The Human Centipede was shocking in concept alone, not to mention filmmaker Tom Six’s unflinching approach to the actual acts. It arrived at the tail end of an era of torture porn horror films, including the final entry of the Saw franchise a mere six months later, but took the genre in a new direction with the inclusion of a mad-scientist angle. Dieter Laser chewed the scenery as Dr. Heiter, carrying out an experiment that Six still insists to be 100% medically accurate.
If The Human Centipede was shocking in concept and followed through with execution, the sequel somehow managed to increase both creativity and shock value. The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) has moments of absolute brilliant excess in the actual nitty-gritty of the film’s abuse and degradation under the thin pretense of medical experimentation, but the real genius comes in the actual concept of the movie’s plot. Rather than keep the same villain from the first film, the sequel is about a nearly mute psychopath named Martin (Laurence R. Harvey), whose obsession with The Human Centipede film leads him to carry out his own makeshift experiment. This time around, the promise was for carnage that is 100% medically inaccurate.
Here’s where things get tricky; now I have to review The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) having already explained that the first sequel doubled down on both creativity and shocking gore. Anyone who has experienced the first two films will first and foremost want to know if the film manages to top the prior two. The answer is yes, but not in the ways that you would expect, and likely not the way most horror fans would have hoped. In terms of shocking sequences, The Human Centipede III comes nowhere close to the previous installment. On the other hand, this is the most striking in terms of political and social satire, fittingly given the tagline "100% Politically Incorrect." And the film still has its hand at excess, though this time it comes in the form of Dieter Laser’s delightfully over-the-top performance.
The Human Centipede III brings back both of the previous do-it-yourself scientists/madmen, though they are portraying wholly new characters. Laser is Bill Boss, a telling name for the gun-wielding warden of a
prison named after George W. Bush. Between drinking heavily and sexually
abusing his secretary, Daisy (played by former adult star, Bree Olson), Boss
must come up with a plan to pull the prison out of financial ruin before the
return visit of the apathetic Governor Hughes (Eric Roberts). Laurence R.
Harvey once again introduces the previous films as reason to carry out a new experiment,
though this time as Boss’s surprisingly level-headed assistant, Dwight Butler. Texas
The ‘Human Centipede’ procedure is seen as the solution to the problems of the American prison system; while cutting down on feeding and housing costs, it also serves as a far more frightening deterrent than mere imprisonment ever could be. Even though to be fair, it should be stated that Boss goes far beyond merely imprisoning his inmates. In a sequence likely to leave even Hannibal Lector slightly repulsed, the warden performs castration on an inmate before revealing a series of disturbing food preferences. But even this is not enough to get the hardened criminals to break down and behave, so filmmaker Tom Six is called in as an advisor for a real ‘Human Centipede’ experiment, attaching 500 prison inmates to become a singular digestive tract.
While there are a few creative twists along the way, including Six appearing as himself, I found myself initially disappointed that it did not reach a bit further in terms of basic concept. Then with time and helpful discussion, I began to see where the film’s true inspiration lay. Although there is once again reference to the film franchise, a device already used in the previous sequel, the creativity and shock value of this film comes in how offensive and vulgar Boss manages to be without lifting a single scalpel. His dialogue alone is rife with equal-opportunity racial slurs, sexist slander, and longwinded right-wing rants, all coming through the manic performance by Laser. Laser doesn’t just chew the scenery; he nearly gnaws his own limbs off at the pinnacle of hammy hilarity.
Some may be disappointed by the shift in focus for this final film, but I can appreciate the director’s unwillingness to repeat himself in each of the sequels. While audiences may not have been prepared for the visual overkill of the second film, it is the screenplay’s satire that is most likely to catch American audiences off-guard in The Human Centipede III. It is fitting that within the dialogue of this final film “
” is mentioned, in reference to
their Human Centipede parody episode,
because that seems to be the tone of this film’s satire. Or perhaps it is
merely that Laser’s performance is as animated as any cartoon I have ever seen.
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 5/10