Saturday, May 23, 2015


(Netherlands - 2015)

Written and directed by Tom Six. Cast: Dieter Laser, Laurence R. Harvey, Eric Roberts, Robert LaSardo, Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Clayton Rohner, Bree Olson, Tom Six, Jay Tavare, Akihiro Kitamura, Bill Hutchens, Carlos Ramirez, Peter Blankenstein. (Unrated, 103 mins)

When it was released in 2010, Tom Six's "100% Medically Accurate" THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE became a legitimate pop culture phenomenon. The saga of a mad doctor (Dieter Laser, still one of the greatest names ever) surgically connecting three unfortunate victims mouth-to-anus to form a "human centipede" with one shared digestive tract was original, to say the least. Late night talk show hosts cracked jokes about it and it didn't even take long for it to be brilliantly parodied on SOUTH PARK. Taken on its own terms, it's a ridiculous yet reasonably effective film that's significantly less graphic than you think, with a genuinely creepy performance by Laser, who does go over the top on occasion, but deservedly enjoyed a very brief run as a horror icon. Six quickly followed it up with 2011's dismal THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (FULL SEQUENCE), a grimy, ugly sequel, shot in black and white, where a socially inept, British HUMAN CENTIPEDE superfan (Laurence R. Harvey) kidnaps a dozen people to form a crude, surgically unskilled 12-person human centipede which includes one of the first film's stars, Ashlyn Yennie, playing herself, coerced into showing up in London after Harvey pretends to be Quentin Tarantino calling her to set up an audition. The sequel was Six's response to the first film's naysayers, many of whom condemned the film without even seeing it, based just on its concept and what they figured it depicted. With the sequel, Six went completely overboard, wallowing in the scatological and showing all of the shit, piss, puke, phlegm, and other bodily functions (plus the squashing of a baby's head) that were missing from the comparatively tactful first entry. Whatever sense of class Six brought to THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE was thoroughly obliterated by FULL SEQUENCE, which was essentially a feature-length tantrum. It's so bad that it retroactively worsens its predecessor.

So what then, does one make of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 (FINAL SEQUENCE), the conclusion of Six's coprophilic trilogy?  By the time the repugnant FULL SEQUENCE ended, the only thing that seemed to be left for Six to do was go door-to-door to shit in your mouth. There's nowhere for him to go except to crank up the shock and outrage factor, so now he's the equivalent of an online troll, throwing one offense after another at the audience to get a reaction from a film that boasts "100% Politically Incorrect." Set at the George H.W. Bush State Prison in Texas, FINAL SEQUENCE has sadistic warden Bill Boss (a chrome-domed Laser) and his hapless sidekick Dwight (Harvey with a Hitler mustache) under fire by the Governor (Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts) over the out-of-control prison population, the rampant violence, and the exorbitant costs as they run way over the state budget. Dwight, a fan of both HUMAN CENTIPEDE films, repeatedly fails to convince Boss that a "human-prison centipede" made out of the 500 inmates is the answer. Instead, Boss prefers going medieval, whether it's force-feeding raw pork to Jewish and Muslim inmates, waterboarding one with boiling water, breaking the limbs of another (Tommy "Tiny" Lister) or castrating yet another (Robert LaSardo) in loving close-up before having the testicles prepared medium-rare and brought to his office for lunch. Boss, who snacks on imported deep-fried African clitorises ("Thank God for Africa! Thank God for female circumcision!" he exclaims), forces his secretary/"cock socket" Daisy (former porn star Bree Olson) to sexually service him ("Tits, I need my ballsack emptied before lunch!"), and never holds back when it comes to the racism, finally agrees to the human-prison centipede after Dwight arranges a meeting with Six, appearing as himself. In this massive undertaking, with the forced help of the prison's unlicensed, unemployable doctor (Clayton Rohner), Boss sees his new grand design of inmate suffering via forced shit-eating: "A Jew behind a Muslim, a Muslim behind a Jew, a Crip behind a Blood, a Republican behind a Mexican..."

There are a couple of genuinely funny moments here, and they're at the expense of Six: he seems to know it's patently absurd that he'd be given the fawning celebrity treatment that he gets here, and prior to his arrival, much is made of his "poop fetish." In the film's only really legitimately good joke, Six vomits and flees the prison in horror when he sees the human-prison centipede surgical procedure in progress ("What a pussy," Boss says). But everywhere else is just one missed opportunity after another. Six seems to have the right idea when it comes satirizing himself, but otherwise, he drops the ball. Why have Roberts (who was just in INHERENT VICE a few months ago and looks embarrassed to be in this) play the Governor as basically "Eric Roberts"?  Why not have him (or someone else who will do anything for money) play it as a riff on George W. Bush or Rick Perry or someone topical?  Six could've made some political jokes here but all the casting of Roberts says is "Eric Roberts said yes, and we could afford him." But without question, the biggest mistake Six makes is doing nothing to reign in Laser, who's been gifted with zero boundaries, engaging in a level of eye-popping, vein-bursting overacting that, with his thick German accent, brings to mind what might've happened if Robin Williams ever went on a talk show and decided to act like Klaus Kinski. Some of Laser's outrageously offensive dialogue might've even played a bit better if he wasn't screaming himself purple in every scene. As a result, his schtick gets old quickly, and the constant racial slurs, degradation of Daisy ("Swallow it, office slut!" he shouts after ejaculating in her mouth), and his endless screaming (often into a megaphone, as if he wasn't already loud enough) have absolutely no entertainment value. Among the many Bill Boss zingers, we have:

  • "Circumcised Jewish goat-fuckers!"
  • "Mother-fisting, baby-raping Mexican lowlifes!"
  • "Pubic-hair-bearded Islamic halal pigs!"
  • "Beaten-up women make me so horny!" (after Daisy is beaten during a prison riot)
  • "Even in a coma, I'll make you squirt!" (said as he has sex with a comatose, post-riot Daisy)

And that's not counting the copious N-words (or "monkey" in Boss' more reflective moments) or other puerile shock tactics, whether it's Boss ripping off one inmate's colostomy bag and shooting him in the colon only to cause an eruption of blood and liquid shit, or a nightmare sequence where LaSardo's furious inmate gets revenge for his castration by slicing open Boss' side and raping him in the kidney. Scenes like this go on and on, with Laser's acting abandoning all illusions of characterization and instead coming off as an all-consuming seizure. It's obvious Six fancies himself some provocateur, but he's really just a grosser, ass-to-mouth-fixated Uwe Boll, offering nothing satirical, with his attempts at going meta very sporadically amusing but mostly failing to live up to their potential. So what we're left with is a thoroughly pointless endeavor anchored by one of the most unbearable, headache-inducing lead performances in the history of cinema.

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