Exclusive: Bill Moseley on THREE FROM HELL + Why “Chop-Top” Never Returned to TEXAS
*Spoiler Alert: This article contains mild spoilers for Three From Hell. If your goal is to know as little as possible about a movie until you’ve seen it, bookmark this page and come back later.
Global content leader Lionsgate and Saban Films are unleashing horror icon and heavy metal mastermind Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell, the follow-up to House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, as the next chapter in the blood-soaked crime saga. The film will be released in nearly 900 select movie theaters on September 16, 17 and 18, 2019 through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. Fathom Events will broadcast the unrated version to theaters with each night featuring unique bonus content.
**Tickets for the September 16th/17th/18th nationwide release of 3 FROM HELL are available at FathomEvents.com/3FromHell**
Dread Central was lucky enough to sit down with Otis Driftwood actor and horror icon Bill Moseley to discuss the Firefly Family’s miraculous survival following the bullet-ridden finale of The Devil’s Rejects, along with other details about Three From Hell (now playing in select theaters). Fans of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies will also learn why Chop-Top only appeared in one film. Read on!
Dread Central: When Rob Zombie first approached you about doing Three From Hell, were you as surprised as the rest of us to learn that the Firefly Clan had survived the conclusion of The Devil’s Rejects?
Bill Moseley: I was certainly happy to get the call because it’s a wonderful franchise and Otis is a great character. I was happy to hear that we had somehow, someway we had managed lurched our way into a third movie. For many years, Sid Haig and I sat next to each other at a host of horror conventions. And we would kind of joke with everybody; when somebody would ask if there was going to be a sequel [to The Devil’s Rejects] we’d say “No,” and then in unison, “Because we’re fucking dead!” And so that’s been the conclusion most of us drew.
Then there was the question, “If there were a sequel, how would it work?” Would it be that we died and when to Hell and the Devil rejected us? Would it be the worst kind of Hollywood devices where someone wakes up and it was all a dream? And I think the way it came together was probably the best because if it were a dream, then that would be mean and if we came back from Hell that would be supernatural and that would throw things into a different realm of reality. But the way this goes I think is the best of all possible worlds. And, of course, I was thrilled that the Fireflies were going to fly again!
DC: Hell yeah! I was amazed at how well Richard Brake became a part of the Firefly family, even though he wasn’t in the first two Rejects movies. The chemistry was real and his inclusion felt very authentic. What was it like to work with him in Three From Hell?
BM: I loved working with Richard! I certainly thought he was an incredible force to be reckoned with in 31 [as Doom-Head]. I’d since seen him in Mandy where he had a great scene—with the tiger! [Laughs]. He’s a very solid actor and when he came on the set he was very opened and humbled in the sense that he was very excited to be part of the family. Sometimes, actors coming into a situation like that will have some false bravado and can be tough to deal with. Richard came in opened and ready to play and was so much fun to work with. We really had a ball.
The first time I got an eyeful of Richard’s improv talent was when we’re in the motel and Sheri goes off to do her thing. I suggested we play Fish, so we got the cards out and started playing Go Fish. And through the course of that scene, Richard starts talking about his porno film ambitions. What he was saying was so wild! [Laughs] We really just had so much fun because I love doing that too, just going off. That was hilarious. Then I saw it again in the scene with Bill Obrest, Jr. and my wife (Lucinda Jenney), the two bounty hunters in the woods. And Richard just starts going off again and he does it in such a compelling way: Slow, smart, and just so funny. All in all, the Foxy character was a wonderful bonus. He and Sheri [Moon Zombie] already had a relationship from 31 and it didn’t take long for me to really bond with him as a person as well as an actor and a character.
DC: I was surprised by the genuinely upbeat nature of Three From Hell (at times). It had aspects of a road trip movie and even a buddy flick. And then we see the Firefly family enjoying themselves without even raping or murdering anybody. It made me think Zombie was intentionally trying to show a brighter side of the Fireflies in order to turn you from villains to antiheroes. That’s not really a question, but I’d like to get your thoughts.
BM: That’s a wonderful observation. As far as it went, obviously, with Captain Spaulding (who Rob always called “The Ronald McDonald of the franchise) not being part of the journey, that leaves a huge void. It’s interesting that we do certainly enjoy mayhem and mischief, but I don’t know. Probably because the Fireflies are missing Captain Spaulding, it takes the fun and the heart out of murdering and torturing people—at least for the time being. I think we’re still trying to get on a new footing with Foxy. There are some genuine feelings and there’s a great scene in a Mexican hotel room where we’re missing Spaulding. So there’s kind of that sense of mortality which you don’t see in the first two movies. There’s a sense of growing older and wiser, but at the same time, there’s really is no plan. I don’t know if that somehow works into the perception of the characters. It’s kind of like the ending of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. There’s a kind of existential emptiness, like, “What do we do now? Do we just go shoot up the next people we find? Do we go back to the states? If you think about it, the only one who really has a plan is Foxy.
DC: Whereas The Devil’s Rejects felt like an ending, Three From Hell feels like the first chapter of a new beginning. I know that another Firefly movie depends on Zombie’s schedule and creative urges, but in your mind, as Otis Driftwood, what should come next?
BM: You know, I don’t know. We have a car and the film takes place in the 1960s or 1970s so it probably wouldn’t be too hard for us to get back to the States. I don’t know if we’d press on to Mexico City, but I don’t really see us in a bungalow on the beach, just drinking tequila and sucking limes! But I don’t know. As Otis, I’d certainly rather go back to “civilization” and fuck things up. Maybe even go back to the Firefly house. But I don’t know what the plan is. The Fireflies are really good at acting and reacting in the moment. They had a plan to break Baby out of jail, but there was never a big plan. Maybe that’s something for Rob to figure out.
DC: Switching gears for just a second, Texas Chainsaw Massacre fans know that there was almost a Chop-Top spinoff movie (tentatively titled American Massacre). Considering Chop-Top has remained iconic since the 1980’s is there any chance we’ll see that character again? And would you even be interested in reviving the role?
BM: Well I certainly would, because Chop-Top is still with me every day—no pleasure to my children necessarily, or the dog for that matter. I’m always going, “Dog will hunt!” It’s funny because when we did Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D in 2013 I played Drayton Sawyer. And I remember when the producer called me up and said they were making a new Chainsaw movie, some kind of spinoff from the original, “and we want you to play Drayton”. And I just thought that was like asking Curly to play Moe in a remake of The Three Stooges. Why wouldn’t I play Chop-Top?
What I found out is that Lionsgate owned the rights to the characters and Chop-Top wasn’t included because he was created for the sequel [Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, released in 1986]. The sequel is owned by Sony so they didn’t have the rights to Chop-Top. They would have had to negotiate for the character with Sony, which they didn’t do. So that’s why I ended up playing Drayton which was a great challenge and a lot of fun to do nonetheless.
I would love to play Chop-Top again, but we’d have to rescue him from Sony’s legal department.
DC: Let’s start a petition!
BM: [Laughs] Yeah, let’s start a petition!
DC: Do you have anything else you’d like to share with our readers before I let you go?
BM: I did want to give a shout to David Daniel, the cinematographer on Three From Hell. He’s been with Rob since The Devil’s Rejects and he’s a great cinematographer. Getting the gang back together doesn’t just mean the actors in front of the camera but a lot of the crew. I want to give a shout-out to those who don’t get as much of the spotlight as they deserve.
3 From Hell will reunite the Firefly clan (Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Sid Haig); the film will also feature Richard Brake, Emilio Rivera, Danny Trejo, Kevin Jackson, Wade Williams, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Pancho Moler, Daniel Roebuck, David Ury, Sean Whalen, Austin Stoker, Dee Wallace, Bill Oberst Jr., Dot-Marie Jones, and Tom Papa.
Are you excited to see 3 From Hell (now playing in select theaters)? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.