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Human Centipede (First Sequence) Big on Graphic Horror, Low on Plot

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humancentipede_poster   There are a few movies and directors that I don’t normally lay fandom to in everyday life. It is not only due to the fact that 80% of the population would scratch their head and ask “what?” or “who?” I get that with most of the things I do.

It has more to do with the fear that these people may actually know these movies and directors, and find them to be, for lack of a better word, “gross” rather than the adjectives I use, such as “raw”, “inspiring”, “provocative”, “so disturbing that you can’t look away”. Usually, at least two of those adjectives have to be used by me to describe a movie that I like.

Some of these movies and directors that have found their way into my heart, or at least, psyche:

human_centipede1   When I heard the bar-top reviews of The Human Centipede, the words “gross”, “disgusting”, “holy shit was that vile” came into the explanation time and again, so it seemed that the movie may find itself into the list above. Unfortunately, it fell short.

Written and directed by flying Dutchman Tom Six, the plot revolves around a German doctor that had once specialized in separating conjoined twins. After possibly ingesting too much acid, the doctor decided to start conjoining people ass-to-mouth to create a human centipede. Two female American tourists and one Japanese guy become the candidates for his experiment. A few people die. And the human centipede? It becomes reality.

The acting is fairly well done after the women stop getting lost in the woods. The Japanese guy seems to have been taken straight out of a Takashi Miike movie himself. The mad Dr. Heiter probably suffers from OCD and portrays a medical fiend that hates people, as he stated, quite well. There isn’t a whole lot of action: one normal chase scene through the house, one gimpy chase scene in the house, a little gunfire, death by injection, death by self-inflicted throat slashing, and a little blood poisoning. Be warned: when people call this movie gross, it is not because it is a gore-soaked horror movie. No, the gross-out has to do with the construction of the human centipede: ass-to-mouth. What do you think will happen when someone on the front end has to do #2?

human_centipede2   Exactly.

However, this is not what makes the movie a little unwatchable until the final 10 minutes. Like so many good directors listed at the beginning of this review, the substance of a movie is both visual and symbolic. The Human Centipede does have its moments of realization for the characters. The Japanese guy has an amazingly subtitled monologue on humanity. When police officers find the human centipede, their disgust shows just how much the 3 characters lost their identity, and humanity, by being merged together. You can only imagine what they would try to charge Dr. Heiter with.

The problem is, these deep thematic devices don’t evolve until the last 10 minutes. Locking the human centipede in a cage, teaching it to play fetch, these were failed attempts because they just seemed comical, because it was obvious what the director was trying to do. The detective’s reaction to seeing the human centipede, however, was amazing. The best 10 seconds of the movie. Unfortunately, that’s way to short to give this movie a pass in the grading department.

Apparently, Tom Six is working on a sequel, The Human Centipede (Final Sequence). Should be interesting to see if he goes high-brow, or even more vulgar.

I give this movie 2.5 out of 5 pieces of the human centipede.

centipede_grade


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Patrick began collecting a library of VHS tapes, DVDs, and CDs when he was young, and continues to build a library that could easily double as a video store and/or a revitalized Tower Records.

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