So you have a sinisterly brilliant idea for a horror flick. The concept’s so queasy and unnerving that it both repulses and intrigues. And you’re filled with unbridled enthusiasm for the project. But how the heck do you get the thing financed?!
Writer-director Tom Six decided the stealth, softly-softly approach would be the best tactic…
“We made films in Holland before and so we had a group of investors,” he explains. “We told them we wanted to make an international horror film and we were going to stitch people together.
“We left out the words ‘mouth-to-ass’ because we knew they wouldn’t fund it. If I had mentioned ‘ass-to-mouth’, I think they would have said, ‘Have a nice day, bye!’ But they have seen the film and they loved it. So the trick worked very well, fortunately.”
And you can understand his reservations. The story of two American girls who are kidnapped alongside a Japanese man by demented retired surgeon Dr Heiter - and then have their mouths sewn to each others’ unmentionables in a terrifying experiment – would keep just about any investor clutching onto his or her cash.
But Six’s thought-out concept no doubt helped assuage their concerns post-shoot. Instead of aiming to fashion a quick fix shocker that induced aisle vomiting but little else besides, Six wanted to establish a psychology behind the model.
Naturally, his biggest inspiration was the work of David Cronenberg, alongside the boundary-pushing scarefests that are a hallmark of Japanese filmmaking.
But it was the inclusion of a German villain – the menacing Dr Heiter (Dieter Laser) – that hinted at a brain behind the project. Six drew on the Nazi medical experiments that took place during World War II as a very real launch pad for his ooky idea.
Further still, the Japanese male lead – Katuso (Akihiro Kitamura) - played on the War-time notions of divided nationalities, and created a language barrier between the antagonist and his prey.
Next: The Human Guys