Exclusive: Tom Six, Laurence Harvey Talk Human Centipede 2

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The director and his star

When you meet Tom Six, he’s all smiles. Beneath his white cowboy hat, beads of sweat erupt on his forehead. The red carpet lights can be hot. His face isn’t completely unassuming. There’s a bit of danger there, but he lays on the charm to make you feel comfortable. And just a few feet away, a bodyguard.

Tom Six is a wanted man.

Wanted by those offended by 2010’s The Human Centipede (First Sequence), that is, a film that strangely captured the pop culture eye and ticked off plenty of viewers who wanted to see Six dead. Hence the security here a Fantastic Fest, in Austin, Texas, where Shock Till You Drop is able to speak with Six about his latest shocker The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence).

If there are those out there who were repulsed by the first film, well, they haven’t seen anything yet. In this entry, Six rabidly strikes back against his critics and comments on fandom.

Not longer after the red carpet premiere of the sequel, Shock sat down with Six and his star, Laurence Harvey, who plays the film’s lead, Martin, a man obsessed with the first Six film who sets out to create his own centipede.

Shock Till You Drop: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you do have financiers on these productions, they’re not self-funded.

Tom Six: Definitely.

Shock: How do they feel about all of this? Do you feel you were testing the waters with how far you could push the first movie? Did you allow the financiers to read the script?

Six: No, I never show them the script. I just tell them the story. In part one I had to leave the words “mouth to ass” out. I just told them it was people being sewn together. They liked the idea. They thought it was original. Then, of course, it became huge, so they completely trusted me with a sequel. And I didn’t let them read that script either. I just told them what it was about. I showed them the film in a teaser and they loved it.

Shock: And I presume that’s the same situation with part three at this point. Even after they’ve seen part two.

Six: Yeah, they want to do it again, definitely.

Shock: Now, with part two, you’re taking the meta approach to this wave of extreme horror films we’ve been getting, what some people would categorize as torture porn. This is the Scream of that sub-genre where you’re turning it on its head.

Six: Playing with it, very much so. Because, in part one, people wanted to shoot me afterwards. I was getting death threats. I always said, it’s just a movie. Then there was another group of people who said they wanted shit, they wanted more gore, they wanted more. And here I shove it all in there.

Shock: You deliberately chose to shoot this one in black and white. Was that to help ease the effect of some of the nastiness that goes down? Some filmmakers would shoot in black and white to avoid cutting scenes of bloodshed.

Six: No, nothing to do with that. Part one has the clinical colors and the Steadicam shots. I wanted to go completely different here. The black and white here helps the darkness and the Martin character. It’s dirty. I really loved it, it gives it that extra creepy feeling.

Laurence Harvey: It feels like it’s something you get under the counter at the video store.

Shock: Absolutely. For you Laurence, you really have to drop all vanity. Plus, you’re working with a part that’s dialogue free, save for the noises you make. Talk about tapping into that all.

Harvey: Well, first I was really surprised that Tom was interested in me for the lead. When I went to the casting office, I thought I was never going to get the part. Tom told me I wasn’t going to have much to say, other than quoting lines from Dr. Heiter and putting Martin on a course to out-do Dr. Heiter. I think we also talked about, in a way, the father figures in his life are abusive, so he’s trying to prove himself to this fictional character, Dr. Heiter. That was one of the ideas as to why he’s copying lines from the Dr. Heiter, but during casting, I just forgot to speak. [laughs]

Six: He’s gorgeous and has an amazing screen presence. You put a camera on him, he’s just there. It helped way much better for the character not to speak.

Shock: There is a scrapbook Martin carries with him, were you allowed to create that yourself or was that put in the prop department’s hands?

Harvey: I was told at the last minute to do it. I was frantically staying up until the last minute making it.

Shock: Vivien Bridson plays your mother in the film. And she’s so…despicable and filled with so much animosity. Tell me she turned that off between takes.

Harvey: Actually, her performance is really down to the editing. She wanted to mother me in person. She couldn’t quite get all the vitriol out that the character needed. We’d rehearse and she’d be so nice and the cameras would roll, she would stay that way, but she gave a lot of different choices for the editor to choose from. She’s a lovely woman with a great look.

Shock: You shot this in England, how were you able to keep things so under wraps.

Six: Because we just rented the locations and didn’t tell the people what we were going to do. We shut the doors and no one knew what we were up to. We didn’t use the title Human Centipede in the paperwork. And we made a mess of that one [warehouse] location.

Shock: How much bodily fluid was on that floor?

Six: It was a layer of shit, water and blood. It was nasty.

Shock: Have you had any problems yet with the U.S. release as far as censorship goes?

Six: They seem to have way bigger balls than the UK.

Harvey: The BBFC ruling seems out of character. It reads like a feminist review and it’s not an objective review at all.

[Warning: A minor spoiler ahead.]

Shock: Do you think they’re partially pissed because you shot on their soil?

Harvey: No, I just think who ever it was in charge of the little group of censors over there, they obviously took a personal dislike to it. They start attacking Tom and discrediting the first film. When I read it, I said, that’s that the movie we made. The only sexual violence is toward himself. And the rape of the centipede is about power like most rape is. It’s about imposing power. It’s not the rape of a woman, it’s the rape of a chain.

Unfortunately, Shock ran out of time at this point. We did come to learn later that day the print of the film shown to the Fantastic Fest crowd was uncut and a version with minor trims is going to be released.

Six will begin shooting The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) in the U.S. soon.

Source: Ryan Turek, Managing Editor