Human Centipede Review

Due to the persuasion of some close friends (they promised beer and pizza, so how could I refuse) I found myself sitting to down to watch Human Centipede (First Sequence), the high concept gore-horror from Dutch director Tom Six (is he perhaps related to Sporticus 10?). Now this for me was a bit of a leap into the unknown, as I knew how disgusting the premise was and had quickly dismissed the movie as a gore-for-the-sake-of-it kind of film. Nevertheless, I sat down to watch and endure it.

Well, all I can say is it delivers what it promises, i.e. a human centipede - the answer to a question no one really asked – but offers little in the way of plot and believable characters, or crucially much in the way of gore. The one thing I thought that Human Centipede was marketing to its audience, wasn’t even really there; much of the horror is implied rather than visceral. Sure, the psychology behind the plot is rather disturbing, as is the thought of the ordeal of being stitched arse-to-face to someone. However this is just playing on basic human fears: like a fear of confinement, nausea, pain and paralysis etc; beside that, this film lacks a good plot and acting, and gets very boring incredibly quickly.
So what is this film all about? Well, simply speaking it’s about a insane surgeon, who has spent his life separating Siamese twins, and has now become fixated with fixing people into one entity with a shared gastric system, and who sort-of succeeds. It’s a shaky premise as you can imagine, after all you don’t hear of kidney surgeons getting sick of removing kidneys from patients, and then trying to fuse unsuspecting victims into a giant functioning homemade kidney made of beef scraps. The silliest thing of all is that the film stands proudly beside the fact that the portrayal is surgically accurate, implying that Mr Six has done a fair bit of research into this nonsense. Fine it is surgically possible to do something as wrong as this, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that there is no need to make a three person human centipede in the first place, it doesn’t make sense.

The fact that this mad scientist is doing this all for his own sick pleasure means that Human Centipede cannot possibly hide itself from the criticism that it is torture porn, as that’s all it is really. The fact that two of the ‘segments’ of the centipede are played by young, attractive, helpless (not to mention gormless) women, who’s top halves are gratuitously naked when attached to the ‘pede’ just shows that this is really for the sadomasochists. Also all the victims are portrayed quite unsympathetically, and whilst they do nothing that deserves the outcome of having their face literally stuck into someone’s arse, you don’t feel anything remotely resembling affinity.
The plot plods along as slowly as the human centipede itself with the usual bit of establishment, a bit of exposition; a hilariously poor attempted escape that fails to capture any sense of suspense, and copies about every hopeless slasher film victim ever; the doctor marvelling at his odd creation, as he literally makes the back two parts of the centipede eat shit; and finally a bit of a shootout tacked on at the end.

The acting for the most part is pretty awful too, the female victims seem to spend the first part of the film rambling through hammy dialogue. Then they spend most of their time making muffled screams into the anus of the person in front. It begins to feel like they are substituting for the lack of screams from the audience, or even trying to prompt the audience screams, a bit like scream-o-vision. The only honourable mention goes to Dieter Laser (a man with an undeniably cool name), who plays the wacky surgeon behind the shocking misdeed. Unfortunately even his character is so overbearing unhinged and suspect that it is surprising the police haven’t had him under some kind of secret surveillance. Not Laser's fault, the writing is just very bad. This is especially the case when he tries to get his victims to drink a drugged glass of water. His insistence that they drink their water is so incredibly obvious that it’s surprising anyone manages to fall for this trick. It really is like something out of Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place albeit serios, it’s that bad.

In summary, there is no point bothering with this film unless you, for some reason, get off on mutilation porn, or on people eating excrement. There is no more depth to it than that, and it just drags on in the end. Its an eye catching idea, that lacks any substance.

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