The Human Centipede 3 takes us to the US of A in its next instalment. Set in a state prison, it follows the antics of a prison guard as he struggles to keep his inmates under control. With the threat of losing his job hanging over him, he knows there’s only one thing left to do: make a 500-man centipede out of them and show America that he is the Boss.
The third and final – I hope to god – sequence of the infamous Human Centipede franchise is here and aren’t we all eager to see what happens next! Well, sort of. What can you expect from this grisly sequel? A hell of a lot of ick, yuck and oh-my-god moments, that’s for sure. If you go in expecting anything less than that, then you are making a huge mistake. To describe The Human Centipede 3 as one of the most disgusting films I’ve ever seen would be a complete understatement. It is a relentlessly shocking experience to sit through. But, did I enjoy it? Perhaps shamefully, I almost did. It’s unabashed mocking of America did have me laughing; the frequent cuts to the American flag after some particularly gruesome moments is not done by accident. With a bigger budget and music score, this is the blockbuster entry in the series and it knows it. It ramps up all the elements from the first two films to 1000; gone is the cheap-looking quality, gone is the black-and-white and in its place is a bright, in your face, American fan fare of a film. Hooray!
On a more negative note, the film’s constant, hateful thread of barefaced sexism and misogyny cannot be ignored or excused. There is no place for this in any film, even ones that are trying their damnedest to be the shocker of the century and label themselves as ‘100% politically incorrect’. The treatment of the sole female character is unforgivable and entirely unnecessary. Placed in the position of the receptionist we have a sexy young woman who stumbles around the prison in high heels and a barely-there skirt, catering to the disgusting sexual demands of the prison guard. There is no much-needed moment of relief for this woman and if she’s not down on her knees or bending over a filing cabinet, she’s pitifully crying in the office. It is painful to watch as she degrades and humiliates herself from one moment to the next. Her only role is to be the portrayal of a powerless eye candy, someone who is torn down and completely destroyed. If Tom Six wanted to destroy something beautiful, he damn well did it. By the end of the film she is a shell of a woman; any ounce of her soul has been sucked out and in its place is a weepy, needy and helpless little person. Furthermore, Boss eats from a jar of fried clitorises and yells, “Thank God for Africa and female circumcision!” It’s atrocious and it is this depiction which is the most disgusting thing about The Human Centipede 3.
It’s not just the centipede that gets longer in this one, at 1 hour and 40 minutes this is the longest film of the series – the layers of this film just keep peeling off, don’t they? – and how you will feel its length. I don’t know who suffers more, the viewers or the inmates who are made in to the centipede. The film is loud, brash and a total assault in all ways possible. The aptly named judge Willy Boss – he’s a dick – shouts throughout the entire film. I’m not exaggerating. When he’s not shouting through a megaphone, he’s shouting at people right in front of him or just shouting to himself. It’s unbearable. You have to give it to Dieter Laser though, because he gives one hell of a performance. He is devoted to this role and gives it his all; physically and mentally he throws down all he possibly can to present one of the most detestable and infuriating characters to ever grace the screen. He is truly perfect as a mental prison guard who wants to make a centipede out of the inmates and I’m not sure if that’s a compliment, but it’s the truth. Laurence R. Harvey also makes a return and he is not the same guy as the second film, at all. His character Dwibght Butler is a completely different bumbling, asthmatic, human-centipede-obsessed little freak. OK, so he’s the same but, he does it well. He successfully will get your skin to crawl and that’s all he needs to do, so a gold star for him.
If you thought the second film’s meta and self-referential levels could not not be beaten, then you were wrong. A sunglasses-donned Tom Six makes a marvellous appearance, strutting around the place as if he owns it – which he does, I suppose. He begs to see the centipede in action because he’s only worked on films you see, he’s never seen a REAL human centipede like this one. The amount of love this film has for itself is sickening. It holds itself with pride and parades around the screen with inexcusable levels of self-adoration. This is a film to be loathed, not loved. There are DVDs of the first two films lying around, Bill Boss is frequently shouting about how terrible they are and what an amateur loser Tom Six must be. Dwight fumbles around the office trying to persuade Bill that the only way to get the inmates under control is to follow Tom Six’s fantastic footsteps. However, Boss wants to try out other awful forms of punishment first and they are not pretty. You can almost feel the pain of the inmates, with the sizzling temperatures adding an icky layer of sweat over everything; it almost oozes out of the screen. Boss becomes crazier and crazier as the film progresses; blaming the heat for his rising insanity level. The stark use of yellows and oranges in the film’s colour palette emphasises this, making the film even more uncomfortable and difficult to sit through. All of this is happening before the centipede kicks off, so by the time we have the 500-man centipede glory, it’s a bit of a relief. You know the film is drawing to a close, the end is in sight, we’ve made it.
All in all, The Human Centipede 3 is quite the abomination. You get what you expect, so expect nothing less. It’s gross, it’s horrible, it’s disgusting. There’s nothing else I can say.
Words: Jessy Williams