Jeff and Deirdre experience a big shakeup when the show may be ready to go back on the air.
The Human Centipede III: Final Sequence. 2015. Directed and Written by Tom Six.
Starring Dieter Laser, Eric Roberts, Bree Olson, Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Tom Six, Robert LaSardo, Laurence R. Harvey, and Clayton Rohner. Six Entertainment Company.
Unrated. 102 minutes.
Again, I can’t believe there’s even a third part to this horror series. Tom Six did no justice to his own skills by making the second film a complete disaster of shock horror/torture porn. Some may have enjoyed it; I found it tiresome, beyond sick, and utterly pointless in the end. Six used black-and-white, which could have been great, but in the end it just could not make the movie worth watching.
Now, we’re here. I’m watching The Human Centipede III: Final Sequence, and I can’t say there is anything at all redeeming in this sequel either. Starting with the second film, for all its awfulness, there’s seemingly a shred of an idea inside Six that wants to express a message; of some sort. I think so, anyways. The second movie had the meta-film aspect happening and it was as if Six had theories on how horror movies affect the viewers, how the obsessiveness of people with horror and tragedy is furthered by media (namely film. Six did nothing with that idea, but it was still present, even in the tiniest form.
In the third film, Final Sequence, there seems to be at least a small kernel of Six’s sensibilities which are leaning towards commentary on/about the America prison system. The character of Bill Boss, played to a rottenly comedic depth of Hell by Dieter Laser (from the first film), is meant to represent the seemingly millions of people hellbent on making prison worse and worse and worse for prisoners. There are definitely bits to be mined out of the original plot premise for this sequel which want to question people and their right-wing, conservative leanings towards capital punishment.
However, again, Six drops the ball – even worse on this one in my opinion. He can’t seem to really get at what he wanted to do. There’s lots of comedy in there, plenty of satirical and farcical material, but Six does not capitalise on any of that. Instead there are bits of gross-out horror again to fill the void of competent writing, there is the inclusion of a famous pornstar simply for the sake of having a sex and blowjob scene, and nothing ever makes up for all the ridiculousness happening throughout the film.
This sequel begins at a prison. The massive complex is run by Warden Bill Boss (Dieter Laser), who is a man completely resigned to finding ways he can torture and toy with the prisoners under his charge. His second-in-command is Dwight Butler (Laurence R. Harvey); he worships his boss to no end. Then of course there is the sexed up secretary whom the Warden abuses time and time again, Daisy (Bree Olson), and she pleases him whenever he calls.
After a good deal of time trying to break the prisoners down completely, yelling (much of the time incomprehensibly) at everyone who comes near him, and generally doing a bunch of terrible, torturous things to please the sadistic pleasures inside him, Warden Boss decides to go with his right-hand man Dwight Butler’s idea: use the idea from the Human Centipede films and actually create a full-fledged Human Centipede using the prisoners.
Perfect idea, right?
Saddest part about this third instalment is the fact it really does want to be horror-comedy, but it’s just terrible. The performance by Dieter Laser in the first Human Centipede was a real creepy, effective portrayal of an insane man. Dieter Laser as Warden Bill Boss is absolute and utter shit. I can’t even explain in words how terrible his performance is because it goes beyond the efforts of human language. I never like to completely rag on something, however, Six did nobody any favours by letting Laser give such an awful comedic performance. The Warden is meant to be a foolish character, no doubt, but the way Laser hams it up, scene after scene, line after god damn shouted/howled line, it is WAY TOO MUCH. There’s nothing wrong with doing horror-comedy. This just is not the way. Laser goes far past any sense of satirical characterisation, and he gets lost in trying to yell every single bit of dialogue/the raving monologues he has to give, that it is merely a jumbled mess.
Then, of course, Eric Roberts strolls in. Now I am a fan of Mr. Roberts – just check out my review of his expert performance in the vivid biopic Star 80. However, it’s no secret that Roberts has done a fair few terrible films in recent years. A couple of revivals have been laid at his doorstep, but it can’t outdo all the midway, bargain bin junk he has done. This is no better. His hair looks worse than mine, to start, but that’s a surface judgement – bad form on my part. What really kills me is the fact he’s even in here, why Eric? Such a bad part to take. Even worse is the fact he brings nothing to the role. Plus, seeing him walk through the tap-dancing mania that is Dieter Laser’s horrid performance here is like watching grownups try and sit down with children at a tea party. It is so fucking awful.
The scene where Bill Boss (Laser) gets an excruciatingly long blowjob from his secretary, Daisy (pornstar Bree Olson) is exactly that: fucking excruciating. Not only is Daisy the only female character in the film, she’s made out to be a slut. She is forced on her knees. We even have to literally watch her swallow a mouthful of Bill Boss’ cum. He claims he didn’t get her dad out of prison for nothing, so she better swallow; there’s even a run of jizz down her chin. It is disgusting and utterly humiliating. I always hate “torture porn” as a label, but Tom Six really owns up to that label: he deserves it. This is a mix of porn and horror-comedy, except they just throw in the blowjob for no reason. Poor, poor writing. It’s the worst. Highly sexist. Maybe some will say it’s no surprise when Bree Olson is playing the character, I still think Six went way too lowbrow here. It’s one of the several embarrassing parts about this train wreck.
I can’t get past the constant growling, howling, yelling of Dieter Laser. For all that is sacred and good in the world – shut up, Dieter! He is fantastically terrible in this movie. I can’t see how anybody would say different, there’s just nothing at all that makes his performance work. He goes way beyond the point of ever being funny. At the beginning, I was thinking, “Okay he’s getting a bit hammy no big deal.” Then, every moment he’s onscreen he screams, his throat heaving every word, and there’s no rest. No rest from the embarrassing portrayal of Bill Boss that Laser brings us. Supremely shit. It’s basically him raving about castrations and torture and other nonsense concerning torture.
Then there’s the scene where the Warden gets what he is owed (or at least we think so – it’s all a dream). I can’t even believe it.
SPOILER ALERT – FOR ANYONE WHO CARES: one of the inmates actually cuts a hole in the Warden’s back and fucks him in his kidneys, basically. Though, it turns out to be just a dream sequence, it’s still… man, oh, man. Awful, awful stuff. Added to that is Dwight Butler (Harvey) apparently giving someone a blowjob in the dream. I mean… come on, Tom! Such poor writing. Very unimaginative.
Hard as I tried, I couldn’t find anything redeeming about this third film in the series. I can’t give it even a half star. Surprisingly, this is even worse, for me, than The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence. I can’t believe I’ve said that, but it’s true. One of the worst films ever made, especially when it comes to horror movies. Just beyond brutal. It’s fine to say, “Oh it’s meant to be over-the-top”. There’s just no excuse for such bad comedy, bad horror, and lazy writing. I can’t say anything further because there’s nothing left to say. Then comes the meta aspect of this movie: how can we plausibly see the inmates watching Dieter Laser as Dr. Heiter while he’s already in the film as Warden Bill Boss? Same goes for Laurence Harvey’s presence here while the second film is playing. It’s just too stupid to even comprehend.
I watched this to be a completist, that’s all. I’m a cinephile, and a massive fan of horror, so I try to watch anything/everything I possibly can. This was not worth it. I’ll never ever see this again and I hope this is truly the final film because anything else will only make Tom Six’s efforts worse and worse; there’s no way to make this series better. Bad example of horror with nothing whatsoever to make it worth watching.
Star 80. 1983. Directed & Written by Bob Fosse. Based on an article from Teresa Carpenter.
Starring Mariel Hemingway, Eric Roberts, Cliff Robertson, Carroll Baker, Roger Rees, David Clennon, and Josh Mostel.
Warner Home Video.
Rated R. 103 minutes.
★★★★I’m not particularly huge on Bob Fosse, though, I do like his films. He does have a nice perspective on things, as far as I’m concerned. Fresh filmmaker. Then when I saw Star 80 there was something about it which really spoke to me.
The story of Star 80 is a true story of former Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten (Mariel Hemingway), who was later murdered by her husband Paul Snider (Eric Roberts). At the time, the two were separated because of marital problems such as Snider’s reluctance to let her have any independence. The film chronicles Stratten’s rise from fast food waitress to Playboy Playmate hanging in Hugh Hefner’s (Cliff Robertson) mansion, rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest stars of the day. Snider was the first one to notice how “model beautiful” Stratten was, and believed because he essentially found her it was his claim to fame. However, soon Snider would realise her fame was her own. He could not accept it. One thing leads to another, as Snider gets more and more controlling, until everything spirals out of control completely.
This was a story I’d never heard before. Whatsoever. I like to think I’ve heard a lot of pop culture stories, especially really crazy ones and those involving crime/murder, but of course, one person can’t know everything – right? I was absolutely amazed once I saw Star 80. This was not my first experience with Bob Fosse. He is a fascinating talent, there is no doubt. Great director. He has made some definitely unique choices, as far as what he directs. Interesting resume. This is not a strange film, but it’s most certainly a dark one. Deep dark. Although not a stranger to the darkness – Fosse did direct both Cabaret and the biopic of Lenny Bruce aptly titled Lenny, which are each dark in their own rights. Although, Star 80 is a much more sinister level of dark than anything else in Fosse’s excellent filmography. Still not a surprise. Even in All That Jazz, a partly biographical and ridiculously honest movie, there’s a certain level of despair. Really a man who is not afraid of darkness, at the very least. It helps here. The story itself is one of fame, murder, misogyny, and the broken search for the supposed American dream (or better yet – the American nightmare as it were).
There are two pretty nice performances in Star 80. The most incredible of them all is, most obviously in my mind, Mr. Eric god damn Roberts. I’ve always enjoyed him. Personally, I love his sister a lot, too. But I think Eric doesn’t get the credit he deserves. While he’s beginning to experience a resurgence a little now since his appearance in The Dark Knight, I still think his work is under appreciated. Star 80 pretty much all but proves my point on its own. His performance is so ridiculously creepy right from the get go. Most people might say it’s his 1980s pornstar moustache. It isn’t. Roberts’ whole demeanour, from the eyes to the look across his face, it all just makes me cringe a little. Not to mention the rambling, talking to himself, ranting. It’s a very unsettling character for Roberts to inhabit. This is how we start the film out – shots of Stratten and Snider pacing, talking to himself, bloody. Usually it doesn’t make things very interesting to begin from the end, especially giving us a more clear idea of what’s happening as opposed to something vague, but Fosse knows a lot of people (most certainly at the time the film was made) would certainly know the story anyways. So he opts to really dive into the character of Snider. While it’s a focus on Stratten overall, Fosse wants to get at the pathology of the man who ruined her life. Roberts does so much nice work in this movie. I’ll forever be a huge fan.
Mariel Hemingway does well playing Dorothy Stratten. Most people often assume the Playboy Playmates are a bunch of bimbos. Certainly that was the case back in the 1980s. I don’t doubt ideas about women who pose nude back then were worse than now – and that’s not to say things are good fro them, or any women, nowadays either. Hemingway shows Stratten as a conflicted woman, but not stupid. We see Stratten get juggled between men. As Snider rules over her life until it makes her snap, the next man she moves onto is basically managing her life just the same. She goes from one guy to another being controlled. Though, it’s not particularly strong of her to go from one relationship to the next under near similar circumstances, I still believe Hemingway shows the strength Stratten had to at least try and face Snider herself – while everyone tried to make her not confront him face to face, she wanted to give him one last bit of dignity. Unfortunately for Dorothy, this was the final thing Paul Snider needed from her, and then he used this very thing to murder her. It’s so sad this happened. I hate to say I enjoyed a film about someone’s murder, however, I do believe Hemingway gave a good performance. There’s at least something good about this aspect.Most certainly one of my favourites in Bob Fosse’s filmography. He is an interesting guy. If not a bit of a dirtbag according to his own creation, All That Jazz. Regardless, I do like the way he makes movies. Unique filmmaker. Star 80 is his version of the tragic true story of Dorothy Stratten and her collision course with the hurricane that was Paul Snider. The performances by both of the film’s stars, Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts, help all the emotions come across as they’re meant to play with the audience.
One of the downsides about this movie is the really awful performance of Cliff Robertson as Hugh Hefner. First of all, he didn’t do a really good job at doing a Hefner impersonation – you don’t have to do a caricature, but it was really one of the worst celebrity-playing-celebrity roles I’ve seen (and I’ve seen almost 4,000 films… I’d like to think I’ve learned something). Second, I don’t know Hugh personally, clearly, but I do not think this was a good representation of who the man really is because I see him as a pioneer, someone at least partly interested in women’s rights. This didn’t make him out in the greatest light really. Though, it didn’t make him appear to be a piece of shit. Either way, I did not really enjoy Robertson’s performance here.
Everything else was fairly spot on. I highly recommend any fans of true stories, as well as Fosse fans, check this out if they can find a copy. Hard to get. Worth it.