the Dead. Things go very well for the three as they find themselves accepted despite the fact they are wanted. However, as much as they have their fun, something is in store for the three.
It all started with House of 1000 Corpses in 2003. Then two years later, audiences were treated to The Devil’s Rejects. Both of those films focused on the Firefly family, a band of backwoods killers who relentlessly offed their victims in gruesome fashion to the delight of horror fans. After fourteen years, it is time for the conclusion to this trilogy and it is just as gruesome and fun as its previous installments. However, in the first act, there becomes a major change and it works out really well here.
Sheri Moon Zombie and Bill Moseley return to their respective roles of siblings Baby Firefly and Otis Driftwood (love that name after the Groucho Marx character in A Night at the Opera), and while the great Sid Haig returns as Captain Spaulding, it is only a cameo appearance in the first act and he is replaced by Game of Thrones’ Night King himself, Richard Brake, as the half-brother of Baby and Otis, the wonderfully named Winslow Foxworth Coltrane. Sounds like a Western outlaw and he’s got the look to boot.
Brake doesn’t fit in look-wise but he fits right in from his introduction. Brake and Moseley take up most of the second half together while Zombie finds herself in prison having to deal with a sadistic prison guard who wants her dead. One epic scene involving Zombie taking on two female prisoners hired by the crazed guard will make you want to root for Baby. As Patrick Swayze said, you can’t put Baby in a corner…in this case, she will kill you! Of course, in true Firefly fashion, there’s plenty of kills and sadistic scenes along the way, including a victim who falls prey to Otis and Winslow in a fashion that can only be described as homage to a scene in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which featured Moseley’s breakout role of Chop-Top.
What stands out in the film is the third act, where it seems like the Firefly Family has grown tired of killing and decide to hitch it to Mexico. One would expect mayhem at first, but it ends up becoming more of a celebration of freedom (despite the fact the U.S. government issued a manhunt against them) as they have fun with the locals during the Day of the Dead. Then, the next morning, all “hell” (pun intended) breaks loose with the arrival of a group decked out in lucha libre masks armed with machine guns. This leads to one of the most insane moments in the trilogy.
3 from Hell is a worthy conclusion of Rob Zombie’s prolific trilogy, with a major twist in the first act along with the introduction of a new character who fits right in with the others. Sheri Moon Zombie and Bill Moseley continue their chaotic run even despite a moment of acceptance where they don’t feel the need to cause trouble. Overall, a fitting conclusion.
WFG RATING: A-
Saban Films presents a Spookshow International production in association with Capital Arts Entertainment. Director: Rob Zombie. Producers: Mike Elliott and Rob Zombie. Writer: Rob Zombie. Cinematography: David Daniel. Editing: Glenn Garland.
Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Richard Brake, Sid Haig, Emilio Rivera, Clint Howard, Daniel Roebuck, Dee Wallace, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Dot-Marie Jones, Sean Whalen, Danny Trejo, Sylvia Jeffries, Chaz Bono, Bill Oberst Jr., Lucinda Jenney.