The Dutch auteur cannot have been surprised by such a reaction to what is undoubtedly one of the most disgusting, and disturbing, horror films ever made. The German-set Human Centipede (First Sequence) stars Dieter Laser as a Dr. Mengele-ish surgeon called Heiter who transforms two American tourists (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie) and a Japanese man (Akihiro Kitamura from Heroes) into the titular creature by stitching them together (yes, you read that right). In his mostly enthusiastic review, EW’s critic Owen Gleiberman describes the movie, as “a surgical-nightmare exploitation film that has no pretense to anything beyond making you go, ‘My God, now that is gross.’”
My colleague sums matters up nicely, though there is, in truth, nothing even remotely nice about this particular slice of Cronenbergian craziness, which is getting a limited release and is available on demand starting today.
WARNING: After the jump, Six and Laser discuss their film in a manner that, like the movie itself, is recommended only for mature, and strong-stomached, audiences. We really can’t stress that enough.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you get the idea for The Human Centipede (First Sequence)?
TOM SIX: I saw a child molester on television and I said, ‘They should stitch this guy with his mouth to the a–– of a very fat truck driver. It would be a really good punishment for him.” Then I thought, “That’s a cool idea for a film.”
Was it easy to get finance?
TS: We made films in Holland before and so we had a group of investors. We told them we want to make an international horror film and we’re going to stitch people together. We left out the words “mouth-to-a––,” because we knew they wouldn’t fund it. If I had mentioned “a––-to-mouth,” I think they would have said, “Have a nice day, bye!” But they have seen the film and they loved it. So the trick worked very well, fortunately.
Dieter, how did you get involved in the film?
DIETER LASER: We met in a Hilton in Berlin on a Sunday morning. Tom explained in detail every single shot of Dr. Heiter. And when he finished I said, “You are dedicated! You are passionate! Let’s do it!”
You weren’t put off by the subject matter?
DL: A week after we talked, I suddenly got small and afraid. But then I got the script and I discovered, “Oh boy, there’s so much possibility!” The [plot] is a good marketing thing that will create discussions and anxiousness and everything. Under the surface I discovered why he chose a German. Hello, Dr. Mengele! I regard the film as a grotesque [parody] about the Nazi psyche.
The film’s tag-line is “100 percent medically accurate.” That’s not just publicity hype, is it?
TS: I wanted a real operation report. So I went to a Dutch surgeon. He said, “No, no, that’s against my medical oath.” But he’s a movie lover, so after a while he made a very detailed operation report. A surgeon could actually make in a hospital a human centipede. That’s what fascinates me. And makes audiences feel more horrified by the idea.
Was it hard to cast the female roles?
TS: The two American actresses were really hard. I wanted very beautiful and very intelligent and very good actresses, of course…. We were casting in New York and I made some drawings of the human centipede and a lot of actresses thought I was crazy and didn’t want to work with me. A lot of actresses only want to be beautiful and I had to ask those actresses to be mutilated. So they left. But the wonderful Ashley and Ashlynn, they had the b–––s to play it.
Is it true you already have plans for a sequel?
TS: Yes. I had so many ideas, which I couldn’t use in this part. I wanted, first, people to get used to this idea. Now I can expand my ideas and hopefully create something really original. I want to offer people some more!
Readers, you have been warned! Meanwhile, you can check out the Human Centipede trailer on YouTube.