Director/Screenplay – Tom Six, Producers – Ilona Six & Tom Six, Photography (b&w) – David Meadows, Music – James Edward Barker, Visual Effects – Joost Hagedoorn, Special Effects Supervisor – Jonathan Bullock, SFX Prosthetics – Lifecast (Supervisor – John Schoonraad), Production Design – Thomas Stefan. Production Company – Six Entertainment.
Laurence R. Harvey (Martin Lomax), Vivien Bridson (Misses Lomax), Lee Harris (Dick), Ashlyn Yennie (Herself), Bill Hutchens (Dr Sebring), Maddi Black (Candy), Kandace Caine (Karrie), Dominic Borrelli (Paul), Lucas Hansen (Ian), Dan Burman (Greg), Daniel Jude Gennis (Tim), Georgia Goodrick (Valerie), Emma Lock (Kim), Katherine Templar (Rachel), Peter Blankenstein (Alan)
Martin works as a security guard in a London car park building. He is socially handicapped due to sexual abuse by his father. He is obsessed with the film ‘The Human Centipede (First Sequence)’ and is determined to recreate the experiment conducted by the film’s mad doctor of surgically attaching people together in a single digestive system with each person’s mouth connected to the next person’s anus. He starts shooting and abducting people from the parking building, along with others. These include his bullying neighbour, even Ashlyn Yennie, one of the stars of ‘The Human Centipede’, who has come to London for an audition. Imprisoning ten people in a warehouse, he crudely staples them together into one body with their mouths sewn to the other’s anus.
The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009) was a considerable sensation around the world when it came out. The film’s central concept of a mad surgeon stitching three people together as a single digestive system with their mouths attached to each other’s anuses shocked audiences. Expectedly, there was censorship outrage with ten minutes of running time being cut in some countries and the film banned outright in others. Director/writer Tom Six always intended to turn Human Centipede into a trilogy and makes the second entry with The Human Centipede (Full Sequence) here. This too experienced censorship problems and was initially banned in the UK, while being cut of some three minutes in US release.
The basic idea of the surgeon who attaches people in a daisy chain with mouths to each other’s anus might seem a one-note idea – it is hard to think that it would have enough to the material beyond shock value to be able to extend to a trilogy of films. Not to mention the fact that mad surgeon Dieter Laser was killed at the end of First Sequence so you wonder where the series has to go from there.
Tom Six has essentially decided to mess around with the concept a little. The most amusing idea is where he borrows a leaf or two from works like Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) and Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) and has The Human Centipede (Full Sequence) take place in the ‘real world’ where The Human Centipede (First Sequence) was just a movie – we see Laurence R. Harvey obsessively watching the original – clips and the end credits from the film play on his dvd – and he keeps a scrapbook of stills and posters. One of the more amusing touches is Tom Six recasting Ashlyn Yennie from the first film as herself where she plays the part as a self-absorbed Hollywood actress who turns up in London for a casting call for the “new Tarantino film” only to be abducted by Laurence R. Harvey and made part of the ten person centipede.
Tom Six’s considerable find with this film is Laurence R. Harvey – not to be confused with the late actor Laurence Harvey of The Manchurian Candidate (1962) fame and father of Domino Harvey of Domino (2005). With a squat, tubby build, a balding sweaty round face with big bug eyes popping out from behind his glasses, Harvey is maybe the least un-Hollywood of actors you can conceive in a leading role. He gives an entirely non-speaking performance where everything is communicated either by the blank or gleeful expressions on his face. (The role in the film gave Harvey a cult presence and he was subsequently cast in a number of other gener films).
Tom Six is determined to go for broke and shock audiences. In the early scenes, we see Laurence R. Harvey masturbating with his tiny penis wrapped in a piece of sandpaper. Elsewhere he lies asleep dreaming while a baby bawls on the soundtrack and a voice disturbingly yells: “Stop them tears, you’re just making Daddy’s willy harder.” The film becomes disturbing once the surgery begins where we see Laurence R. Harvey bashing Lee Harris’s teeth out with a hammer, slicing open knees to reach in and remove tendons, cutting open butts, stapling the mouths of his victims to the asses of others. It gets increasingly more uncomfortable as we watch him forcing a feeding tube down the throat of the first person and then pouring soup down it until she gags, and tearing out her tongue with a pair of forceps to stop her screaming.
The most grotesque scenes are where Laurence R. Harvey injects each of the victims in the centipede chain with a laxative and we then see liquid shit bubbling out of their anuses and into the mouths of the other person, as all the while Harvey dances with glee at what he has achieved. (Indeed, the shit even comes bubbling out and spattering the camera – with a couple of dashes of brown being the only colour we see in the otherwise black-and-white shot film). Finally, we see Laurence R. Harvey placing a piece of barbed wire around his dick and forcibly taking the girl on the end of the chain.
By the point of the climactic scenes where the pregnant victim escapes just as she goes into labour and starts to deliver the baby while getting into the Mercedes, only for the fetus to be crushed under the accelerator pedal as she drives off, the film reaches a point of almost being too much wilful grossness for its own sake.
The film exists inside a very disturbing headspace. The Human Centipede (First Sequence) fairly much followed the path of a standard horror film, in particular the one established by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) where a group of people stray into a backwoods house and are abducted into a nightmare. The original Human Centipede was in essence an imprisonment thriller where the sympathy was focused on the victims. By contrast, The Human Centipede (Full Sequence) has almost no interest in sympathy with the victims – all of the focus is on the would-be surgeon and the mental space he lives in.
Tom Six has chosen to shoot this film in black-and-white whereas the original came in colour. Laurence R. Harvey’s lack of dialogue, a soundtrack filled with muffled noises and alienated cries, not to mention that the lights in the warehouse have the disconcerting habit of randomly flickering off and on, further add to the sense of us being inside an intensely disturbed state of mind.
Tom Six completed the trilogy with The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) (2015) with Dieter Laser as a mad prison warden who connects the bodies of 250 prisoners together and featuring Laurence R. Harvey playing his assistant.