AUGUST 1, 2015
"It’s actually much tamer than I was expecting" - BC, Human Centipede 1 review
"I kind of admire the attitude Six took with his approach to a followup, and... I find myself actually excited about the upcoming third film." - BC, Human Centipede 2 review
With that, on the behalf of anyone else who gave these movies a pass I'd like to apologize for the existence of The Human Centipede 3 [Final Sequence]. Apparently, people like me didn't learn our lesson last time, and now Tom Six has taken it upon himself to push our endurance even further, with a film so ugly that racial slurs barely even register. The "point" of this movie (and possibly the series as a whole) is pretty easy to discern, when Dieter Laser's character (a sadistic prison warden - he's not playing his HC1 character), dressed in attire much like that of Tom Six himself, comes across a prisoner who WANTS to be part of a human centipede. Laser instantly shoots him dead while screaming "I don't want anyone liking this!", and then it finally hit me: we were never supposed to enjoy even the first film of this series.
Seriously, what else could one possibly take away from that moment? It can't be coincidence that Laser is dressed as Six (since Six even appears in the movie as himself, wearing a nearly identical outfit, it's not like it requires you to have insider knowledge to see the connection, he puts it into the goddamn movie), and he is literally angry that someone might actually be enjoying the idea of a human centipede. So I have no choice but to believe he was somehow angry (or at least, surprised) that people made comments like mine on his first movie, prompting his much more vile sequel, and then when some folks (again, like me, albeit not nearly as enthusiastic as I was for the first) didn't write him off after that, he decided he had to be a bit more blunt. OK, Mr. Six - you win. I hated your new movie and won't watch a fourth one if you inflict one upon us. Are you happy now?
So what's the difference between this and the last one? Well, once again (as predicted) we learn that the previous movie was just a movie, one quite enjoyed by an accountant played by Laurence Harvey (the actor who played the protagonist in HC2, also as a new character who doesn't notice the physical resemblance to the guy he's watching on screen) but very much hated by his boss (Laser's warden character). The warden is a total psychopath who abuses his prisoners in a variety of ways (including waterboarding with boiling water) and forces his assistant (Bree Olson, the film's only female character) to fellate him on the regular. Somehow even worse than that is Laser's insistence on screaming every one of his lines in an accent that can best be described as a bad, half-drunk Al Pacino impression, which I assume is supposed to be funny but often just made me reaching to turn on the subtitles. Harvey fares a bit better playing a weak-willed right hand man of sorts, though his role mostly consists of endlessly pleading with Laser to hear an idea he has.
After a half hour or so of this bullshit (which includes Laser eating from a jar of severed, dried clitorises, plus other prisoner torture scenes, including a graphic castration), Harvey finally gets to explain his idea: turning all of the prisoners (500+) in a giant human centipede, which will not only satisfy his boss' need for inflicting trauma on his prisoners, but also save the state some money on food and other expenditures (plus deter crime on the outside world, as no one would want to commit murder, rape, theft, etc if it meant they might end up in one). The warden is into the idea, and shows the prisoners the first two films to let them know what they're in for. This causes a riot, in which Olson is beaten nearly to death for no real reason (other than to allow Laser to rape her while she's in a coma), but it's settled rather quickly and the warden is free to carry out his plan. This involves killing a few more prisoners (including one with a colostomy bag who wouldn't be able to fit into the centipede properly) and other tone-deaf attempts at humor, so by the time the centipede is actually formed the (painfully long 102 minute) movie is just about over.
Speaking of the length, I'm almost willing to bet that the movie was never actually edited. Full-screen titles usually include the editor's credit, and in the rare instances that he/she is not given the respect of their own card, they'll be listed pretty early in the scrolling part of the credits. But here it's buried beneath the caterer, almost at the very end, making me wonder if the "editor" was merely the person responsible for taking all of Six' garbage footage and putting it in order. Scenes go on forever, any number of them could have been cut outright (if anyone can justify the dream sequence where Laser is stabbed and then raped in the wound, by all means let's hear it), and there's no flow whatsoever - it's just THERE. Sure, they might have spent some time making sure the color matched and the sound editing was up to standards, but I honestly can't see Six, an editor, and maybe a producer sitting there debating over whether or not to trim down the scene where Laser fires his gun into the prison's ceiling over and over for no discernible reason. Christ, even though fellow abuse factory Salo is actually longer, its less of an endurance - and that's not even played for laughs!
The sad thing is that there's a kernel of an interesting idea here, though it would have worked better if the first sequel hadn't already explored the idea of someone seeing the movie and trying to copy it. It's taken to ridiculous extremes, of course (and it involves a human caterpillar, which is the same thing but also with their limbs removed), but since the prison is basically a torture camp I think it's almost amusing that the maven of such activity would get "better" ideas from a horror movie (the prisoners also shout things that are taken verbatim from bad reviews of the movies, which I found pretty hilarious). I also somewhat enjoyed the doctor character, played by 80s mainstay Clayton Rohner, who was kind of giddy about trying something so insane. Perhaps if Laser was restrained (or the role just given to someone else entirely) Six could have at least pulled off some of the humor he was going for, but Laser is just so atrocious, bordering on unwatchable, that he drags down any comedic potential around him (he's in pretty much every frame of the movie so there's rarely a chance to escape the black hole of his performance). And the movie would still be garbage anyway, since Six' only concern is making sure no one walks out saying "It wasn't as fucked up as I expected".
In fact it's so bad it kind of makes me retroactively dislike the original. Some bad sequels are worthwhile because they just serve as a reminder of how good we had it once upon a time, but my take away from this one is that we were supposed to hate that one too. Had we all done that, maybe Six would have been satisfied with whatever it is he was trying to accomplish and moved on by now. This could have been the newest original film from an intriguing new director, and instead it's a terrible 3rd entry in a series that never should have been one. So what incentive do I have to go back and watch the first, when I'll end up lamenting at what a joke Six had become? I'll just do what I/we should have done in the first place and ignore it.
What say you?
P.S. Sadly this isn't even the worst movie I watched this week. I also suffered through Toolbox Murders 2, which is as good as you can expect a movie that's been on the shelf for four years to be. Within the first 5-10 minutes I was reminded of Ulli Lommel movies like Curse of the Zodiac, so that should be a strong enough warning for you to stay as far the fuck away from it as you possibly can.