"It is tough viewing: disturbing, repulsive"

Prison films have been a staple of my film viewing diet for over twenty years. Escape from Alcatraz (1979) and Frank Darabont’s Shawshank Redemption (1994) are two classics that spring to mind when one starts to think of movies about incarceration. For me, however, Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1973 adventure film Papillon is the best of its kind. Goldsmith’s powerful and evocative score and McQueen’s performance make the film a classic in the truest sense of the word.

It is, with no great surprise, a shame I cannot say the same about this. 

Dutch director Tom Six’s latest offering, does not deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as these three, nor does it deserve to be labelled as cinema or art or as any other form of artistic expression. It is quite simply an abhorrent, repugnant and nauseating piece of self-indulgent tripe, smugly attempting (and failing) to masquerade as a satirical piece of postmodern cinema. 

Dieter Laser from the first Human Centipede plays prison warden Bill Boss – an angry, racist, homophobic and sexist Neanderthal. Laurence R. Harvey, who played asthmatic car park attendant Martin Lomax in Human Centipede II, is cast as Bill’s accountant Dwight Butler.

Also on board are ex-pornographic actor Bree Olson and Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts who are cast as Daisy the secretary and Governor Hughes, respectively. Roberts’ decision to be a part of this anus-to-mouth faeces fest is particularly puzzling and led me to believe that he was threatened with being part of the actual centipede unless he took the job. 

The plot, again, I use the word loosely; is very simple. The US prison system costs billions of dollars a year.

Discipline is at an all time low. The inmates show little respect to the guards, with ‘death rape!’ being their war cry. Bill and Dwight are about to be sacked unless they improve the prison. The solution comes from Dwight who, being a huge fan of the Human Centipede films pitches his idea to Bill Boss: create a giant Human Centipede using the prisoners.

With the help of director Tom Six, who makes a cameo as himself to prove that the operation is 100% medically accurate, the prison surgeon Dr. Jones (Clayton Rohner), sets to work on creating the abysmal, atrocious arthropod. 

There isn’t an awful lot else to say about the film. It is similar to the first two in that there is a centipede, only much, much longer. It is tough viewing: disturbing, repulsive, but the biggest crime is Six’s arrogance. Yes, he makes fun of himself in his cameo, but there is arrogance about the whole set up. At 102 minutes long, it outstays its welcome and the only positive thing about the film is the subtitle: Final Sequence. Let’s hope Tom Six is true to his word, in that respect.