I’m not sure I’ve ever endured such ludicrous evidence of a filmmaker more in love with himself and his work than Dutch writer and director Tom Six displays in The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence). This is now the second film he has made praising the expression of his own demented imagination in The Human Centipede (First Sequence) as something so astonishing and inventive as to be the stuff that drives madmen to imitate it. The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) — which I have seen but not reviewed, it is so revolting and utterly without the smallest iota of merit — is about a man so taken with the notion, as seen in the first movie, that one might surgically connect people ass-to-mouth in a human chain that he is moved to attempt this himself. Now, in III, the same thing happens again, with both previous films — acknowledged and referenced here as fictional movies — galvanizing an insane prison warden (Dieter Laser: Big Girls Don’t Cry) and his accountant (Laurence R. Harvey) to implement a 500-inmate human centipede as a money-saving measure. No more guards or fences or catering budgets!
I have a terrible sneaking suspicion that Six would be delighted to learn that someone in the real world had tried to create a human centipede.
That Laser and Harvey are the actors who portrayed the sick fucks at the center of, respectively, the first and second movies is meant to be clever, or funny, or something. That Six appears as himself to reassure the warden that a human centipede is entire medically accurate is far more perverse than almost anything else in this movie, and that’s a high bar. This is a movie that is sadistic for sadism’s sake alone, and that’s before it even gets to its horrific medical experimentation. (You might want to take out your barf bags before continuing to read.) This film includes repeated sexual abuse and humiliation of the warden’s secretary (porn star Bree Olson); the graphic castration of a prisoner; waterboarding with boiling water; and many other much worse horrors… merely because Six envisaged them and deemed them “entertaining.” He is no different than the warden, then, for there’s barely a plot here, just loosely connected sketches about the warden’s capacity for perpetrating terrible, cruel, dehumanizing acts on other people. The centipede stuff is actually much tamer than in the other movies, as if, perhaps, Six has gotten bored with that and needed something more hardcore to get off on. (That does tend to happen when one exposes oneself to sick shit: it starts to seem mild and you need to amp it up.)
Six might think he is celebrating himself, but he’s only made a bad parody of his own work. Or perhaps he has created his own pathetic fan fiction. Certainly, Human Centipede III has even less to say about anything than the earlier films do, which is quite a feat; a limp attempt at pretending to offer some commentary about Guantanamo Bay and American torture is so tacked on that its easy “joke” about this taking place at “George H.W. Bush Prison” goes wide. (That Bush had left the White House in 1993.)
How does a movie like this get produced? How does it get distribution? Why did any actors agree to appear in it? (Eric Roberts has finally hit rockbottom here as the state governor and the warden’s boss. And I thought things couldn’t get worse for him after Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs.) How does anybody face their mother, their friends, themselves in the mirror after being involved with making a movie like this? How have we become so reflexive inhuman that this is offered as, and will be accepted by some, as something fun, just a laugh?
I’m really worried about us.