For some godforsaken reason, I decided to delve into the Human Centipede trilogy. Having seen the first one on release with the wave of criticism/hype that surrounded it, I thought it was pretty standard gross-out torture porn; not much has changed there. Human Centipede 2 is just spasmed forth from a miserably bleak black hole, and is one of the few films that I truly regret dedicating time to - even as someone who doesn't mind splatter genre fare, it didn't offer anything new or fascinating, but was simply explicitly meaningless.
Human Centipede 3, however, has something that I can begrudgingly admire it for. While it's undoubtedly more hateful and despicable than the previous entries (bringing healthy doses of disgusting misogyny, sexual abuse, and racism to name but a few things it brings to the table), it does a similar thing as 2 does where it acknowledges the films as films. However, this metatextual relationship is exploited to one of criticism, both internal and external - real-life critics' words are put into characters mouths, while director/writer/producer Tom Six is self-inserted (in a way that would make Tarantino or Hitchcock believe their own inserts are too subtle) and voices some of his own criticisms. By doing this, it removes paratextual comparisons to others within the genre (either wider horror, or torture porn) and creates this closed feedback loop where it's really, really hard to compare it to anything but itself.
Now, it doesn't do this with any degree of subtlety or finesse. I don't even believe that it's a good thing, because it just speaks to the ego of Six and how he considers his work. But through this, it creates this text that is so inoculated from comparison, and for the life of me I can't think of any other film that has done so. Outside of the expected viscera and epithets, it carves a unique, singular space and it absolutely does my head in that a goddamn Human Centipede film has done it.