When The Human Centipede came out almost five years ago, it became one of the most infamous horror films of its time, stretching the meaning of terror, disgust, and incredulity. It truly is an exercise in horror however, perfect for this time of year, but not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. You’ve been warned. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on The Human Centipede.
In most cases the film, whose full title is The Human Centipede (First Sequence), has a dubious reputation that precedes it. It’s been called the most horrific film of all time, was advertised as 100% medically accurate, and was made without its financiers knowing the full extent of its plot.
The film has been called torture porn, which I honestly can’t deny. I can imagine YouTube videos being made of folks watching it a la Two Girls, One Cup. Yeah, it’s that bad. I have seen worse films on the disgusting, and visually hard-to-take scale, but not many. One thing that can be said about this Dutch movie written and directed by Tom Six is that it must be seen to be believed.
Honestly and refreshingly, it does follow pretty traditional horror lines. In true Rocky Horror style cliche, two American women in Germany have car trouble in the middle of the night. Of course they get out of the car and start walking. Nothing scary has happened yet and you’re already yelling at these dummies on the screen.
They come to a house and ask to use the phone. The owner is a quite mad scientist who drugs them. When the girls wake, hold on to your lunch, folks, they have surgically altered. The quite mad doctor has grafted them together and to an Asian young man – mouth to anus to mouth etc., like a centipede, one behind the other.
This new creature, composed of three people, is the prisoner of this mad man, who teaches it to walk, to eat (!), and to obey. The fun really start when it/they try to escape. Horror like you cannot imagine unless you’ve seen it.
Dieter Laser, who plays the doctor, is in no small way a big part of the horror. This is one scary creepy dude. I think I might cross the street to get away from him had I not seen this flick. And since World War II, German accents, especially on doctors, are inherently frightening. He is right up there with Freddy and Jason, only that much more real.
And when he explains the surgical procedure, that’s when he really gets you. His words, and almost childish drawings, cause your imagination to conjure horrors before you ever see then on the screen. But good lord, when you do see them… it’ll be a while before you sleep or eat well.
In 2011, sequel was produced, also written and directed by Tom Six, called The Human Centipede (Full Sequence). This is an odd, to say the least, meta-sequel to the first film. In startling black and white, it is the tale of a man so obsessed with the movie, he creates a human centipede of his own, using ten or so people, one of whom is Ashlynn Yennie, an actress from the original.
The black and white lends a moody effed up almost Eraserhead feel to the flick. It also gives the violence and especially the blood a more graphic feel, a lesson learned from both Psycho and Raging Bull. Although the lesson of the film itself, life imitates art… I’m just not convinced Tom Six is the guy who ought to be teaching that particular lesson.
Yes, there’s yet another sequel in the wings, The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) started production a few months back. Again, written and directed by Tom Six, this film will reputedly feature a human centipede of 500 people. In the cast are Eric Roberts and Bree Olson. It is set for release some time in 2014.