It says a lot about the grotesqueness of Human Centipede 3 (in theaters and VOD May 22) that this horror movie’s climactic fusing together of 500 people to create a massive version of the titular organism is one of the least disturbing aspects of the film. Described as “100 percent politically incorrect,” the threequel features a close-up castration, multitudinous racial epithets, and the rape of a lead character’s kidney. Yes, you read that correctly.
Who would dream up such derangement? That would be Dutch filmmaker Tom Six, the writer and director of all three Human Centipede movies, who also cast himself as himself in this latest meta-entry.
Below, the entirely amiable Six talks about—well, a whole lot of disgusting, NSFW stuff, obviously.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you always intend there to be three Human Centipede films?
TOM SIX: Yeah, absolutely. What I had in mind was to make a human centipede out of movies. In fact, all the three films, they connect. You can literally have one four-and-a-half hour movie. That would be a great idea, I thought.
I’m going to suggest my family do that next Christmas Day.
That would be perfect!
Human Centipede 3 is set in a prison. What inspired that?
Well, my original idea for the Human Centipede was punishment. When I saw a child molester on television, I thought, that would be a great punishment for him. But when I made Part 1, I used innocent victims. In Part 3, I thought, This is the great moment to use it as proper punishment for hard-ass criminals.
What was the shoot like?
It was the toughest of all the Centipedes. We had so many extras, and we were shooting here in L.A. in the desert, where the exterior of the prison was. It was amazingly hot and a lot of extras who were in the centipede were quite old. They were on their hands and knees and sweating and I thought, “Oh my god, I hope nobody gets a heart attack or whatever.” The tension was enormous.
Did you send out a casting notice saying, “People wanted for human centipede”?
Yeah. In Part 1, it was so hard to find actors, they all thought I was crazy. But, because it got so popular, [on] Part 2 it was no problem. This time, we put it via a casting agency, and they got so many responses. Everybody wanted to be in the centipede. And we shot it in L.A. Everybody wants to be an actor here, so it was no problem at all. We got hundreds, hundreds of requests.
Dieter Laser, who played the inventor of the human centipede the first film, portrays the prison warden in Human Centipede 3 and gives one of the craziest performances I’ve ever seen. Were you pushing him to get crazier and crazier or were you having to calm him down?
No, no, no. I encouraged him to go crazier because I wanted a total contrast again with Dr. Heider in Part 1. He’s very restrained there and he holds back in his anger, he’s very into himself. This time, I wanted a guy that was completely the opposite: very sadistic, very loud-screaming, very outgoing. He loved to play that. Also, he shaved his head, I wanted a totally different look, as well.
Human Centipede 2 star Lawrence R. Harvey also plays a very different role in the third installment.
Each character, I wanted to do the opposite. In Part 2, Lawrence is like a mute and very mentally unstable. This guy is very intelligent, talks a lot, American. That’s what I’m looking for—it would have been boring if the characters would be the same in each film.
On several occasions, Dieter’s character derides the Human Centipede films. Was that fun to write?
Absolutely. You have people who hate the Human Centipede films or absolutely love it—there’s nothing in between. I love the fact that that character absolutely hates the films. It’s like self-parody. I don’t take myself very seriously and I don’t take the films very seriously, so I make fun of that as well.
Onetime Oscar nominee Eric Roberts appears in the film. How did you approach him?
I was looking for an all-American actor with a great face and I immediately thought of Eric Roberts. I’ve seen him so many films and I thought, “He’s the ultimate bad guy.” We approached him, and we Skyped together, and he got the script, and he wanted to do it immediately.
The cast also includes adult-film star Bree Olson. How did you come to cast her?
It’s an all-male film, so I wanted one lady. But I wanted a lady that would be the ultimate seductive, sexy American kind of woman. I immediately thought, “That must be Bree Olson, because she has a very cute face, and she had done nothing in the regular film business.” We contacted her and right at that point, she was quitting porn and she was looking for other kinds of work. So that matched perfectly. And we did an audition with her, here in L.A., and she acted so very funny, and she understood the films, and the comedy in it, and she did it perfectly, I think.
Most of the gross and disturbing things that happen in Human Centipede 3 don’t really have anything to do with the human centipede itself. Were you worried that, in the years since the first film, people no longer found that idea as shocking as they once did.
Absolutely. In Part 2, you see everything, and I didn’t want to outdo-me in the gore. I wanted to go in the direction of the 100 percent politically incorrect. The cruel moments are not, like you say, actually in the centipede, except the mouth really is attached to the a–hole.
We did that very graphically. And you see an anus, a real anus on the shot. I don’t know if you saw that.
Trust me, I saw that.
I think there are not many films that play in theaters with a real anus.
I think it’s just Remains of the Day and Human Centipede 3.
Yeah, absolutely. But then when I was writing the story I thought there are so many awful things happening in prisons—there are rapes, and of course [Laser’s character] comes up with the castration, which was really out there. I needed gruesome moments to get the rollercoaster going. Because they are horrible films.
Speaking of the film’s castration sequence, there are two prop human testicles in the film. Did you keep them? Are they on your mantel?
Yes, I have them at home. It’s so true! Everybody that comes in my house, I have to show them.
So people who say “Tom Six doesn’t have any balls” are very much mistaken.
Absolutely. I have four now.
The full title of the film is The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence). Is this definitely the last in the series?
Well, I never say never. Of course, maybe in 10 years. But when I make Part 4, it has to be about aliens connecting the entire human race, or something.
Do you know what you are doing next?
Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to make The Onania Club. It’s a pitch-black comedy with psychological horror elements. It’s about a rich group of people who do stuff. I cannot say [what] yet, but it’s such an out-there original idea that I’m sure everybody will talk about that again. I love exploring the dark sides of humanity. I’m not about to do a romantic comedy.