Tom Six on THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE – Horror Film Podcast

Turn Your Head and Scream: The Inimitable Dieter Laser as Dr. Heiter in THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE
Turn Your Head and Scream: The Inimitable Dieter Laser as Dr. Heiter in THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE

There are some films that you’re either for or agin, and wow, does THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE fit into that category. A vivid little bit of Grand Guignol wherein a couple of hapless tourists (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie) stumble upon the lair of the prototypical mad doctor (Dieter Laser) who proceeds to stitch them (and a Japanese guy played by Akihiro Kitamura) together to form the titular medical abomination — and yes, that means mouth-to-anus and, yes, we do get to watch them experience the subsequent digestive process — this offering from Dutch director Tom Six is the kind of thing that seems expressly designed to test the will of the die-hard horror-lover.
And I surprised myself: I like it. Yeah, I turned off the playback about a half-hour in, but once I steeled my nerves enough to resume, I found that, after reaching about the halfway point, a certain grand absurdity begins to take hold of the proceedings. It helps that the good doctor’s creation, once unveiled, is patently ridiculous, and that Mr. Laser has no problem chewing the scenery with a ferocity that suggests that director Six kept him away from the craft services table for the length of the shoot. The film still pushes all kinds of buttons (the tag line reads, “100% Medically Accurate,” after all; and the young actors seem to have been cast for their capacity to sob and groan), and some will style this as yet another sign of the coming fall of civilization. If so, at least we’re having a laugh as we go down the drain.

Tom Six and I had an opportunity to talk about how the film was born from a rather creative notion on the meting out justice, as well as what it takes to wardrobe the modern mad scientist and what the audience might expect from the upcoming sequel (danger, Will Robinson). Click on the player to hear the interview.


Godzillathon in San Francisco

godzilla in san franciscoGodzilla fans in San Francisco have a rare opportunity to view their favorite radioactive reptile on the big screen, courtesy of this week-long celebration of kaiju eiga (that’s “monster movies” to you Occidentals out there). The event kicks off on Friday, May 7, with “TokyoScope Talk – War of the Giant Monsters,” a discussion among Otaku USA Editor-in-Chief Patrick Macias, Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters author August Ragone, and Japanese film critic Tomohiro Machiyama. There will also be a raffle give-away of a new GAMERA THE GIANT MONSTER DVD from Shout Factory.
The city-stomping fun continues with four of Godzilla’s “most-loved films,” which will screen from May 8 through 13: Godzilla vs. Hedora (1971), Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974). (“Loved by whom?” is one of the questions you might ask of the discussion panel, as these titles all date from Godzilla’s early ’70s nadir – although Godzilla vs. Hedorah is certainly wild and weird enough to demand interest.)
All screenings and discussion take place at:
VIZ Cinema
1746 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115
Telphone: 415-525-8600.
Get directions and schedule information at:
Tickets are $10.00 for General Admission; $8.00 for Matinees, Seniors (62+), and Children (-12).
Read the complete press release for the event below:

San Francisco, CA, April 26, 2010 – NEW PEOPLE and VIZ Cinema welcome the 3rd and latest installment of TokyoScope Talk – War of the Giant Monsters – on Friday, May 7th at 7:00pm. Join Otaku USA Editor-in-Chief Patrick Macias, Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters author August Ragone, and Japanese film critic Tomohiro Machiyama at the Bay Area’s hottest film venue for a fun and lively discussion on the “kaiju” (monster) movies featuring rare images and clips of Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera and other iconic creatures from classic Japanese sci-fi cinema. General admission tickets are $10.00.
VIZ Cinema invites Bay Area monster fans to a 5-day Kaiju Shakedown: Godzillathon!, running Saturday, May 8th thru Thursday, May 13th. Featured will be rare screenings of the Big G’s 4 most-loved films including Godzilla vs. Hedora (1971), Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974). Details and screening times at:
Don’t miss a rare chance to see the beauty and enormity of Godzilla in stunning 35mm prints with English subtitles and a premium THX®-certified sound system! These events may sell-out. Ticket prices: General Admission: $10.00; Senior & Child: $8.00. Advance tickets on sale at:
TokyoScope Talk – War of the Giant Monsters will feature a special raffle giveaway of premium monster collectables including the brand new DVD release from Shout! Factory of Gamera: The Giant Monster (1965). The revered classic features the original Japanese version of the film presented with fresh English subtitles and anamorphic widescreen produced from an all-new HD master created from original vault elements.
VIZ Cinema is the nation’s first movie theatre devoted exclusively to Japanese film and anime. The 143-seat subterranean theatre is located in the basement of the NEW PEOPLE building and features plush seating, digital as well as 35mm projection, and a THX®-certified sound system.
NEW PEOPLE offers the latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan and is the creative vision of the J-Pop Center Project and VIZ Pictures, a distributor and producer of Japanese live action film. Located at 1746 Post Street, the 20,000 square foot structure features a striking 3-floor transparent glass façade that frames a fun and exotic new environment to engage the imagination into the 21st Century. A dedicated web site is also now available at:

FULL DISCLOSURE: This event is part of the “100 Years of Monsters” celebration sponsored by Spherewerx, which owns Cinefantastique.

Predators theatrical release

20th Century Fox releases the latest installment in the PREDATOR franchise. Robert Rodriguez produced the film, with Nimrod Antal directing from a screenplay by Alex Litvak & Michael Finch, based on the concept by Jim and John Thomas. Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Adrien Brody, and Laurence Fishburne lead the cast of elite warriors and killers from Earth, who are alien-abducted to a planet where they serve as game for the Predators. When you stop and think about it, only the very first PREDATOR movie was any good, and the ALIEN VS. PREDATOR films were just nonsense, but this premise is good enough to raise hopes, and the trailer does generate a buzz of excitement. Release date: July 9.

Monster Squad remake on the way?

Mike Fleming at reports that Paramount Pictures is planning to remake 1987’s THE MONSTER SQUAD, with Rob Cohen (one of the producers on the original) hoping to direct this time out. Cohen will partner with Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes (a virtual remake factory these days) to produce the film, which has yet to be scripted.
The original MONSTER SQUAD, co-written by Fred Dekker and Shane Black (later of LETHAL WEAPON), and directed by Dekker, told the story of some young kids whose town is invaded by classic movie monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein’s creation, a werewolf, a mummy, and a gill-man. It was a great idea for a cool monster movie, but the execution failed to live up to the concept. The result was rather like a redo of ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, without the titular comedians to deliver the jokes. Unfortunately, not only was THE MONSTER SQUAD not as funny  it wasn’t as funny as the comic duo’s 1948 spoof; it also was not as scary.
Nevertheless, despite disappinting box office returns during its original release, THE MONSTER SQUAD has earned some good will in the intervening decades, so much so that some view the potential remake as an affront. Personally, I find it easy to believe that the concept could yield a film much better than the one we actually got.
Whether Rob Cohen is the director to deliver such a film is another matter. His directing career showed promise with his early films DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY and DRAGONHEART, but his more recent efforts feel more like impersonal studio hackwork. His most recent big-budget fantasy film, THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR, was a competent popcorn movie, most notable for wasting the talents of Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh. If he does direct a MONSTER SQUAD remake, I hope he can bring back some of the old panache he showed in his earlier films.

SXSW offers first look at Predators

Writing for Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision department, Dan Carlson offers us a blog-y account of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival’s preview of PREDATORS, in Austin, Texas. Carlson’s take is that the new sequeldirected by Nimrod Antal and produced by Robert Rodriguez, plays up the horror aspects while returning the franchise to its roots (i.e., while ignoring the PREDATORS VS. ALIENS movies).

The set-up is that several of Earth’s most notorious killers (which somehow includes Adrian Brody) are abducted and taken to a special planet that acts as a game preserve for Predators to run around and hunt people for sport. It’s a nice continuation of the first flick’s story that also ups the stakes, and the film won’t so much be a revamp of the character as a new direct sequel to the first movie, bypassing the deeply flawed “Predator 2.”


Clash of the Titans theatrical release

Clash of the Titans (2010)
A giant scorpion, one of the film's many mythical monsters

Warner Brothers releases this elaborate remake of the 1981 original. The new version replaces Ray Harryhausen’s old stop-motion monsters with modern computer-generated imagery, and best of all – it’s in 3D! Loosely adapted from Greek mythology, the story has Perseus (AVATAR’s Sam Worthington) out to slay the Gordon, in order to use its power to defeat the Kraken, an undersea creature that demands human sacrifice. Liam Neeson (as Zeus), Ralph Fiennes (as Hades), Gemma Arterton, Nicholas Hoult, Alexa Davalos, Danny Houston, and Polly Walker round out the cast for director Louis Leterrier, whose THE INCREDIBLE HULK was a lot of fun. Travis Beacham and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi wrote the new script, based on Beverley Cross screenplay for the 1981 version.