Friday, 10 July 2015



Let's get one thing straight right from the start: this is probably going to end up as the most revolting film of the year. It's revolting in its on-screen horrors, it's revolting in its verbal vitriol, it's revolting in its ideas, it's revolting in its gloating misanthropy and full-on bad taste. Not that you could expect any film in the Human Centipede series to be restrained and subtle and elegant, but this latest and most likely last instalment simply doesn't know when to stop. The result is one of the most thoroughly mean-spirited and repulsive movies in years: a long way from the bizarro mad scientist comedy of the first film and even from the sexual depravities of the second. Which is emphatically not to condemn it entirely: there are still weirdly interesting things going on.

The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) brings back actors Dieter Laser and Laurence R Harvey from the first two films but in completely different roles. They're warden and accountant respectively at a desert penitentiary in the Deep South: an X-rated Bialystock and Bloom comedy double act in which Harvey flusters as the hapless straight man and Laser bellows endless puerile tirades of racist and homophobic abuse at everyone. With elections approaching, state governor Eric Roberts orders them to get their discipline and recidivism problems under control; in the same post-modern self-referential spirit of the earlier sequel, they take the human centipede concept from Tom Six's films (Six even appears in the film, playing himself, to convince them it's all "100% medically accurate") and apply the technique to their five hundred inmates....

The first problem is that the idea of creating the human centipede takes well over half the running time to even come up; the film is too busy indulging in Laser's hateful and foul-mouthed R Lee Ermey tribute act and his penchant for meaningless, sadistic torture (castration, waterboarding). In addition, secretary Daisy (played by porn star Bree Olson), the only female character in the film, is treated abysmally throughout: she's subjected to endless sexual and physical humiliations and truly doesn't deserve the casual horrors and indignities heaped upon her. It's the callousness and meanness of spirit that appal far more than the centipede itself.

Oddly, the Warden's dismissal of the Human Centipede movies as basically an indulgence for auteur Tom Six's "poop fetish" does have some validity: that singularly repulsive horror of not being at the front of the digestive tract is far worse than anything Jason or Michael Myers can do to you. And although it's played with gusto, it is really the only trump card in its hand. Eventually, the biology of the centipede serves as an analogy for that brilliant central idea: it's good enough for one film but it lacks the nutritional value to sustain anything else afterwards, so the subsequent entities need to be injected with supplements to keep them going. With The Human Centipede Part 2 (which I still think was pretty good) it was the raw, disturbing portrait of insanity conveyed by stark monochrome and hideous sexual wrongness even after the BBFC had rejected the most contentious material; in this one, which has not troubled the censor, it's bulked up with the well-conveyed Deep South heat and Laser's excessively sweary fortissimo rantings.

But it does get a bit wearing after a while and maybe, like the original centipede, three segments is sufficient. Enough taboos have already been broken and it might be time to do something else. That's not to say I didn't get some kind of enjoyment out of it, but it's not a film I'll be looking to rewatch any time soon. The Blu comes with 25 minutes of assorted behind-the-scenes footage and an alternate ending that seems to link back to the first film, and it was probably the right decision to drop it.


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