Last week, I had the immense pleasure of attending a special screening and red carpet event for Rob Zombie’s 3 FROM HELL, the follow-up film to 2003’s House of 1000 Corpses and 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects. The event was a star-studded celebration that included appearances from Kat Von D, Patton Oswalt, Glenn Danzig and Doyle from The Misfits, Tommy Lee, and more. While on the red carpet, we had the opportunity to speak with some of the cast about their experience on the film as well as reuniting with Rob Zombie.
One thing that was made apparent early on when speaking with everyone was just how much they enjoyed working with Rob Zombie. Actor Jeff Daniel Phillips, who portrays Warden Virgil Dallas Harper, and has been in previous Zombie films such as 31, The Lords of Salem, and Halloween II, stated how much he loved working with Rob, going so far as saying, “He’s my favorite.” Actor Pancho Moler, who portrays the kind-hearted Sebastian, and who first started working with Zombie on 31, stated, “It’s a blessing and a dream come true. Rob recycles a lot of his actors because he trusts them to get the job done and they do a good job together. This was my first movie that I didn’t have to audition for. He wrote a role for me and gave it to me and thought really hard about this role. It’s a complete opposite of [my character] in 31, so he wanted to see if I could pull out the range and bring this character to life. With his direction, we were able to do that.” Actress and comedian Jackie Garcia, who plays Princesa, a lady of the night, had nothing but praises when it came to working with Zombie. “Oh my God, he’s so cool. He’s the perfect director when it comes to technicalities and directions with actors. Most directors can’t do that, but he has that power.”
When it comes to the film, one of my favorite aspects of 3 FROM HELL was the relationship between Greta, a tough-as-nails prison guard, played by the iconic Dee Wallace, and Baby, played by Sheri Moon Zombie. “Oh my God, I loved working with Sheri [Moon Zombie],” Wallace explained. “We just kind of chewed up our scenes together which you will see when you watch the movie.” When speaking with Sheri, she also explained how much she loved working alongside Dee and how glad she was that people were enjoying their interaction. However, what truly blew me away was how unrecognizable Wallace was as Greta. Truth be told, it probably took me almost halfway through the film to realize that Wallas WAS Greta! When speaking with Wallace about her transition into the character she stated, “Rob had somebody call him and go, ‘You know, I see Dee Wallace listed in the credits, but I didn’t see her in the movie.’ (laughs). When Rob offered me the part I read it, called him, and went, ‘Dude, I cannot play this with perky blonde hair. I want to dye it really dark brown and part it down the middle and make [Greta] look really severe.’ Rob said okay which shows how trusting and open he is to incorporating our vision. It’s rare in a director these days.”
What so many fans love about Zombie’s films are the characters he has created and, as Pancho mentioned above, his use of going back to the same actors he has worked with. For Sheri, returning to the role of Baby, which she made famous back in 2003 with her performance in House of 1000 Corpses, was “a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun revisiting her.” Pancho’s character, Sebastian, was new to the story and won over the hearts of many. When I mentioned he was the heart of the film, he seemed touched, explaining, “You gotta be [the heart] sometimes.” New to working with Zombie, Jackie Garcia explained how great it was to be part of the film where she got to play a prostitute who services Otis (played by Bill Moseley). “Every time they killed me I just died in the same position like a lazy bitch on the bed. Rob was like, ‘Excuse you, is that how you really died?’ and I was like, ‘Yes, that’s exactly how I died on purpose.’ You have to stay [in that position] for a long time” (laughs). Regardless of if these actors were returning to previous roles or new ones, it was quite clear that everyone was not only giving their all but also having a blast on set.
Each and every person I talked with couldn’t hide their excitement about finally seeing the film for the first time and on the big screen. For Richard Brake, who plays Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, he gave us some insight into what he was looking forward to seeing the most. “I think the scenes I do with Bill [Moseley] and Sheri [Moon Zombie] – those are sort of like having family time together. I’m also looking forward to the Go-Fish scene as well (which you can read about in our interview with Bill Moseley here) – that was the first scene we shot.” A running theme during the interviews seemed to be how much everyone enjoyed working with one another. Jackie Garcia worked closely with Bill Moseley stating, “He’s so cool. We just chatted [the whole time]. I’m naked in the movie, so it’s like I got to improv all my lines and just talk shit in Spanish. We were just talking shit about Bill’s tighty-whities [in the film]. I don’t want to spoil the movie too much but it’s gonna be really fun” (laughs). Pancho also talked about his time working with everyone on set: “It was a dream come true. I grew up on horror and watched these movies and now being able to be a part of it with some of the legends and horror icons, as well as being able to act alongside them and build a friendship, I can’t complain. The world is going good for me, ya know? It’s treating me well right now.”
Though we didn’t get much time to speak with the man himself, Rob Zombie, we were able to ask him a quick question about some tattoos that our psychotic trio sport throughout the film. He didn’t give us too much information on the symbolic nature of the tattoos, though after watching the film a second time, I was able to connect some of the dots. Zombie explained that the origin of the tattoos meant “there’s a lot of downtime in prison and you gotta do something with your time” but did give us a clue that each one is representative of that character. Even hearing him talk to the other journalists about the movie you could tell that these films, specifically, along with the characters and the actors who embody them, hold a special place in not only his life, but in the lives of his fans. That said, this write up comes a day after fans learned of the passing of the iconic character actor Sid Haig, a blow that everyone within the horror community felt. However, Sid’s legacy lives on in the nearly five or so decades he has been in the industry, especially upon his resurgence after being cast as the pivotal Captain Spaulding, which went on to become a horror icon. Even on the red carpet, you could hear the cast talking joyfully about Sid, who unfortunately couldn’t make the screening due to being hospitalized. Though he will be greatly missed, he most certainly will never be forgotten. The night may have been a celebration for 3 FROM HELL but it was also a celebration of all those who took part in the fruition of this trilogy; an excitement which could be felt far and wide.
3 FROM HELL will arrive on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, Digital and On Demand October 15. 3 FROM HELL will also screen for a final time in select theaters on October 14th. For more on the film, check out our review here.