Interview: Writer/Director Tom Six (THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE [THE FIRST SEQUENCE])

Chase Whale

by: Chase Whale
April 26th, 2010

Tom Six

It’s safe to say writer/director Tom Six has made the most disgusting movie in recent cinema, and he will not argue with you on that. If you haven’t heard of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE and don’t know what it’s about, get the naughty side of your brain working and think about the title. If it still hasn’t clicked, stare at the poster, which is a dead giveaway. If you’re still baffled, here it is: in the film, a psychotic retired surgeon operates on three humans at the same time, stitching them together ass-to-mouth, thus making them a human centipede

I spoke with Six last week about the film and the sequel that’s currently in the works (he’s really stitching things up for that). When doing interviews for GATW, I never thought I’d ask someone “how many times have you said ass-to-mouth today?,” but that happened. Check out the full interview after the break. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is available On Demand on April 28, and opens in select theaters on April 30.

Writer's Note: Tom's answer to the last question contains a possible spoiler, so if you don't want to know what happens, please skip over. Thank you!

Okay, so this is kind of an odd question, but how many times have you had to say “ass-to-mouth” in your interviews today?

Awww  [laughs], lots and lots of times. Not only today but at festivals all over the world. They definitely want to hear me say those words.

So, how did the unconventional plot of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE crawl into your brain?

Well the idea came from a very sick joke that I always made with friends. [There was] a child molester or something on television and I said they should stitch his mouth to the ass of a very [dirty] truck driver as punishment. Everybody said, “Aww that’s such a horrible idea.” And of course it is a horrible idea but a great idea for a horror film. That’s how it all started – just by a joke.

You know, it showed at Fantastic Fest and a few other festivals, and there's word out there from bloggers and such that this might be the most disgusting film of all time. How do you take that kind of publicity and did you ever think things like that would be written when making the movie?

Of course you think of the idea as a horrible idea [and a] disgusting idea as well. But it’s amazing that it still gets so much buzz and people are wanting to talk about it all the time – that’s amazing when they say it’s the most disgusting film of all time. It’s very funny…it’s incredible also. It also makes you a little proud, [you think] “OK, have I made the most disgusting film of all time? I hope."

A follow up with that – how accurate do you think are the suggestions about the film possibly being the most disgusting movie. Have you read any reviews or interviews where they’re talking about how hard it is to stomach? Was that your intention and purpose when making the film? If not, then what was?

When I wanted to make my first international film I really wanted to make a horror film. And for me, a horror film must be horrible or horrifying or something must happen [and effect] the audience. I knew of course [it will] startle people, people will hate it, people will love it, but this film certainly gets reactions, and as a filmmaker I want that. I hate when a film ends and you think “What’s for dinner?” and you forget immediately. So for me, [I want] to create something where people talk about it.

Let’s talk about the casting. The biggest question is, how did you convince the three actors to essentially be bound together orifice-to-orifice for the entire film?

It was pretty difficult, especially for the ladies because we had the casting in New York. We made those little storyboard drawings for the human centipede, and because a picture is worth more than a thousand words we showed those pictures to the casting and some of them were horrified and left. They thought I was a crazy guy. Then of course we had to position the actresses in the casting space on their hands and knees. Both mouths had to be as close to the [other’s] ass as possible. Some couldn’t do it. Ashlynn [Yennie] and Ashley [Williams] were very brave actresses because a lot of actresses – especially the young ones – only want to be pretty and these two had to get very ugly [during the film]. Akihiro [Kitamura] is a crazy, crazy great guy so he was up for the challenge immediately and I told him, “A woman is going to be attached to your ass” and he absolutely loved that idea [laughs].

Lets talk about your villain. Most great horror films are known for their iconic villains. Talk about the casting of yours with “Dr. Heiter”.

I saw a couple of DVDS of Dieter Laser, so I immediately thought “I gotta have that guy.” He has a beautiful face and a beautiful voice. So we contacted him to come to Berlin to meet and I explained to him the script in detail. And he absolutely loved the idea of playing Dr. Heiter, so the deal was made in like an hour or something. I’m so happy with him because he’s like an acting dinosaur, he’s worked for over forty years. He gave a terrific [performance] and I’m very happy with that.

Can we talk about the potential sequel? The first film is called THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (THE FIRST SEQUENCE) – where do you plan on taking HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (THE FULL SEQUENCE)?

The storyline is still secret because everybody of course is still speculating what happened to the middle girl and is the Doctor coming back or something. But I’m trying to create something really original – that was my goal that hopefully people will enjoy the film very much [like] the first one. But it’s going to be like, a centipede of 12 people…bigger version. I always tell a joke at festivals that in five months it’ll be “My Little Pony."  All the ideas I have, I couldn’t fit in part one. I wanted to let the audience get used to the sick idea and now I can use all my ideas and then fool you.

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