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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) movie review: cruel intentions

The Human Centipede III Final Sequence red ilght

I have a terrible suspicion that filmmaker Tom Six would be delighted to learn that someone in the real world had tried to create a human centipede.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): despise this series

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

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.

See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) for its representation of girls and women.

red light 0 stars

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The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (2015)
US/Can release: May 22 2015 (VOD same day)
UK/Ire release: Jul 10 2015

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 18 (strong bloody violence, gore, sexual violence)

viewed on my iPad

more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Constable

    Why on earth did you watch this?

  • Danielm80

    Canary. Coal mine. A film critic’s life is not an easy one.

  • Jurgan

    Ugh, this sounds like shit. I saw the first one- it wasn’t good by any means, but at least it tried to have some sort of a story and suspense. It didn’t work (mainly because the main characters were unbearably stupid), but it attempted to be something more than just the gimmick. Now… Okay, 500 people is “medically accurate?” No. The first movie was perhaps plausible in what was done, but it also showed the people almost immediately started dying of trauma and infection. So it accurately showed that the “human centipede” wouldn’t really work for more than a day or two. Really, it’s clear they’re not even trying for anything more than shock value at this point. Sadly, this will probably end up on shelves alongside Serbian Film and Salo for people who consider sitting through gruesome movies a badge of honor. Myself, I think I’ll stay far away.

  • So you didn’t have to.

  • Constable

    Thanks, not that I was considering it at all.

  • Sarah

    Maryann, my jaw literally hit the floor when I opened your website to find out that *this* got a full-length review. Feeling sorry for you – but hey, at least Fifty Shades isn’t in bottom 10 anymore! Did you actually sit through the whole thing?

  • Danielm80

    Unfortunately, I think you need to write a rant explaining what a critic’s job is: A movie reviewer wil watch a movie she might not like, and she has to sit through the whole thing. Oh, and she might even disagree with other critics who saw the same movie.

  • RogerBW

    And if that’s not a good enough reason to subscribe, I don’t know what is.

  • Yes, of course I sat through the whole thing.

  • Anne-Kari

    Good grief, MaryAnn. The bullets you take for us…

  • David C-D

    No doubt, MaryAnn has a strong stomach. I can imagine that some movie reviewers might have limits on the type of movies that they would subject themselves to.

  • Proustable M.

    Have you ever walked out a movie?

  • Not in years, but I have a few times, including Daddy Day Camp and Meet Dave. But I mentioned that fact in my reviews, and I would have here, too, if I’d done that.

  • LorinGeitner

    Sounds _revolting_!

    You’ve watched it so now we don’t have to!

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