At this point in his fledgling international career, the name Tom Six
should be instantly familiar to most genre fans. Hell, even my mother is
aware of The Human Centipede
, and it repulses her to no end.
Lucky for her, the purveyors of gastric horror have set the publicity
machine in motion yet again, releasing the first teaser trailer for The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence
on this, the eve of the original's DVD release. The dastardly Dutchman
was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to chat with me
via Skype, all the way from Amsterdam, to discuss the cult of the
centipede, successful sequels, and topping the indomitable Dr. Heiter.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. I didn't realize this was a video chat. Can you see me?TOM SIX:
I can't see you, but that's okay. No worries.
JC: That's good, because I'm sitting here in my underwear.
TS: Haha, no worries.
JC: How are you today? Are you enjoying all the accolades and the vitriol that come along with being the director of The Human Centipede
TS: It's incredible. I enjoy every day.
JC: The film comes out on DVD and Bluray on October 5th through IFC. Were you closely involved with the DVD release?
Yes, we're very involved with the distributor, absolutely. We follow
every step- talk to each other, see what the best plans are- and they
are doing a really amazing job.
JC: What kind of extras can we expect? Was there anything really horrific that you left out of the film?
I have a very cool deleted scene with Dr. Heiter. There is an audio
commentary. There is a really cool making of, where people can see what
the human centipede looks like behind the scenes. We have a casting tape
of Ashley and Ashlynn from when they auditioned that is very funny. We
also have a foley session, so people can see how we made those awful
sounds you hear in the film.
JC: The Human Centipede
is your 4th feature film. Is it fair to say it is your most popular?
Definitely. Because the other films are Dutch language films, and Dutch
language films don't make it very far abroad. But this is my first
international film, so I'm really proud it has spread so well.
JC: Did you have any idea it was going to be such a breakout hit?
You always hope that, of course. I knew when I wrote the story that
people would talk about it. When the trailer came online, so many people
watched it, and everyone was talking about it. It is the ultimate dream
for a filmmaker I think.
JC: This is your first horror film. What made you decide to make a horror film at this point in your career?
I always loved horror films. I loved watching them and would have loved
to make one, but in Holland the horror climate is not very good. Most
of the time there are comedies and dramas made here. So I always knew my
first international film had to be a horror film. This is really my
thing, I think.
JC: The Human Centipede
has really entered the public
consciousness. Stephen Colbert referenced it on The Emmy Awards,
American Comedian Daniel Tosh did a 20 breakdown of it for his TV show,
there is a porn parody called The Human Sexipede
, people have
gotten tattoos, there was a video game online, you can buy human
centipede cat toys on Etsy. Why do you think that it's resonated with
people so much?
TS: I think the sick and crazy basic idea- sitting on your hands and
knees, sewn to an ass in front of you- that's something that somehow
scares people and repulses people. But at the same time, everybody wants
to speak about it. It's really fascinating that something that sick
spread so well.
JC: I found a lot of humor in the film. Was that intentional?
I have a very dark sense of humor, but when I was writing the script I
never intended to use any humor at all. But the situations in the film
are so surreal that dark humor gets out somehow. That's how I like
horror films, with a layer of dark humor. It must not be intentional,
because then it doesn't work. This way, it is really funny, I think.
JC: Is the humor necessary to make the horror of the film easier to swallow, so to speak?
Ha ha, I think so. The character of Dr. Heiter is so strange. You have
to laugh about it, because he's so damn serious. The humor adds those
JC: What do your friends and family think of the film? You seem like such a nice normal guy. Do they look at you differently?
Strangers think I'm an escaped mental patient, but my family are just
as crazy as I am, so they absolutely love it. But there are a lot of
people out there who think I'm crazy. People on Facebook want to
sterilize me, or say that I'm worse than Hitler, or want to shoot me.
But that's all part of the game, I think.
JC: Let's talk about the sequel, Full Sequence
. IFC just
released a teaser trailer in which you reveal your new villain, Martin,
only his face is hidden by a box. Why are you teasing us like that?
So many people want to know what I'm gonna do next. Part two is gonna
be very different than people expect it to be. I have this really cool
character in the film, and he has such a remarkable face that I didn't
want to reveal it just yet. You get a little bit of an impression of
what he's like, but I keep that for later.
JC: You say he is the sickest bastard of them all, but how do you top Dr. Heiter?
That's the thing. What he [Maritn] does to his twelve person human
centipede is unbelievable. Part one is my little pony compared to this.
JC: Any chance on seeing Dr. Heiter in the sequel?
have to keep that a surprise. I don't want to spoil that. Even what
happens to the middle girl [from the first film] you have to wait a
little while to find out.
JC: On IMDB, Family Guy
creator Seth Mcfarlane is credited as narrator. Is that for real?
TS: Absolutely untrue. I tried to remove that; I don't know who put it up there.
JC: It struck me as strange, even for you.
TS: Yeah, totally not true.
JC: Have you guys wrapped yet?
TS: We just wrapped in London, so we're now in post production, editing the film.
JC: Do you have a release date?
TS: Not yet. We hope to premiere it somewhere early 2011, and when it's actually released, I don't know yet.
JC: You are the star of the trailer, in which you wear your
trademark white suit and hat. I can see from the video that you are
wearing it now. What's the deal with that? I've never seen you in
TS: I have this strange thing- when I was a small boy I already
walked around in suits. I love suits; I don't know why. But only linen
suits, because it is so comfortable. I don't know where it comes from.
It's really strange.
JC: Do you have a closet full of white linen suits?
TS: Yes. And beige ones and light blue. If I don't wear them, I feel very unhappy.
JC: Because people have already started to identify you with that, almost like it is part of the Tom Six brand or persona.
TS: In daily life, I walk around the streets of Amsterdam just like this.
JC: That's fantastic. So when can we expect a full trailer for Full Sequence
I think we'll start with some stills from the film, because the trailer
is made during editing. Once we finish editing, we'll release a real
JC: Will the full trailer reveal a bit more? Will we get to see to see Martin's face?
TS: Oh yeah. Definitely.
The tagline for the original film was "100% medically accurate." The
tagline for the sequel is, "100% medically INaccurate." Will this be a
less realistic film?
TS: No, it is very realistic, but it's different. It is the opposite
of what happens in medically accurate. A doctor wouldn't do this.
It must have been hard finding three people willing to play the
original human centipede, how did you go out and find 12 more willing
TS: Because the first film was so out there, so many people heard
about it, so there were a lot of actors who were very willing to
audition. They got on their hands and knees very quickly, because they
saw the first one. But then when I told them what was in store for them,
they had to swallow a few times, you can imagine.
JC: No pun intended.
TS: Ha ha.
JC: So people were actually excited to be in the film. They were lining up to audition.
TS: Yes, but what they have to endure during the film, that's something that's applaudable. It's really brave of them.
JC: When making the original film, you said you held back some
details from actors and producers to get them to sign on. Is that true?
Yes. We told the investors we were going to make a film about a surgeon
who stitches people together, but we didn't tell them mouth to ass,
because we were 100% sure that they wouldn't finance it. They really
liked the idea and said, okay, let's do it. When they saw the film they
were completely shocked, but luckily they laughed as well. Now that
they see the success, of course they are really happy, but we had to
trick them, because otherwise this would never have been made.
JC: Was there full disclosure the second time around?
TS: Absolutely. They are very excited for more.
JC: The Human Centipede
was a very multi-ethnic film and had an undercurrent of sociological subtext. Will the sequel continue that tradition?
TS: Yes. Again, there are many races in the film.
people praised the original film for being more restrained than
expected. You've said the sequel will be almost impossible to watch.
Are you abandoning the psychological horror of The Human Centipede
TS: No, no. That's still in there. For me, it was fun to hold back
on things, which is an element of horror I like, but now for the second
film, I didn't want to copy the first film, so I wanted to make
something really explicit. Something that shows everything you didn't
see before, which I think will be cool for the audience.
JC: Are you crossing over into full-on torture porn? How do you feel about that label?
TS: I enjoy the label. I think it is very funny and I think there are some cool, original films being made in that genre, like Hostel
I've always liked horror films that are psychological and have some
intelligence. I don't want a guy just running around with an axe. That's
not my style. But if there are other elements involved that make it
more interesting, I'm into that.
JC: What's next? I read you have another horror film planned.
Yes. I really want to explore this genre more, because I feel there are
boundaries that haven't been explored. Next year I want to shoot a film
in America, in LA. It has a very controversial subject, again, and I'm
sure lots and lots of people will talk about it. It's never been done
before. Very original.
JC: Is that a film you've written already?
TS: I'm halfway through the writing process.
JC: Any plans for a third Human Centipede
Maybe sometime in the future, when I have a really original idea. As
long as it is different from the first and the second part, I'll do it.