The shock value has run out in Human Centipede Part 3 (Final Sequence), which promises to be 100% politically incorrect with its 500-person centipede.
I’m a huge fan of Tom Six’s franchise, being one of the only mainstream critics to get the joke behind the second film. The Human Centipede movies were never intended to be mean-spirited, and aren’t out to hurt the viewer for the sake of shock value. There’s always been a creative edge to them, with some sort of social commentary underlining the insanity. And that’s where things fall apart with Human Centipede 3.
Human Centipede began as a horror franchise with three victims who become assembled by an insane German doctor. It was deemed 100% medically accurate. The sequel entered the “real world” where a psychotic fan recreated Six’s madness, only it was 100% medically inaccurate. Now, Six goes full Inception as the first two films were a work of fiction, and Human Centipede 3 takes place in the real world.
Human Centipede 3 injects us into a prison, which is over budget and destroying the political career of Governor Hughes (Eric Roberts). Dieter Laser, who played the doctor in the first film, is Warden Bill Boss, a screaming sociopath that’s running the prison like a torture chamber. Even while ruling with an iron fist, he can’t keep the prisoners in check, and this makes him even more insane. Laurence R. Harvey returns to the franchise as Dwight Butler, Boss’ meek assistant who is pushing for a prison reform: recreating Tom Six’s Human Centipede films as a prison sentence.
While the latest entry is making a statement about our wasted prison system, the social commentary in razor thin, which hinders the selling point of it being “100% politically incorrect.” Instead of making a bold proclamation, the majority of Human Centipede 3 is filler composed of Dieter Laser screaming obscenities, hurting his prisoners, molesting his female assistant, Daisy (Bree Olson), and forcing her to go down on him.
As “shocking” as this sounds, it’s pretty boring.
Six focusing so hard on being politically offensive that there’s not much time devoted to being disturbing. Part of the fun of the Human Centipede films is how cringe-worthy they are – leaving you and your friends giggling because of how uncomfortable you both are. In fact, Human Centipede 3 takes a step backwards, as the “new” system for assembling a ‘pede isn’t nearly as gruesome or grotesque.
The only thing shocking about Human Centipede 3 is how tame it was, honestly. Maybe it’s because I’ve become desensitized to Six’s magic, but I believe it’s mostly because there’s nothing unsettling about the film – it’s just blatantly offensive.
I give Six props for attempting to further the needle, instead of retreading on the predecessors, but it just doesn’t work. The weird lighting and hammy acting turn Human Centipede 3 into a parody of itself, like something you’d see on a Comedy Central skit.
After years of being playfully assaulted by Six, this time he’s delivered something that’s 100% boring.