The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Monster Pictures
Written and directed by Tom Six
2015, 102 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on July 13th 2015
Dieter Laser as Bill Boss
Laurence R. Harvey as Dwight Butler
Tom Six as Himself
Eric Roberts as Governor Hughes
One can't help but admire Human Centipede creator and director Tom Six. Where most horror franchises quickly settle into a dull routine of rinsing and repeating the first movie's previous antics over and over again, The Human Centipede's Stetson-wearing horror madman can barely bring himself to stick with one subgenre, let alone story. So while the first film was a tongue-in-cheek mad scientist body horror movie, the second a black-and-white arthouse torture flick, for his Final Sequence, Six goes for balls-to-the-wall (almost literally at one point) black comedy.
Those expecting something akin to the previous film's notoriously controversial scenes of gore and violence may be disappointed – it's surprisingly tame, lacking anything that might match Full Sequence's sandpaper masturbation or newborn-squishing-car-escape sequences. That, by the way, is not necessarily a bad thing. While there's plenty here to offend and upset, it's more concerned with its interplay between Dieter Laser and Laurence R. Harvey. The setting this time is a giant state prison, Laser playing the part of sadistic warden Bill Boss, forever seeking new and interesting ways of visiting cruel and unusual punishment upon his prisoners. When right-hand man Dwight (Harvey with a Hitler moustache) lends Boss the first two Human Centipede movies, a solution to their problems becomes apparent.
And that's that, where plot is concerned. As with the previous two films, the only thing moving the narrative is the inevitable, impending centipede. Because we know that the centipede is coming, there's no sense of tension or drama; no point stopping to care about any of the characters (all horrible anyway). Because we know that the centipede is coming, the amount of time Boss spends debating whether to go ahead or not is entirely moot. Most of the film is spent watching Dwight try to convince Boss that the centipede idea is a viable one. But we know it is – the finished product is on the movie poster in its (500 person!) entirety. The story is an inert redundancy. The only dramatic hook is the question whether Governor Eric Roberts will like Bill Boss's Human Centipede or not.
Looking mostly bemused by it all, Roberts is one of the few reasons to stick with the sequence to its end. He's barely in it, but he serves as a nice counterpoint to Laser's hyperactive gurning and Harvey's Martin Freeman-esque straight man routine. Both are barely watchable, Laser a bug-eyed annoyance, Harvey stilted and uncomfortable. The less said about Tom Six playing himself, the better. Suffice to say that he doesn't do so well. Viewers will recognise the prisoners from a number of eerily similar roles (most notably the big guy who throws Joker's bomb detonator off a boat in The Dark Knight and a tattooed fellow who always seems to play rapey types). There's a satirical edge that one might not expect, Boss's cruelty challenging ideals, asking the audience where the boundaries should lie when it comes to the criminal justice system. Specifically, the issue of prison rape, and those who consider it to be either funny or 'justice', on some level. Sadly, I don't doubt at all that there are those who will watch The Human Centipede III and side with Bill Boss. Deranged idiots, I mean.
Such ideas are at play here, but that's not to say they're handled very well. It's a film which revels in its violations, from the ass-to-mouth practicality of the Human Centipede to Bill Boss's prison castrations, various rape sequences and the repeated molestation of its only female character. Amidst it all, there are moments of amusement and genuine smarts, but these are too few and far between to make a difference. It's shockingly shoddy (the least well made of the trilogy), saddeningly unfunny and not even nearly as offensive or clever as it thinks it is. Never mind his 500 prisoners – here we witness a Human Centipede of one; Tom Six disappearing deeply up his own arse.