3 From Hell Director Rob Zombie Explains Why We Probably Won’t See Dr. Satan Again

Devil's Rejects 3 From Hell

With the upcoming 3 From Hell, Rob Zombie continues the saga of Captain Spaulding, Baby and Otis that began with 2003’s House of 1000 Corpses and continued with 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects. But as the series moves into its third installment, you may’ve noticed that one sinister character from the first film has been completely left behind.

We’re specifically referring to Dr. Satan, who was portrayed by Walter Phelan in House of 1000 Corpses but was a no-show for The Devil’s Rejects and won’t be returning for 3 From Hell. Speaking to Bloody Disgusting, Zombie reflected on the twisted physician, and his reasons for excluding the character from the first sequel:

“Yeah, I got rid of him on The Devil’s Rejects. I brought in the character with the idea that I would incorporate him into the [sequel] and try to bring him into the more realistic world that the films had evolved into, but it just looked stupid. So I just abandoned it.”

While Zombie shot some footage of Dr. Satan for The Devil’s Rejects, it quickly became apparent that the character simply didn’t fit in with the grittier tone of the 1000 Corpses follow-up:

“Like, House of 1,000 Corpses was so cartoony and psychedelic and weird you could kind of do anything. But when I shot the scenes for Devil’s Rejects with Dr. Satan, almost instantly I was like, ‘This is stupid. This is not going to work.’”

Given that Dr. Satan hasn’t been seen since the climax of the first movie, Zombie has argued that it’s up to the viewer to decide whether he even existed in the first place:

“I left it so that it could be whatever. Is it real? Is it probably just the girl, that Denise, after a long night of being tortured and watching all of her friends killed, maybe she just went cuckoo and was imagining all these crazy things? You know, I thought for that film it’s best just leave it as however people want to interpret it.”

Of course, had Dr. Satan returned for The Devil’s Rejects, the nature of his existence would’ve been a lot less ambiguous, and if you ask Zombie, that’s not necessarily a good thing:

“But to try to go, ‘Okay, we’re going to go out into the sunlight with Sheriff Wydell and the Rejects on the run, and hey! There’s Dr. Satan in the back of the van!’ You go, ‘Okay that’s just so dumb I can’t even think about it.’”

In any case, it’s all history now, and with the imminent release of 3 From Hell, Zombie is set to bring us right up to date on the exploits of Spaulding, Baby and Otis. You can expect to see plenty more carnage and insanity from the psychotic trio when the flick hits theaters on September 16th, before coming to DVD and Blu-Ray on October 15th.