The scariest part about “The Human Centipede” wasn’t the crazy German doctor with his obscene experiments or even the idea of innocent people being sewn together, mouth to ass, into a grotesque and horrifying monstrosity. No, the scariest part was the film’s subtitle, “First Sequence,” because it implied that as truly messed up as “The Human Centipede” was, it might only be the tip of the iceberg.
Sure enough, “Human Centipede” writer/director Tom Six is hard at work on “The Human Centipede Part 2 (Full Sequence),” and if you thought the first movie was intense, watch out: Six says that was just the warm up. “When I was writing [First Sequence],” Six told me, “I had so many ideas that I couldn’t fit them all in the movie. And I wanted the audience to get used to this crazy centipede. Now, in ‘Part 2,’ I can use all my ideas. So everything is in it this time. I don’t hold back anything. It’s pretty nasty.”
“Full Sequence” doesn’t come to theaters until 2011, but we’ve got the exclusive premiere of the teaser trailer right here. To mark the occasion, I spoke with Six (below) about horror sequels, weird fan mail, and human centipede casting sessions.
I know you’re wary about spoiling the new movie, but what can you tell us at this point about “Human Centipede 2?”
It will have a huge centipede with 12 people involved. Shooting it has been a massive operation. Lots of people. We shot the film in London with an almost entirely British cast. I can’t say whether any of the characters from the first film are coming back, but it’s going to be pretty different than the first one.
So “Part 2” has a 12-member centipede. Realistically, logistically, is there a limit to how many people you can sew together?
When you see the 12-person centipede on the set, it’s so many people! If you did like 25 people, you’d need an entire street to shoot it. The sets would have to get bigger and bigger to get all the wide angle shots. It would be pretty crazy.
In the world of horror sequels, many have tried but few have succeeded. What in your mind is the secret to making a good horror sequel?
I think the key is originality. So many sequels that I see don’t work because they’re almost the same as the first film. So when I was working on my sequel, I wanted to make something really original. And I think people will be blown away by “Part 2” because it’s something they would never expect. I read people speculating on IMDb or Internet forums about what’s going to happen in “Part 2,” and they’re all wrong.
You’re the star of this first teaser for “Full Sequence.” How did that happen?
We didn’t want to reveal that much in the first teaser. So we couldn’t show much except for me. So you see me walk through one of our locations and then I reveal one of the lead characters in the story with a box on his head. It’s pretty funny. We didn’t want to show any material from the set because then you’d see what the centipede looks like and get a peek at the surprise. But you do get a glimpse of the lead actor and he’s really crazy.
In the first “Human Centipede” you made a big deal out of the fact that the film was “100% medically accurate.” The teaser for part 2 ends with the tagline “100% medically inaccurate.” Was being 100% medically accurate too artistically constraining?
[laughs] No, no. For the first film, the idea that this could actually happen, that a doctor could actually perform an operation like this, was part of the fun for me. So I had the construction looked at by a real surgeon. But now for the sequel I let it all go and it’s done in another way that has nothing to do with any medical facts.
“The Human Centipede” is a disturbing film, but it’s certainly not one of the goriest ever made. It’s horrifying, but it’s not excessively graphic. Were you ever surprised by the extreme reactions people had to the film?
I knew when I wrote the script that it was going to be controversial. There are movies that are more gory, but somehow this film messes with your head. People find it so degrading that they think that because I can imagine such horrible things that I must be a pervert or an idiot or an escapee from a mental hospital. It’s all make believe, of course, but I knew it would get a reaction like this.
You’ve shown the film all over the world. Do reactions vary from country to country?
They’re totally different. In Italy, people were quiet. They were really absorbing the film. In Japan, they laughed all the way through the film. They saw it as humor or something. In the U.S. I saw a guy vomit during a screening. He was eating during the film and I thought “That’s probably not a good idea.” And he barfed it all out in the middle of the theater. And I’ve seen people walk out of the theater almost everywhere in the world. That’s universal.
What’s your fan mail look like?
There’s a Facebook page for the film and I’ve read the most incredible things there. There are people on there who are so very angry! People who want to sterilize me, that say that I’m worse than Hitler, people who say I should be shot. And I laugh at all that. But then there are also people who say I’m a genius and they absolutely love it. They’re also making a porn movie now too, “The Human Sexipede.” That’s very cool.
What’s it like casting members of the human centipede? I’m guessing casting “Part 2” was easier than casting “Part 1.”
Oh yeah, absolutely. The first part was hell to cast. We did a casting in New York and 70% of the girls just walked out of the audition because they thought I was an idiot when I explained how they’d have to go mouth to ass. I had to use all my charm to explain to the girls what I was going to do because they had no clue what it was going to look like. After the first film got so much attention everywhere, it was so much easier to cast the second part.
People were practically lining up to go mouth to ass?
Yeah! It’s really funny when you’re sitting there and people drop to their hands and knees so easily.