Holy crap. Where do I even begin? I’m sure if you’re reading thing, you’ve at least heard of the “Human Centipede” movies. They’re notorious just just being grotesque, but I loved 1 and 2. 1 had a pretty simple plot: there was a mad scientist that kidnapped 3 people, and literally made a human centipede of them, surgically sewing their mouths to asses, so they would share one digestive tract. Yes, it’s insane. It was the first movie I’d watched that literally made me question my humanity. Why was I watching this? Do I *really* live in a world where people make this stuff? Contrary to those original thoughts, I enjoyed the movie very much. Despite what you might think, it had good acting, lots of tension, and just this “car crash” aspect about it. The came Part 2. Tom Six, the writer and director of the series, is pretty bombastic with what he says. He’d promised that Part 2 would make Part 1 look like a Disney film (I think that was his actual quote). In the lead up to the release, I remember watching these videos they were doing to promote the film where they would pick random people on the street, bring them in this little trailer, and have them watch footage from the film. You couldn’t see what they were seeing, but you could definitely see their reactions. Reactions that included crying, screaming, vomiting, passing out. And yes, Part 2 definitely stakes claim as being one of the most twisted and disturbing things put to film, even to a point to where it became so much that it was over the top. In Part 2, it’s a movie-within-a-movie scenario, as there’s this disturbed little security guard guy who is obsessed with the first movie, and decides he wants to make a real life human centipede, but with 12 people! That film had so many disturbing acts that I better not even list them here.
Naturally, I loved it. It was an expansion on the first, an original take and not just a straight up sequel, and I just enjoyed the over the top depravity of it, and it’s definitely my go-to gross out movie to show people. Tom Six had always talked about how it was going to be a trilogy, and that Part 3 would be the big she-bang, the biggest one of all. Did he deliver on his promise? Well, not really, at all. The movie is slightly entertaining, and if you’ve seen the first two, you owe it to yourself to finish out the trilogy. The one thing that I’m shocked about, ironically, is how little gore there was. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no “Laverne and Shirley”, but compared to what was in 1 and 2, 3 seemed kind of tame in some ways. So this one continues the movie-within-a-movie motif again, but with the 2 lead actors from the 1st and 2nd, in different roles. The mad doctor from the 1st, played by Dieter Laser, and then the disturbed little man from the 2nd, played by Laurence R. Harvey. Laser plays a character of Bill Boss, a ward in a Texas prison. And Harvey plays Dwight, his accountant. Before I delve any deeper, the number one reason to watch this movie is to see the most honest to goodness, madly maniacal, insane performances I’ve ever seen. He an older German guy, speaks pretty broken English, and just his performance is a wonder. I would seriously love to know the direction that was given to him. To describe him would be to say, imagine a crazy, old German guy, whom they have given mega doses of crystal meth to, and gave him a list of all the most offensive, dirty, racist, sexist words you can come up with, and him spout them off while running and singing and dancing, while he stops to shoot someone every little bit, and “ready! get set! go!!!”. His performance is just such an unbelievable oddity here. So I honestly don’t know if that’s all direction and acting, or if the guy really is off kilter.
Dwight, played by Harvey, is his accountant/assistant/whatever. Costs have skyrocketed, people who are going into prison aren’t being rehabilitated correctly, everything at the prison is in shambles. They have 2 weeks to make a vast improvement, an ultimatum given by the Governor, played by Eric Roberts, who I think is in every single movie made in the last 17 years. They see the previous 2 films and decide to make an even bigger human centipede with the prisoner, over 300 of them. Most movies that are so over the top like this, have subtext to them, usually a social commentary on a social or political issue. This movie was written very scathingly about the ineptitudes of the US judicial and penal systems. For example, Dwight spends the entire movie spouting out numbers and figures about how much it costs to do everything and take care of everyone, the obscene costs of medical care for prisoners, food, etc.. So this is their brilliant plan: create the gigantic human centipede. Not only would it cut down on costs in nearly every way, but probably more importantly, it would deter future would-be criminals when they say what their cruel fate in prison would be.
Director Tom Six actually becomes a character in the movie, as himself, as he agrees to let them use his idea, so long as they agree to let him see the creation of the centipede. I guess it’s done to enforce the meta aspect, hammering the movie-in-a-movie angle, and I would expect that Six is all but literally looking at us and winking, but he never removes his sunglasses, so who knows. One thing that I find so hilarious is the painstaking detail the movie takes to explain the minute details of how this thing would work. In talking to friends about the idea, they say “oh, it would never work, *insert logical reason here*”, but the movie oddly has a logic for everything. One of the big gimmicks of the first one was that it was “100% Medically Accurate”, and they continue to hammer that home. So ultimately, by the time we get to our big conclusion, it becomes a little anti-climatic actually. The impact and just visual shock of seeing 300 people sewn together like that, weirdly enough, isn’t quite as visceral as seeing 3. I don’t know if it’s just because it’s *so* over the top or why that is
So the two big questions: is it good and should you watch it? First, is it good? No, not particularly, and I say that as a huge fan of the first two. I can appreciate a certain beauty in brutality in some sense, I guess in the same way that some people look at a bad painting and see a masterpiece. I’m not a vicious person, but as long as something interests me, entertains me, or intrigues me and gets me to thinking, I can find appreciation for it, somewhere deep down. But this movie isn’t like that. It tries too hard to be visually abhorrent when it’s not really, and it tries too hard to be funny when it’s not, at least in a wink-wink-nod-nod way. The entire meta-movie thing is silly, but it wouldn’t be as bad if it didn’t have the same actors as the first two had. But I’m one of those that says that you can’t have Chris Evans be Human Torch AND Captain America both. So should you watch it? Yes, you should. I don’t recommend buying it, as I watched it on Netflix, but it’s something unique that some will enjoy. It does have some entertaining things, but mostly, everyone should watch it for Dieter Laser’s performance as the warden. I’m not even kidding when I talk about how insane this performance is. You know how when you play Scrabble and in your mind, you’re going through these letters trying to piece together and form coherent words? That’s basically what his role is. Think of every offensive, racist, sexist, derogatory term you can possibly imagine it, string them together *incoherently*, and that’s his performance. Half the words he uses are words he can’t even pronounce correctly, which is indicative of what this movie is: something that tries so hard to be offensive and shocking that it’s not. But I do give them credit for trying to be so offensive in this overly PC world. I gotta give Dieter Laser’s performance a 12 out of 10 on the batshit crazy scale, but...
“The Human Centipede 3” gets 6 Human Caterpillars out of 10