After barely surviving a furious shootout with the police, Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) are behind bars. But pure evil cannot be contained. Teaming up with Otis’ half-brother Winslow Foxworth Coltrane (Richard Brake), the demented Firelfly clan are back to unleash a whole new wave of death and depravity. A firestorm of murder, madness and mayhem will be released in this terror ride to Hell and back.
To celebrate the release of the next blood-soaked chapter in the most violent crime saga in movie history, Rob Zombie’s 3 from Hell (review), we’re heading deep into the untamed wilds of America (with a brief detour to Belgium!) to round up the nastiest backwoods butchers and most horrific hillbillies ever committed to celluloid.
Deliverance (1972) | Directed by John Boorman
Perhaps the ultimate experience in backwoods terror, John Boorman’s Deliverance has been endlessly riffed on in popular culture since its release, whether it’s the iconic duelling banjos sequence or the controversial rape scene. Four men (played by Jon Voight, Burt Reynold, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox) journey into the Georgia countryside for a hiking and canoeing trip. However, the adventure takes a terrifying turn when they are stalked and attacked by redneck locals. What follows is a tense fight for survival as the men battle both their hillbilly assailants and the harsh wilderness. This disturbing masterpiece was a huge commercial and critical hit, netting three Oscar and five Golden Globe nominations, and has earned its rightful place in cinematic history.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) | Directed by Tobe Hooper
In Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (review), a group of young friends pick-up a crazed hitchhiker in Texas and before long wind up by a sinister house covered in bones before being maimed, tortured and dismembered by the hulking Leatherface and his clan of weirdo killers – the Sawyer Family. Marilyn Burns give the final girl performance of a lifetime in this true horror classic that has spawned a string of sequels, prequels and reboots. Despite it’s gruesome premise, Hooper attempted to limit the amount of on-screen gore in the film but the film’s horrifical visuals and terrifying atmosphere ensured it picked-up an R rating and its fair share of controversy. Regarded as one of the greatest and most influential horror films of all time, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a timeless tale of terror.
Just Before Dawn (1981) | Directed by Jeff Lieberman
While just one notch on the enormous bedpost of 80s slashers, Jeff Lieberman’s Just Before Dawn is one of the best of the genre alongside classics like Friday the 13th and The Burning. The backwoods are again the setting for this taut and bloody journey as a group of teens head out on a camping trip. Naturally, an inbred killer is waiting for them and a game of stalk and slash ensues as the unwitting kids are gruesomely slaughtered one by one. What sets Just Before Dawn apart from other slashers of its ilk is its creepy atmosphere and buckets of tension. The actors were most likely scared out of their wits for real – one night all the lights on the set suddenly went out leaving the cast and crew into total darkness. When the producer said ‘let there be light’ the lights automatically came back on… Creepy!
Wrong Turn (2003) | Directed by Rob Schmidt
What happens when you cross The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with the mutated killers of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes? Well in 2003 we found out when director Rob Schmidt made the hit hillbilly horror Wrong Turn! Little did we know at the time he was kick-starting a franchise that would stretch to six films, with a new installment on its way for 2020. In Wrong Turn a group of teens travelling into the wilderness (where have we heard that before?) take an, um, wrong turn and chance upon a family of mutant cannibal rednecks with a penchant for catching their prey with ingenious home-made traps. Cue gratuitous and hilarious blood-shed! With its wildly creative kills and top notch SFX, Wrong Turn is a fun as hell B-movie delight that satisfies that little gorehound within all of us.
The Ordeal (2004) | Directed by Fabrice du Welz
Strap yourself in for a bleak and bumpy ride with Fabrice Du Welz’s under-the-radar Belgian horror The Ordeal. When a man’s car breaks down in an isolated village, the oddball locals initially appear to be helping but when his car still won’t start their actions begin to get stranger and more terrifying, culminating in lashings of torture, a bizarre dancing scene in a pub and a memorable moment involving a pig. The Ordeal is a shocking and strange experience punctuated with moments of pitch-black humour and nastiness that will stay with you long after watching. One of the very best horror films of the 21st century but be warned – there are no happy endings here…
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010) | Directed by Eli Craig
Moving into more light-hearted territory, horror comedy Tucker and Dale vs Evil turns the classic hillbilly killer trope on it head. Two nice and well-meaning rednecks Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) encounter a group of college kids in the backwoods. The kids view them with suspicion and before long set-up about accidentally killing themselves in gloriously bloody and over-the-top ways while Tucker and Dale look on, horrified. The film had a great run on the festival circuit in 2010, getting its world premiere at Sundance and picking up the Audience Award at SXSW that year. For a hilarious horror comedy awash with spectacular splatter and with a clever twist look no further than this gory gem.
3 from Hell is available on DVD from Lionsgate UK. Release date: 14th October 2019