the human centipede

tom six the human centipede

human centipede the human centipede

illustration by tyler quarles

Tom Six grossed out the entire planet with his film The Human Centipede. Say what you want about it, but that’s not something a lot of films can boast. The movie is driven by a simple but brilliant premise—a mad scientist wants to stitch three people together to make a human centipede. Talk of the film was on everyone’s lips this year, and if you’re brave enough to watch this David Cronenberg-influenced body horror, I guarantee it’ll stay in your head like a twisted radio jingle. Tom Six recently wrapped shooting on the sequel, and it’s slated to be released early in 2011. I chatted with the good-humoured filmmaker from his home in Amsterdam.

A lot of people out there probably think you’re a demented guy. Tell me all about what a good guy Tom Six is.

I’m just a very regular guy. Happy childhood. Nothing weird about me. Just a normal guy with a huge imagination.

Do you have a dog?
I have a lovely little dog. It’s a pug. I love animals.

So where did the idea for The Human Centipede come from?
It was very simple. One day I was watching television with friends and there was a story about a really nasty child molester. I said to my friend, “They should stitch his mouth to the ass of a very fat truck driver as a punishment.” My friends were like, “That’s a horrible idea.” So I thought it could be a great idea for a horror movie because the idea is so universal. Imagine if you put that as a punishment in prison.

I think that’s part of the appeal of your film. People don’t want to imagine this and you confront them head-on with it.

It’s the most horrible thought there is, I think.

So you stand behind the claim that your film is 100% medically accurate?
Definitely. It is 100% medically accurate. You could make a human
centipede. I consulted a real surgeon for this and he made operation reports for me. He said I could actually make a human centipede in a hospital. In the film, you see they’re hooked to IVs to get nutrition and fluids. They could live for a long time.

Is it true you kept certain aspects of the film a secret from investors?
Yep. I’ve made three films in Holland so I worked with the same investors. I told them we were going to make a film about a surgeon who stitches people together. We left out the ass-to-mouth part of it because it’s ridiculous and the film would never be made.

Of course, these people aren’t angry with you.
No, they saw the end result and they were shocked but they loved it. That was pretty cool. You have to be a little tricky sometimes.

You’ve managed to gross out the entire planet. How does that feel?
It’s an amazing feeling. They’re making a porno movie out of it.

The Human Sexipede! Is a pornographic parody of your movie the ultimate form of flattery?
It’s incredible! I really look forward to the completed film. There are pictures of pretty girls sitting in a row and all kinds of other parodies. Movies on YouTube. It’s really cool.

What’s been the most entertaining reaction to the film you’ve seen?
So many. A very funny one was a guy watching the trailer while eating and then vomiting. On Facebook people were saying I had to be sterilized and that I’m worse than Hitler. People are really afraid of me. Some people won’t even look at me. They think I’m a disgusting pervert.

One interesting review of the film I read was by Roger Ebert. He didn’t give it a negative review. He just refused to give it any stars because it “occupies a world where the stars don’t shine.” What were your thoughts on that?
Really proud! That’s very cool to see all these films with their ratings. And then there’s The Human Centipede with no stars. It’s amazing.

Do you think Roger Ebert secretly loved the film but was just afraid to admit it?
That could be true. Maybe he’ll be the first to buy the DVD and watch it 20 times at home.

Let’s talk about the sequel.
We just finished shooting it in London and now it’s in post-production. Part two is gonna be pretty crazy.

Can you give me any details?
It’s 12 people this time. Everything I didn’t show in part one, because I held back the gore, I did put in part two. I always say, part one is My Little Pony compared to part two. It’s pretty disturbing.

If someone had a hangup about seeing your film, what would you say to make them go see it?
That they’ll have a terrific time watching something that is completely out of this world. It’s something that they will never ever get out of their brain again. It will haunt them forever. The best thing is when people have no clue what they’re going to see. They go in the theatre with their boyfriend or girlfriend and they come out so incredibly fucked up.

It’s a great date movie.
It is.

People don’t celebrate Halloween in Amsterdam. But if they did, what would you dress up as?
The head of a centipede with 20 beautiful and naked women behind me. But I must be the head. Let’s be clear about that.

Illustration by
this article was published in ion magazine october, 2010.