With the release of The Human Centipede III this year, Tom Six completed his intended trilogy for this series – and a trilogy is perfect for a box set. Scream Factory picked up that gauntlet and released a deluxe collection with all three films and a batch of extras. It provides a debut release for the third film (which is also available as a stand-alone release) and collects the extras from prior releases while adding in a special new extra that will appeal to series fans.
Transfers for all three films do their best with digital source material that is often designed to have a non-Hollywood look: the second film, which was converted to high-contrast black and white in post-production, probably looks the roughest in this respect. That said, nothing here looks it strays far from director Tom Six’s visual design for these films, which changes from installment to installment. The third film’s Cinemascope imagery probably looks the nicest in conventional terms.
Both 5.1 and 2.0 lossless stereo soundtracks are provided for each film. The 5.1 was used for each title covered in this review and each does well by Six’s attention to sound design, including some rear-speaker activity for the shocker scenes and a good blending of the score across the soundscape in each film.
Six takes an active hand in producing his own supplemental material and these efforts are represented on each disc. All three films include a commentary track with Six, with star Laurence R. Harvey sitting in on the second film. Six does solid work through each track, discussing his inspirations and influences, discussing the work of his actors with appreciation for their bravery and revealing incidental info regarding locations, special effects tricks, etc. Harvey adds a little extra fun to the second film’s track as he discusses the challenges of playing such a vile character and joins the director in enthusing about the film’s gallows humor.
The first disc has a variety of extras devoted to the first film. A nine minute making-of piece is a collage of behind-the-scenes footage with some interesting glimpses of Dieter Laser acting out scenes and how the makeup FX were done. A deleted scene also highlights Laser having a unique reaction to the success of his creation.
A director interview has Six offering quip-style answers to standard EPK questions, including an amusing bit on who he’d cast in a Hollywood remake. A casting tapes snippet shows Ashlynn Yennie and Ashley Carter getting put through their paces. Elsewhere, a quick look at a foley session shows all the meat products destroyed to create the sound FX, an alternate poster gallery shows some interesting unused designs and a trailer offers a slick modern update of a classic exploitation hard-sell.
The second disc houses a set of extras Six and company created for the second film. The biggest is a color version of the film, which doubles down on the gross-out effect of the film’s final half-hour. Six does another self-interview, responding to questions shown in text form as he holds forth on why he shot in black and white and even offers a philosophy of life. A warehouse set tour has Yennie guiding the viewer through that set as we see how the makeup FX were done and get a sense of the set’s dark humor.
Also included on disc two is Harvey’s audition tape, a quick six minute montage of the actor showing good improv instincts as he is asked to pantomime some of the film’s more shocking moments on the spot. Elsewhere, another foley session scene shows more meat-derived sound effects, a deleted scene offers a comic bit involving a dog and a quick video of the poster shoot shows how elaborate and technically demanding it was to create its strange imagery. A series of trailers (theatrical, teaser, promo) close things out, all of them playing up the film’s shock value without actually showing it.
The final disc houses all the Human Centipede III-specific extras. A making-of piece is devoted to behind-the-scenes footage, with Bree Olson offering a disarmingly charming tour of the set and plenty of footage of Six putting his cast through their paces. An alternate ending shows an interesting if not successful attempt to bring the series of full-circle and some brief deleted scenes provide a little more Laser-style emoting and a shocking director’s cameo.
Some promo materials round the third disc out: a motion gallery of stills offers five minutes worth of images, a trailer plays up the film’s Troma-style bad taste humor and a teaser is similar to the trailer but adds some grindhouse sales tactics.
Scream Factory has added a new extra of its own to this set and it might be the most interesting of the bonus features. It’s a featurette entitled “The Ladies Of The Human Centipede” at it runs about 48 minutes. The first half is devoted to the experiences of Yennie and Williams: they offer colorful tales of their auditions, reveal the dialogue was improvised, discuss Laser’s oddball method acting techniques and reveal the physical rigors of being in a human centipede. Kandace Caine and Maddi Clark are brought in to discuss their work in the second film, including tales of how gentle and kind Harvey actually was off-camera and a hilarious tale about the fake excrement used in one major scene.
In short, this is an excellent value for fans of the Human Centipede films, collecting the films, their attendant extras and throwing in a nice new bonus as well.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of The Human Centipede, click here.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of The Human Centipede II, click here.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of The Human Centipede III, click here.