If there are a set of films that have divided the horror fans all over the world, it is that of the Human Centipede franchise, which has caused headline news for its sick content and surreal subject matter. With the third and possibly final chapter all set to hit DVD on the 20th July 2015, we at HorrorCultfilms were fortunate enough to be able to grab a few minutes with its star Dieter Laser, who kindly gave up his valuable time to agree to an interview.
Despite either loving or hating the franchise, all fans agree that the performance of Laser in the original film as the menacing Dr. Heiter is one of the finest in recent years, creating a horror icon that fans were desperate to see again.
Bizarrely and quite fittingly Human Centipede creator Tom Six does not believe in doing the simple thing in horror and instead has brought the German Star back in a brand new different role…this time as the politically incorrect Bill Boss.
In this exclusive interview, our horror hound Hughesy discusses with Dieter about being drawn back to the much talked about franchise and what it was like to play such an obnoxious creation, with thankfully no human centipede in sight!
Hi Dieter Laser, thank you ever so much for taking up your time to speak at us at HorrorCultfilms.
My pleasure Ross. Thanks for your interest!
The Human Centipede III is all set to hit us in Britain, what was it like to return to the franchise after missing the second part?
It was a smooth and warm homecoming to the bosom of the Six-Family. A reunion of the “dream team”: Director Tom Six – Producer Ilona Six (his sister) – and me.
Did you feel a hint of regret when watching Human Centipede 2, seeing Laurence R. Harvey carrying on your work?
Not the slightest hint of regret! Just plain and pure admiration for the beautiful plot, for the superb and artful framing and for the brilliant performance of Laurence R. Harvey.
The first film made headline news all over the horror world for its sick premise. What enticed you to the role of the Dr Heiter?
The smashing story telling by Tom Six, his passionate and competent personality, the possibility to kick all the German Nazi compatriots of the past, the present and the future into their criminal balls by exposing these “anal retentive” clowns to laughter and ridicule.
Tom Six must take credit for delivering three different films of a franchise, the original now being a film that the other sequel characters fell so much in love with that it inspired them. It’s a surreal approach but something that must have struck you as original?
It’s absolutely genius! Tom is The Master in creating original, sophisticated, awesome plots!
With all the gore-porn horror genre out there, how do you feel at the controversial headlines this franchise generates?
It’s a grandiose promotion worth a fortune for free! Human Poo seems to trigger enormous excitement – seems to be connected with very early traumas of Human beings. No comedian can survive without poo- or fart-jokes. Tom takes advantage of that fact and the controversial headlines show that not only crime and sex sells but also human poop.
The headlines though must help the film in a way for advertisement and generating interest?
Absolutely! We are very thankful for that support. The louder they scream so much the better. Even the most devastating reviews can’t do any harm because in Horror the fans make all the difference and not the poor critics.
Playing the role of that twisted surgeon has given you much love for the fans of the genre, a character that will live long in the memory, but yet you are playing a different character in Part III,. Were you surprised about that when approached?
Oh no! I loved it from the scratch! Again what a wonderful plot! What a sophisticated idea! But I don’t want to conceal that I had some problems with the “100% Incorrectness” which I took first a hundred per cent too seriously and I even refused to play the part. But my beloved director did not give in and did not give up to convince me and to open my eyes for the pitch black comedy. And when I discovered the possibility to create with my character an overcartoonish figure in a vitriolic comic strip – to expose all rapists, sadists, torturers, all these mean cowards who beat women, to acid laughter and ridicule – then I was happy to be even 200% politically incorrect because nobody wants to identify with this idiot and while you are watching it the film mutates by this character into political correctness.
I remember die hard gore fans were a bit disappointed that the original was not quite “the sickest film” they were expecting. It’s more in the mind thanks to the subject matter, even though Tom Six created a much darker Part Two, especially with the art house style black and white. The third chapter seems more confident in tone, especially with you and Laurence together. How did you find the overall experience of being back under the watchful eye of Tom Six and his crew?
“Lady” Ilona and “Sir” Tom create such a special atmosphere at the set that you feel totally relaxed, fearless and at ease – the most desirable and precious conditions for an actor. There is only creative joy in the air. Therefore we were able in Part Three as well as in Part One to achieve very often even most complicated shots with only one clap.
Dr Heiter and your new character Bill Boss may share the same vision of a human centipede, but they carry very different personalities, with the surgeon more withdrawn in his madness, while Bill yells to all who listens. Who was more fun to play?
I loved both characters equally – like you love your children equally. They are both kind of cartoonish aliens, creatures of evil in the disguise of a Nazi doctor and a prison warden. They arise from beyond the black beyond.
If they both met in the same room, who would win in a fight?
Dr. Heiter is an Angel of Death – Bill Boss is a mean Desert-Snake. I guess they would fight to all eternity – because unfortunately they are both immortal.
Being such a nice guy in real life, it must have been hard to play such a cruel man in Bill Boss. The character hates nearly everything and everyone. How hard was it?
I think you have to be a relatively decent guy to play these roles. Otherwise it won’t be the art of acting – it only would be kind of psychotic masturbation which I despise for an actor. Some people call me a method-actor which is only my kind of “stand by mode” to save energy and avoid childish “shit-chat” what actors tend to do just by nervousness before a shot.
Is it more fun to play a villain in a film than a good guy?
You bet! Artistically and philosophically spoken, villains and broken characters are much more interesting, much more fun and a much greater challenge to play.
I heard you sometimes you are a “method actor” and in the original film, you stayed in your dressing room before shooting to keep Dr Heiter as scary and real as possible? Did you do something like this during Part III because as Bill Boss you must have frightened the cast if they ever came near you?
The best method actors you can find, are in mental hospitals as Neros and Einstein’s. As I said, my “method acting” is only a tool to concentrate and save energy. But since I mostly look quite “angry” while I’m concentrating it works pretty well to stay undisturbed.
Eric Roberts is the new face to this franchise along with adult porn star Bree Olson. Is that one of the strengths of Tom in that he can find these stars and they bring even more style to the film?
The Master of Plots is also The Master of Castings! And he has a stunning gut feeling for the chemistry and interaction between his actors. I loved to work with Laurence and with Eric and I loved to work with Bree who is such a good and tough actress with a sparkling humour.
Can we just ask, what are your favourite three films of all time?
Casablanca The Maltese Falcon The Silence of the Lambs
Having worked on many films in Germany and now in America, what could you say is the difference in approach between the two?
The Anglo-Saxon working style is paradise compared to my German and European experiences. The English speaking directors behave like architects building a house – and they treat the actors like small companies. Your role is your compartment and you are responsible for it. – I’ve seen a famous European director who showed Glenn Close what she should do by playing her role (very badly) in front of the whole crew before she had opened her mouth the first time. I’ve seen a German director screaming at Burt Lancaster: “This is MY film!” – there you have all the difference. In this context Tom Six is an “Englishman”!
What is next for you after this and will there be more collaboration with Tom and Laurence in the future?
There is a film coming up in Tallinn, Estonia. – And British producers do you hear me? – I badly want to finally direct my script Total Eclipse what I can’t do in Germany because the German Film-boards are dominated by TV managers who demand always a rewrite by “commercial reasons”. – And yes! There will definitely be more collaboration with Tom, Ilona and Laurence in the future – never ever change a winning dream-team!
Thank you Dieter for your time and we wish you all the best for the future and hope to talk to you again!
Thank you for your good questions and many thanks to your esteemed readers. Cheers!
The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) will be released to buy and rent on 20th July 2015 in the UK. Keep an eye out for Hughesy’s review in the next coming days!