With horror gaining more ground on television than in the theaters, I was really looking forward to this movie. The first Human Centipede movie rose to infamy due to its concept alone – it’s actually surprisingly tasteful and classy, considering the subject. It took the classic mad scientist to a new extreme. You almost expected Dieter Laser to shout, “It’s alive!” On the second movie, filmmaker Tom Six made some bold creative choices that paid off. His use of black and white almost served as an homage to Easerhead. He broke the fourth wall and worked the first film into the sequel in a effective manner, while bringing the grit and gore the first film held back on. So, having followed the third film’s development online, I knew he would not retread the same ground. The third movie is a tribute to exploitation films of the 70’s. The influence of David Lynch on Six’s work only haunts the film in the awkward bursts of insanity from the Warden.
This movie is less horror and more of a gender-reversed tribute to the girls in prison films. This casts an often homoerotic shadow. In fact, it would be almost all man-on-man action if not for the over the top t&a sex kitten secretary played by porn star Bree Olson. Tom Six is well aware that most porn stars look better with their clothes on, as it’s the “about to burst out of them” motif that builds adolescent tension. This time the cinematography is less daring and lines up with other exploitation homages such as the Machete movies, Hobo with a Shotgun, Iron Sky or Bitch Slap. If you have seen Ilsa the Wicked Warden, you have practically seen this movie before. Despite Tom Six playing it a little safer with a more tried and true formula, he does make some bold choices. One of them being that the gore factor is almost non-existent. He is smart not to try and go more over the top in this department than he did with the second movie. The third film borders on not being a horror movie at all. It could could be a Quentin Tarantino film as the dialogue wanders off into witty monologues. He played to the actors’ strengths, and that sort of banter would not have worked for Laurence Harvey and Olson, who turn out to steal the show from Laser this time around. Laser’s brand of crazy worked better in the first film; here it’s more depraved, but not as focused as a control freak should be.
The actual centipede crawl takes a back seat to all the other forms of torture explored here. While it’s not as immaculate as the first film, to Six’s credit, this is a better film than most of the wannabe exploitation films. If you are a die hard Centipede fan, hungry for more torture porn, it is worth your Sunday afternoon, but don’t go into this expecting a horror film and you won’t be let down. What I am looking forward to? Seeing where Six goes from here and if he is a one trick pony or not, but after the first two films, I have faith. The bar was raised really high here, so it’s understandable why he really didn’t take the leap. Well, at least he has 70’s retro out of his system for whatever he embarks on next. You can bet you won’t be doing any re-makes of other horror movies.