There’s a certain charm that comes with really bad movies. Films like The Leprechaun are a great example. No one who watches it is scared of it, despite the claim that it’s a “horror” film. It’s the story of a mythical leprechaun in the form of a disfigured hobbit with an Irish accent and a love of terrible puns. Sure, he kills people on occasion, but we don’t watch it because we think it’s good filmmaking. We watch it because, despite the gore and the constant bad language, it’s somehow charming. It’s a strange kind of charming, like a baby who pees on stuff and you’re really upset but still like, “But I can’t stay mad because look at him.”
There’s something to be said about geek culture where we sometimes latch onto things that are just…awful. We do it on purpose because we recognize that they’re still art and someone really worked on it. It’s even come to a point that the terrible SyFy films that have been cashing in on this ironic fact for years are becoming fully mainstream. The success of the Sharknado franchise is proof positive that people are willing to accept charmingly bad movies. That’s why so many of us picked up on the completely ludicrous idea of The Human Centipede when it was released.
Here we are, a few years later, having survived both the original, and the substantially more gritty and disgusting sequel, The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence. The premise of the original saw a doctor who clearly had a fecal fetish becoming obsessed with the idea of sewing people together from their mouths to their anuses and creating a centipede from them with one, single digestive system. For those of you who need this spelled out: He wanted them to survive via eating each other’s poop. The tagline, “100% medically accurate,” is definitely up for debate, but we aren’t really here to discuss that particular topic, despite the fact that I may or may not be a medical doctor myself (I am).
The second film, jumping onto the Deadpool thought train that “Things that are meta are betta,” took an obscenely disgusting leading character who, instead of being obsessed with centipedes and medical procedures, was inFATuated (cuz he was fat, get it?) with the first film, establishing that the first film never actually happened, but this one did and it happened in our world. Despite its brutal execution and even some sandpaper/genital action, the fact that it sorta/kinda touched on the media’s perception of “violent movies make people violent” by making fun of the concept made it somehow a little charming still. It was barbaric and brutal, but fully aware of itself. There’s never a point where you’re left engulfed by the film because it’s trying to remind you that it’s nothing more than a movie as it progresses. To an extent, no matter how visceral it got, the violence and the gore are all moot because you just know the guy behind the camera is laughing at what’s happening.
Then came The Human Centipide 3: Full Sequence.
Honestly, the charm is lost. What made the others somehow fun and different is gone. It’s like the heart and soul were stripped away and director Tom Six was left with only the very bones of the first two, which were violence for the sake of violence and a desperate attempt to make the viewer’s stomach turn. The concept is even MORE meta than the second film, considering both of the first films are in this one, both of actors who played main characters in the first films are in this one, and even Tom Six himself is in this one. Is that somehow making this a better movie? No.
There are scenes of extreme violence and torture that are disturbing just because they wanted this movie to top the last one. It’s not fun. It’s not even funny. It’s a madman who you are actually hoping is killed because you hate him and he’s doing terrible things. Never once do you think the things that he’s doing are funny because they’re not as bombastic as the first two. Instead of the ridiculous notion of tying people together via their anuses, we’re left with scenes of people being castrated and having their faces boiled off by hot water. The insane nature of the first two came from the fact that, let’s be honest, it was just SO INSANE. The Human Centipede 3 reeled the story back down to earth for the sake of making us more repulsed by what we were witnessing, and the movie absolutely suffers for it.
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