Updated: Mar 1
Back in 2009, no film was spoken about more than The Human Centipede, shocking audiences and critics, while splitting many horror fans straight down the middle. Holding a highly divisive 49% on Rotten Tomatoes and legendary status as a rite of passage for horror fans, The Human Centipede ranks high for boundary pushing horror. Dutch filmmaker and director of the film, Tom Six, had to jump through hoops to get his film about a "psychotic German surgeon whose life-long fantasy is to connect humans together via their gastric systems" enough funding to film. Six has labeled Nazi medical experiments performed during World War II as a main source of inspiration, such as those performed by Josef Mengele at the Auschwitz concentration camp. When approaching investors to fund the project, Six did not mention the premise of the film for fear of putting off potential backers; financiers did not discover the full nature of the film until completion. Regardless of how many audience members the film repulsed, the shock and intrigue was enough to thrust The Human Centipede into being one of the most iconic horror films of the modern era. After the even more squeamish sequel The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) and a downright terrible finale (Final Sequence), Tom Six has struggled so severely to get his latest film released, that you may just never see it!
The Onania Club
The film, shot in 2018, follows Hanna, a woman with a shattered marriage and life on autopilot, who secretly joins a strange group called The Onania Club. Its members, strong and independent women from Los Angeles, are aroused by the misery of others. Hanna finds more misery than she could ever hope for and in the process ends up losing everything that really matters to her, with early promotions assuring “one of the most vile, inhumane movie experiences of all time.” The few who have seen the film describe scenes where women masturbate over tragedies such as 9/11 among others. With this information it isn't very surprising that the film has been stuck in post-production limbo for a couple years since its completion, struggling to find a theatrical distributor. In a press release, Tom Six wrote “The movie’s main theme is ‘Schadenfreude,’ which means taking pleasure out of other people’s misery. It is a social commentary on the ever-growing political correctness in the privileged Western world and the hypocrisy of that. It is part ‘Sex and the City’ on evil steroids and part pure, pitch black, comedy.” “In the movie, women are [depicted] as very powerful, self-made, independent characters. The women are strong and the men are weak, which is rarely seen in other features.”
Six has been uploading Youtube videos in regards to his film and when he calls 'censorship' of his craft, in one he states “I believe that The Onania Club is my best work yet, it's like a beautiful flower growing on a mass grave.” When asked about his statement that the film's scenes are based on real life events in an interview with Vice, Six answered "Mankind is more evil and perverted in real life than anything I could ever come up with. I have a huge library with books filled with scandals, human psychology, Freemasons, history, dictators, decadence etc. The world elites throughout history have always been the biggest perverts. To give one example, during a wild party in Hollywood’s Golden Era, actor Errol Flynn and his rich friends stole the body of their recently deceased friend John Barrymore to party with him one last time. I combined that with twisted necrophilia rumours of certain types. I used that as inspiration for different scenes in The Onania Club, which I won’t spoil."
He went on to voice his frustrations with his struggle to find a distributor saying "Distributors have become the moral police. They either don’t understand the satire of the film or they reject my work based on me as a filmmaker. This is not a case of distributors simply not liking The Onania Club. They did not like The Human Centipede at first, but eventually it became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. It is just idiotic to deny a film that already has an audience waiting and that has such great reviews. It has a 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes; British top critic Alan Jones called it “a masterpiece”; and a Spanish critic called it “an instant cult classic”. There were plenty of distributors who did not even care to watch The Onania Club and turned it down without even having seen it.
When asked about his next film he hopes to make, Six gave the statement "Enjoy is another pitch-black satire with a very original concept that will have the world talking. The brutal reality is that I don’t know if I will ever be able to make that film. If no serious distributor releases The Onania Club, no investor will ever give me the money to make Enjoy. They too smell what’s going on in the horrible current film climate. I live for making films, but I would never sell my soul to put out safe, mass-pleasing films. Life to me is only meaningful if I can create what is inside of me, and if I am not being limited by other people’s boundaries. I am certain that The Onania Club will be debated, enjoyed or hated for decades to come. It will have longevity and reach a huge audience. It just needs the right, visionary, distributor to wake up and release it."
We're massively hopeful to see what Tom Six has in store for horror fans with his next boundary pushing film, we just hope anyone will actually be allowed to see it! As of publication, Six still has not acquired a distributor for The Onania Club.