The latest and some will hope final instalment in the self-described “world’s sickest horror franchise” will soon be upon us, as Human Centipede 3 crawls into cinemas for a limited release on July 10 and into the shops on Blu-ray and DVD three days later.

The Daily Mail’s Film critic Chris Tooky described the first film in the series as “sick, boring, ugly horror... a repulsive film that I regret I can not un-see.” But that didn’t stop him watching Human Centipede II, which he described as “ten times more extreme, filthy and psychopathic than the original.”  

The franchise’s creator, Dutch director Tom Six, directed the Netherlands version of Big Brother before turning to movies. He’s said the idea for the first Human Centipede came from a news report about a paedophile that made him wonder what could be the worst punishment given to such a man.

His answer was a flick about a mad scientist (played by Dieter Laser) who abducts people and sews three of them together to create a creature with a single digestive sequence. 

The second film in the series, Human Centipede 2 (The Full Sequence) was even darker than the first. Shot in black and white for disturbing effect it centred on a mute social outcast who has become obsessed with the first film and decides to re-enact it for real. The sequel was initially banned by the British Board of Film Censors but later released with 32 cuts.

The third film returns to colour but continues the idea of a world in which the first two films exist as movies that inspire a mad man to recreate their perverse premise. This time the anti-hero is Bad Boss (Dieter Laser returning from the first film, alongside Laurence R. Harvey from the second film), the governor of a Texas prison who decides to punish his inmates by turning them into a 500-person centipede.

Human Centipede 3 (The Final Sequence) has a glossy, cartoon-like appearance that leaves no doubt it’s intended to be taken as a gross-out comedy rather than a serious horror film. But whether viewers will be able to keep their popcorn and hotdogs down until the end credits remains to be seen.