Much like the second entry, The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) does knock the other two out of a continuous reality by asserting both prior entries are literally films in this world. You are presented with the climax of the second, zooming out during the title scene to put us within the main offices of a prison’s warden, Bill Boss (Dieter Laser). He is being shown the films by the jail’s accountant, Dwight Butler (Laurence R. Harvey). Dwight begins to push for the human centipede program, something he firmly believes in throughout the film, though is brushed off by the warden’s own insanity that he continuously blames on the heat.
Bill Boss feels that the prison system is more like a nursery than it is a corrections facility, and he does as he wants with his prisoners in an attempt to ensure they won’t come back. His insanity really knows no bounds, going far beyond the typical sadistic stereotypes found in media portraying that typical Southern jail house ruler by playing up his German roots with the declaration that his grandfather was a Nazi, building up a concentration camp scenario run by a Hitler-esque overlord who has gone mad with power. This is furthered by his assistant Daisy (Bree Olsen) who is nothing more than his sex slave due to releasing his father from jail early.
While he seems on top of the world, Governor Hughes (Eric Roberts) has given him two weeks to clean up the prison or he and Dwight would be fired. After taking his frustrations out on many inmates, punishing them by horrific means that go as far as cutting off the testicles of a prisoner that he continues to abuse, not to mention death, a violent nightmare prompts him to listen to Dwight’s idea. This allows him to call the creator of the series, Tom Six (himself), into the office to discuss how it’s medically possible and the financial benefits they could reap from it. Reluctant to accept, he finally agrees, taking credit for the idea, and allowing the production to begin into the biggest human centipede, and a little something extra to thoroughly top the previous two films.
One thing that The Human Centipede series has going for it as a whole is the use the visuals to represent the different worlds each story takes place in. The first was your generic sleek and stylish horror flick, while the second was twisted with a hint of German expressionism found within the noir approach. The third plays up the southern prison angle by adding a bit of a sepia tone, giving it more of a western feel, though sometimes can still come off a bit too crisp to live within that world, especially as they are starting to construct the centipede itself when we revert a bit back to the original. Of course, none of this masks any impact from the amount of gore this entry has. If anything, The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) outdoes both predecessors combined with some of the events that take place, such as the aforementioned castration that even had me wincing (though unable to look away). The only gripe to this, really, is the second to the last death involving a gunshot to the head that looks more like someone took a surgical knife to the skull and carved out the insides instead of the impact causing a rough explosion of brain matter and cranial cap.
Sadly, that’s not the only drawback to this film. The main issue is that this is essentially the plot of the second film recycled to include more people, gore, and be as politically incorrect as possible. It feels like the conclusion to Cabin Fever with the deer stuck in the car windshield, where Tom Six basically just threw everything into a blender and hoped we’d all go along for the ride. And, well, you will be for the first forty minutes, give or take. Dieter Laser really goes over-the-top with his portrayal of Bill Boss, on par with the late Raúl Juliá’s performance as M. Bison in Street Fighter. In fact, there were many times I would swear Raúl himself came back and was actually playing this role instead. Dieter was clearly just having fun throughout the film, but it does get to be too much after a while, eventually detracting from being a film about a human centipede and reducing it to “Loud Noises: The Movie”.
And it’s about at that forty minute mark that the film just hits the wall. Within the first twenty or so minutes, you learn a great deal about Bill, Dwight, and Daisy, to where little more is needed. Until the decision to go through with the human centipede program, and even a good while after, it all just feeds into the gore aspect. While it isn’t bad, there’s very little to keep the viewer paying attention. In fact, prior to Bill Boss showing the two previous films to the inmates and announcing his intentions, I found myself fidgety and opted to give my cat’s litter box a full clean instead of sitting through painful padding and Bill’s shouting that doesn’t make any sense half the time. While the latter plays into the lunacy of the character, it gets old after a while, leaving you to wish that a good chunk of the second act had been cut down, or largely removed due to serving little purpose other than to show what boils down to another rape revenge scene involving an inmate and a kidney, as well as make this entry the longest of the trilogy.
Sadly, even the conclusion just isn’t really worth the pay off. The initial reveal for the centipede itself is nothing but a distance shot, making it look incredibly fake. When in close, there’s little going on other than Bill Boss explaining what’s going on, and a reveal that really should have a much stronger impact involving one of the member’s of the abomination, as if a part of the story had just been cast away for no reason. Even the reveal of what they do to the lifers and death row inmates has little impact. This is thanks to two things: We don’t care about the victims, and everyone basically just stays in one spot. Other than a few inmates, we’re left with little information about who they are, nor do you know if they deserve it, especially since they discuss how to keep them alive and healthy so they can return the members of the centipede back to society. On top of that, nobody moves to get the sensation that everyone is, in fact, stuck together and in pain. If anything it looks like a BDSM exhibition gone terribly awry. Of course there’s also the fake ending that really just makes no sense, even when playing up the shock angle during the actual finale.
There is one final thing to mention with this entry, and that’s how nostalgia plays into bringing the trilogy full circle. Bill Boss is played by the same actor who was the doctor in the first film, and Dwight is played by the main character of the second. Akihiro Kitamura also takes part in the centipede again, who was the “head” of the creation in the first film as well. If anything, these seem to be more like little Easter eggs for fans of the series, and not so much a budgetary cost, but it also envelopes the first two worlds in a way, making them exist within this one as a sort of precursor for the level of insanity that this realm of reality has in store for these alternate universe versions of the characters.
So, when you boil down The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence), you’re left with a western-tinged recap of the second entry with a larger cast, painful second act, and unfulfilling conclusion. If anything, it’s Dieter Laser’s performance that really saves the first half of the film, and even some segments later on when he’s not drunk and shouting just to shout. Other than that, it winds up fun just looking for past actors hidden in the mess of inmates. Of course, it’s impossible to sit here and call this film bad. If anything, it could easily be cut down to make the story flow a lot smoother. For those who have enjoyed the ride that is The Human Centipede up to this point, it’s a nice little farewell that wraps things up quite well, even if the very end is unsure of its direction and seems more like an excuse to re-enact the final moments of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II with the symbolic flailing of the chainsaw represented with a loudspeaker. If you haven’t seen the first two, there’s little reason to watch this movie until you do, if at all. Of course, that’s not to disparage you from checking all three in order, as it really is a series you won’t soon forget.