starring Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Richard Brake, Sid Haig
written and directed by Rob Zombie
by Walter Chaw 3 From Hell's twin fathers are Sam Peckinpah and Jim Thompson; when Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) screams "Kill em, kill em all!" in obvious emulation of that iconic early moment in The Wild Bunch, she announces that the picture's setting in a disgusting Mexican villa is not just purposeful, but meaningful and pointed. In scope, the film is better framed as Rob Zombie's The Getaway, which, as may be expected, keeps the surreal, cannibalistic ending from the novel, unlike either of its proper adaptations. Indeed, 3 From Hell is as sordid, violent, base as anything from Peckinpah or Thompson; and an observant a satire of how the world runs on the threat of violence and the promise of sex. Likewise, it's steeped in self-loathing, that sense that everything is in an active state of putrefaction. If The Getaway can be read with profit as a film about the transactional nature of human relationships, Zombie's films are also best considered as detailed, acutely sensitive explorations of human, especially familial, relationships. 3 From Hell is his most pointed statement about the nigh insurmountable cost of existence. The marriage makes sense, as life is never cheap in Zombie's films. In fact, life and the living of it, is really fucking expensive, and no one gets out alive.