Following up the earthshakingly shocking 2009 First Sequence with the ‘meta’ Full Sequence (2011) was a brave and surprising thing to do. However, with the Final Sequence in The Human Centipede world, creator Tom Six has warped cinematic reality even further by acknowledging that the first two films are, indeed, fiction and real movies, and even appear onscreen himself.
This instalment takes place in an American prison, where the inmates are running riot and the head honcho, Bill Boss (Laser) would be pulling his hair out if he had any. His tough measures are certainly not working, but that doesn’t stop his sadistic tendencies and demand for respect. After an ultimatum from the local Governor (Roberts), right-hand man and (kind of) rational accountant Dwight Butler (Harvey) comes up with an idea: bind the prisoners together to form a 500-man human centipede, just like the one he’s seen in the movies. Boss isn’t won over at first, lambasting him and his suggestion, “You look precisely like this retard pervert” he yells.
Butler even invites director Tom Six (himself) to give his approval of the scheme. With a surgeon who’s only practicing there as he’s struck off and Boss becoming increasingly unhinged and volatile, a plan is put in place to make the world’s first Prison Human Centipede!
What might come as a surprise to most, is that this third film is actually quite restrained when it comes to the gore and shocking visuals. That’s not to say there’s not plenty here to turn stomachs; believe us, Six is still not pulling his punches! But most of the upsetting things are in the dialogue and actions of the wonderfully over-the-top Bill Boss. Laser appears to be having the time of his life; gurning, tongue-flicking, screaming obscenities and racial abuse while being an absolute bastard to the inmates and his secretary, the sole female character (played by Olson). While her treatment is reprehensible (and incredibly disturbing), one would have expected it to be a hell of a lot worse, particularly when the film purported to be the most offensive film yet. It’s made very clear that Boss, like all bullies, is actually a massive coward who uses his aggression to compensate. Only the stupidest viewer would side with this insane despot.
The film will offend, though, and is certainly not for many tastes. Even fans of the original two may struggle; but stick with it, as there’s a lot of spot-on satire and warped, black humour to be found. Six has managed, once again, to give his critics the fuel they desire to hate him, but by playing against expectations, he’s delivered a funny, sickening and surprising conclusion to his trilogy that has split opinion from day one.
Disturbing in his portrayal of Doctor Heiter, here Dieter Laser is beyond terrifying as the psychopathic Boss. And Laurence Harvey, who as Martin was silent and deadly, shows his true talent for comedy and pathos as the put-upon Butler. Even if his Southern drawl shows signs of Southern Wigan at times. His Oliver Hardy appearance playing perfectly against Boss’ perverse Kurtz.
If Full Sequence was Six deconstructing his audience, Final Sequence is a deconstruction of the rest of the world. From the US (and no doubt elsewhere) penal system (by way of Guantanamo Bay) to human rights, to the ludicrous pressures of budgets. It’s not the Centipede you were expecting but is definitely one that has legs.
Extras: Alternate Ending / Very Entertaining Behind the Scenes Footage, filmed by producer Ilona Six.
INFO: CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: TOM SIX / STARRING: DIETER LASER, LAURENCE R. HARVEY, BREE OLSON, ERIC ROBERTS / RELEASE DATE: JULY 10TH (LIMITED) JULY 20TH (DVD/BLU-RAY/VOD)