The midnight hour had just passed as I sat waiting for my call to the legendary Rob Zombie to be put through. Somehow the fact that the interview was taking place in the early hours of the morning seemed very apt given that this interview was going to focus on the release of Zombie’s latest film 3 From Hell the third film in what has become known to fans as The Firefly Series.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous as the call went through. My love of all things Rob Zombie is no secret. As a music lover I fell in love with his work as soon as I heard White Zombie as a teen and when it comes to his films I have done fan-moment things like skipping Film School for a day to make sure I could make the early morning opening day session of Halloween and then ducking into a shop of the macabre while on my honeymoon because I saw a rare series of Firefly Family action figures in the window.
Those nerves quickly dissipate though when Zombie comes on the phone. He greets me like an old friend and then laughs when we start to talk about the fact the 3 From Hell is not only opening Australia’s iconic MONSTER FEST but also getting a limited cinema release on Halloween. “I guess if it has to screen at any place that is the perfect place, Dave,” he says laughing. “That makes me feel so good.”
The film is not only opening FANGORIA x MONSTER FEST 2019 but managed to sell out two screenings (a third is filling fast) on opening night. It is expected to do the same for the Halloween screenings, it seems after fifteen years between Firefly films the fans are hungry but what was it like for Zombie returning to write for these characters after such a huge gap in time? “It was actually very easy for me,” he explains. “Because out of all of the films and all of the characters that I have created these are the ones that just flow out of me. I’m not sure if that is because they are the most like me but I can write dialogue for these guys all day long with no problem…. it is so easy. But it was great I had a blast doing it. That wasn’t so much my concern, my concern was can the actors bring it back or will they seem like themselves after all this time. But they did bring it back… they were perfect!”
Of course with such an opening ending to The Devil’s Rejects people were never really sure whether Zombie would return to the series to do a third film and it seems when discussing 3 From Hell with Zombie there were periods when he didn’t know either. “After I finished The Devil’s Rejects I didn’t think about it at all,” he says. “I thought that’s the end of the movie, it’s done I’m not going to go back to it. I’m going to make other movies and do other things… I think after that I did Halloween. But I always think about the characters because House Of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects were small movies at the time but over the years as time went by the characters just became more and more popular and people dress up as them at Halloween and they have costumes – the legend of these characters just keeps growing and growing and growing, so it would never go away… it would never leave my life, it was always around.”
“Every now and then I would think it would be cool to do another movie,” he continues. “Then I would be like ‘no fuck it I’m not going to do it.’ It wasn’t until about three years that I decided to give it a try. That being said I thought I would write the script and if it makes sense I will push forward, yeah I wasn’t going to do it if it wasn’t working, I was not going to push forward and do it if it wasn’t working because I didn’t want to ruin it.”
That leads me to ask what that moment was like when he first told his three leads, Sheri Moon Zombie, Sid Haig and Bill Moseley what his plans were. “Well Sheri always knew,” he says with a laugh (for those that don’t know Sheri is Zombie’s wife). “She was always around when I was working on it so always knows what I am doing first. She was the most sceptical of everybody. She was like ‘I don’t think this is a good idea, I think we should leave it alone just forget about it. But with that being said I will read the script and if it feels like we should do it I will change my mind.’ Then she read it and she liked it and she was like ‘okay I’m on board with this.’ And then we went out to lunch with Bill and Sid and we talked about it, I would always see those guys off and on and I basically knew what was going on in their lives and how they looked, but I just wanted to see everybody together and see if they looked themselves to see if this would work… because fifteen years is a really long time and you know people change. But everybody seemed the same at that moment… but then things changed dramatically.”
That dramatic moment that Zombie refers to is the illness that ended up forcing Sid Haig to have a much smaller part in the film and ultimately to his sad passing just five days after the film was released in the US and in closing Zombie says with sadness in his voice. “Go into this movie knowing that this is now a tribute to Sid. We didn’t plan it that way but it is in way. It is the last ride of the iconic character he created.”
Tickets for 3 From Hell can be purchased from FANGORIA x MONSTER FEST 2019 – www.monsterfest.com.au
AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE: MELBOURNE
WHEN: Thursday October 10th 2019 7PM, 7:20PM and 9.20PM
WHERE: Fangoria x Monster Fest 2019: Monster Takes Melbourne
LOCATION: Cinema Nova (Carlton VIC)
FANGORIA x MONSTER FEST 2019: MONSTER TAKES AUSTRALIA – Facebook event: https://www.facebook.
3 FROM Hell Australian Premiere Melbourne- Facebook event – https://www.facebook.com/
MONSTER FEST AUSTRALIA: Screens as the Opening Night Film at FANGORIA x MONSTER FEST 2019: MONSTER TAKES AUSTRALIA:
Greater Union Cinemas Capital Manuka (ACT)
Event Cinemas George Street (NSW)
Event Cinemas Brisbane City Myer Centre (QLD)
GU Film House Adelaide (SA)
Event Cinemas Innaloo (WA).
Ticketing link: 3fromhell.com.au
REST OF AUSTRALIA: NATIONALLY AS “FANGORIA x MONSTER FEST PRESENTS”
For full location,session and ticketing info visit: 3fromhell.com.au