The Human Centipede has proven to be a horror movie with, well, legs. This deranged and very NSFW terror tale — in which a mad scientist named Dr. Heiter stitches together three victims so they share a single gastrointestinal tract — was given a limited cinema release in the spring of last year. But since then, the movie has been referenced by Tosh.0, Stephen Colbert, 30 Rock, and most recently, South Park, whose season premiere featured the introduction of a disgusting new Apple product called the HUMANCENTiPAD. It has also been the subject of numerous Internet sketches — including a Funny or Die skit about a human centipede survivors group meeting — and has been turned into a full-length musical by Emerson College’s Chocolate Cake City Comedy Troupe. You can even buy a Human Centipede cat toy, which, like the film itself, boasts of being “100 percent medically accurate!”
“It’s really punk-rock,” says comedian Jon Daly, who wrote and starred in the Funny or Die sketch. “It pushed torture porn just one step further. It kind of took the Saw movies and went, ‘Oh yeah? Look what I can do. I’m going to sew people together and have them eat poop.’ My friends and I play a game that’s like ‘F—, marry, or kill,’ but with the Human Centipede and terrible celebrities. Like, if you’re human centipede-ing the Kardashians, who’s in the middle? Who gets it worst?”
But what does Human Centipede director Tom Six make of all this? And what future plans does the Dutch auteur have for the franchise? After the jump, Six talks about the growing impact of the film, and its forthcoming top secret sequel, the ominously titled Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Human Centipede is everywhere!
TOM SIX: It’s incredible.
Did you see the South Park episode?
Not yet. I’ve seen clips of it. So I know a little bit, what it’s about. I can’t wait to see it. It’s such an honor that they took it on.
What about the Funny or Die sketch?
I saw that. Very very funny. Very cool. Very well done. Beautifully shot and very funny.
What is it about the Human Centipede that appeals to comedians?
It gets attention because it’s so horrible. You can make comedy about it, because a lot of people make toilet humor. I do that myself. I like that very much. This is like an angle nobody thought of yet, so I think that’s the thing that appeals around the world. You’re scared of it, and at the same time, it’s very funny.
Your film itself does have some moments of humor, particularly all the stuff about the dog centipede.
Yeah, yeah. People who have the dark, black side sense of humor, they can laugh all through the film. But not everybody sees that. Some people think it’s very sick and they don’t see any humor at all.
There is also a human centipede cat toy you can buy on the Internet. You don’t mind bootleg merchandise?
No, not at all. For me, [the film] started out so small, and then it blew up, and it exploded, and it went like an aggressive virus all over the world. So I am fascinated by all those things the people made. People attach Barbie dolls together. People have tattoos. It’s really crazy. We’re now talking to people about doing some merchandising.
Of course a doll of Doctor Heiter. And little centipede dolls that you can click together mouth-to-a–. Maybe some celebrities that you can click together.
Did you really get death threats on Facebook because of the Human Centipede?
Oh, still. Recently again. It doesn’t stop. It only increases because of the popularity. People think I degrade humanity and human beings. But in real life, I couldn’t hurt a mouse. I just have this crazy fantasy. But some people are getting so angry about it. They want me to stop making films. So they [say they’re going to] try to shoot me and cut me open with glass and all nasty things.
What kind of reactions do you get from fans at horror conventions?
Lots of times they think you are crazy, actually crazy, which you have to be a little bit, of course. But sometimes people are very afraid of you as well. I never understand it because I’m just a filmmaker, not a serial killer or something.
How do you know they’re afraid of you?
Lots of women are afraid of me. They are afraid to talk to me or even look at me.
The ironic thing, in my experience, is that horror film directors are often incredibly nice people. It’s almost like they get all their darkness out on the screen.
That’s true, yeah. Because in every human being, there is this really dark side. And we want to bring that dark side to the screen and explore it and play with it. In real life, I think all the horror directors are very friendly people. So, imagine how the people are that make romantic comedies! They could be torturing little animals, you never know.
Is there a release date for Human Centipede Part 2?
It’s going out after the summer. Part 2, not many people have seen it. Only the distributor and the people who worked in post production. They think it’s really crazy. I made this joke about Part 1 being My Little Pony compared to Part 2. People at the distribution company (IFC), at the first screening they had, some people walked away because they couldn’t handle the things they are seeing. But they absolutely love it. They think it’s going to explode because of what’s happening with Part 1 and South Park and stuff. Part 2 is really something else.
What can you tell us about the sequel?
I can say it has a centipede of 12 people. I want to keep it a surprise. Dieter [Laser, who plays Dr Heiter] or one of the people of the centipede comes back.
Sorry, I’m confused, you’re saying Dieter and one of the…
And/or. Either Dieter is coming back, or maybe one of the characters inside the human centipede.
And you’re planning a third Human Centipede movie?
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Three films makes a Human Centipede for me. Three can be the combination. What I want to do is make Human Centipede III: Final Sequence. And then I don’t want to make any Human Centipedes again. I’ve a terrific idea for it that’s completely different than 1 and 2 again. I think Part 3 will make Part 2 look like a Disney film.
So, to be absolutely clear about this, Part 2 is going to make Part 1 look like My Little Pony and Part 3 is going to make Part 2 look like a Disney film?
For more on Human Centipede, check out this week’s Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday.