10 May

Eat shit and die. The Human Centipede (First Sequence).

Posted by Bryan White | Monday May 10, 2010 | Reviews

I have a real problem with shock horror. I’ve been at this a long time and my search for the most shocking, most tasteless movies came to an end years ago. I didn’t find any particular movie that offended me more than any other, as you may imagine, so don’t bother asking. I can name a few but why bother? I just stopped looking. I was no longer interested. Shock horror has a tendency to be unsophisticated crap, interested only in grossing you out and while I like a good gross-out flick as much as the next guy, most shit that’s out to shock you is trying to step so far over the line that once the movie has come to an end, you can’t even see the line from where you are. Garbage like the August Underground movies also tend to thrive on a mean-streak that leaves me wondering who those movies were intended for. Idiots and psychos, that’s who.

In the last few years, though, I’ve seen a few shockers that have not only shaken me to my jaded core, they surprised the hell out of me by not insulting my intelligence while displaying a knack for weaving a capable narrative. Mostly, France is responsible for this stuff. While I thought the poster child for French intensity, Martyrs (Review), was way overrated, I actually loved the living hell out of Inside (Review) even though I never want to see it again. It’s this sort of repulsion and anxiety about shockers that makes half of me want to avoid the latest big-hype shocker like the black plague while the other half is chomping at the bit to ride the latest international thrill ride. I know it’s going to make my skin crawl and I know I’ll probably be thinking about how unpleasant the movie was for days before I can finally put it out of my mind but there’s an adventurous part of me sewn deep into the seam of my being that craves that sort of significant emotional response like a drug and let me tell you something: The Human Centipede was like heroin to me.

A sadistic and misanthropic surgeon, famous for separating conjoined twins, decides that his former sick medical experiment, the joining of three dogs, mouth to anus, must be taken to the next level. He kidnaps a trucker and then finds fortune when a pair of vapid American tourists wander to his doorstep when their car gets a flat. The trucker, it seems, is unsuitable to this current pair of victims and is replaced by a more appropriate man who only speaks Japanese. A successful surgery joins the three and what follows is a circus of contempt for the human race, muffled crying and a man screaming at the top of his lungs in Japanese as our surgeon puts the human centipede through a series of humiliating paces to train them as though they’re his pet. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

The very mission of a horror movie is to evoke a sense of abject terror in its viewers. You are supposed to be taken to the depths of fear, anxiety and hopelessness but very few horror movies ever have the balls to go all the way. Most of them feel like they have to pull back in the third act and bring you out of the muck and back into the sunny world of our consensus reality. Somehow, for some reason, good winds up triumphing over evil and the bad guy winds up getting theirs in the end. This is bullshit, if you ask me. It’s not terribly pleasant and it wouldn’t make a terribly entertaining genre if everyone in these movies was being humiliated and hacked to pieces before the killer sneaks back into the woods and credits roll, presumably to kill again but it’s nice to find a movie that doesn’t live in fear of actually going there. The Human Centipede is one of these movies. It is a relentlessly bleak picture that is going to show you just how far down a movie can go. The Human Centipede is a movie that hates your guts. It wants to make you sick and haunt your dreams. It strives to convince you that behind every door is a potential madman tending to a string of people linked ass to mouth, each sustaining the next with the shit of the person before them in the chain.

I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like The Human Centipede. If you’re reading this then you’re probably at least familiar with the idea. The trailer has been circulating for a while and by now, people outside the horror web are starting to hear about this movie. Allow me to answer the question that everyone has been bringing to me lately. Yes. The Human Centipede is fucked up. If you can believe it, the trailer doesn’t even begin to hint at the true horror contained herein. You get an idea. You get a few glimpses of the titular Human Centipede and you’re left with the sickening feeling that this is a movie that no one should see but you’re spared the morbid details. What lies within its walls is a compelling piece of shock horror that actually delivers the goods. It lives somewhere in the same space as a lot of Japan’s most extreme offerings. The fragility of the human body isn’t something that The Human Centipede concerns itself with. Sure, there’s a bit of grue and some closeups of ass to mouth sutures stretched to the breaking point, but this is a movie that instead focuses on the perversion of its own idea. It thrust you, the viewer, into the sort of situation that makes you certain that death would be preferable to living with your mouth sewn to another person’s ass and in the end, nobody wins.

Tom Six, a director who deserves a thorough psychological evaluation, has delivered a genuinely exotic horror movie. He points to David Cronenberg’s hangup on body horror as a strong inspiration but I’m not sure that that’s an accurate statement since Cronenberg’s body horror often involved the victims losing control of their bodies, which turned against them. This is just your average kidnapping/torture ordeal but with an extreme twist to the sort of crap we’ve been fed for the last ten or so years. There is nothing even approaching the levels that The Human Centipede explores and it’s a wonder that this movie even exists at all. Be warned, it is not for everyone. Scratch that, actually, The Human Centipede is not for anyone.

A valid criticism of the movie, however, is that it’s easy to get caught up in the spectacle of the movie’s central premise and forget that what you’re watching is an agonizing return to the same ideas over and over again. By the halfway mark, our victims are finally sewn together and it doesn’t take long to realize that they’re not going anywhere. What follows is a series of scenes as our mad surgeon, played to malicious perfection by an actor with the greatest name of all time, Dieter Laser, terrorizes his newly conjoined creation. Pacing is hardly an issue here, as the editing is tight and keeps the movie on track, it’s just that what you’re watching is so patently unpleasant that bearing witness to it is an ordeal unto itself. The Human Centipede is a genuinely sickening and overwhelming picture that gives you nothing but the fleeting thrill of seeing a movie in general release that is truly hardcore.

33 Comments 

  1. May 10, 2010 1:28 pm

    Missy

    I really disagree. I feel like this film really failed on every level. As a film it just didn’t come together at all. And I felt like he was trying to make a film that was about something and failing all over the place. Dieter Laser was way too much. He was over the top and seemed like a soap opera villain. The girls were painfully stupid. The Japanese tourist, however, was quite competent.

    The first forty minutes were like a joke that everyone was in on, and then it shifted to something dire and serious, and that’s when the film starts to fail. It is never scary. It is never shocking outside of its concept.

    And I really think, in the end, the entire making of the film was a childish impulse, and my viewing of it was a childish impulse. And that’s fine, I suppose, but I think we should all just be honest about it. We’re a bunch of kids hoping to see something gross, and we didn’t even get to because nothing gross happens on that screen.

  2. May 10, 2010 1:50 pm

    Bryan White

    Did we watch the same movie? The one where people’s faces were sewn to other peoples’ asses? I’m really not sure what you were expecting because, quite frankly, the thought of having to eat another person’s shit for sustenance is pretty nasty to me.

  3. May 15, 2010 11:49 pm

    rmansperger

    I have to say, this movie definitely disturbs the viewer as the film quickly leaves horror and moves into tragedy (especially for the middle segment played by Boston’s own Ashley C. Williams). I found myself throughout the last 50 minutes of the film wondering “how do you decide to play a role in a film where you end up with your face shoved into another person’s ass and forced to walk around half naked on all fours a role you want to take?” Perhaps that is just me though.

    Tom Six has stated the sequel Human Centipede (Full Sequence) will make this film look like “My Pretty Pony”. And here I was thinking that by the end of this film the premise had already worn itself out.

    I’m still glad I saw the film, but never have to see it again.

  4. May 19, 2010 7:36 pm

    Don'task

    I saw a preview of this on Youtube. I clicked on it (seeing it pop-up on the side bar) and thinking, “hmm, this sounds interesting.” For days that image has been stuck in my head. Ughhhh! The worst part, is when ever I eat, that’s all I think about.

    I’m curious on how it ends though. Do they get detached? Does someone find them? Do they kill themselves? Or what?

  5. May 23, 2010 10:45 pm

    rmansperger

    let’s just say that it doesn’t end well for any of the characters – centipede or not.

  6. June 8, 2010 2:37 pm

    SD1989

    I’ve heard this is banned in the UK? Does any one know if this is true?

  7. June 8, 2010 2:41 pm

    Bryan White

    It’s not. It just doesn’t have UK distribution yet.

  8. June 17, 2010 2:15 am

    Sam

    This film was not scary, it was not gruesome, it was hilarious. What I find odd is that I always here people complaining about the pace of the film, but I find the pace find. The only negative aspects of the film are the obvious cheesyness and the usually continuity/realism errors that all horror films have. (though this actually has it far less than most).

    The film Martyrs though was just a dumb film all around, and I find french films like Sheitan and Irreversible to be way better. Though I think Korea and Japan actually have the best hold on truly scary cinema still.

  9. August 1, 2010 2:43 pm

    alice

    One of the most disgusting movies I ever seen. What has to be going through your head to make sick, twisted crap like this. Very disturbing and disgusting. Wish I didn’t watch it.

  10. October 4, 2010 3:54 pm

    Lindsey Fox

    I was only able to watch about half of this then I googled around until I found out how it ended. I couldn’t make myself watch the rest.

  11. November 3, 2010 10:59 am

    Sarah Shan

    My mother and I watched this all through. We found the first two-thirds of the movie a joke. It was only at the end where it got interesting. I applaud Tom Six on this movie. It truly does make you wonder. He did his research though, or so I’ve heard. He called a surgeon and asked if it was possible to stitch people together ass-to-mouth. The surgeon hung up on him, as would anyone. Though after a while called him back to say it was possible. Whether this is true or not, I have no clue. Can’t wait for the second. While it is sick, it sparks curiosity to what would happen next. It wasn’t the actual movie that scared me; it was the green DVD cover. to see something in still life is far worse than seeing it in motion in my eyes. All in all, a good movie towards the end.

  12. January 2, 2011 1:52 pm

    Joe H.

    I thought the movie was sick, but Laser and Williams gave great performances. Laser played the role to perfection, and Williams, at the end, gave the audience a true depiction of complete and utter desperation.

  13. January 17, 2011 8:13 pm

    Pablo G.

    I thought the movie was great loved the story and the gurls were hot..it was like a bad porn

  14. January 17, 2011 10:59 pm

    Bryan White

    If the kind of porn you watch involves shit eating and surgical torture, I worry for everyone you live with and live near.

  15. January 23, 2011 8:58 pm

    hester

    This movie is a joke. The only good part of the movie was the ending where the Japanese guy,the main centipede did a brilliant thing; he killed himself in order to kill the whole centipede (the other 2 girls). What a freaking freakshow of a movie. Sicko cannot describe the person who made this film.

  16. February 18, 2011 1:29 am

    Kalli Johnson

    I offing puked watching this movie

  17. February 22, 2011 12:48 pm

    Ed!

    The two things I want to know most, after wathing this marvelously insane movie (not necessarily a compliment), is… (1) How did anybody green-light a film like this to be made?!? And (2) – HOW IN THE BLOODY WORLD did ANY actors and actresses, after being sent the script, say “OK! I’ll do it!” ?????! How much money do you have to pay an actor, or two or THREE, to take on the centipede roles?!? I don’t think I ‘smell’ an Oscar for this one. Sickeningly outrageous. It haunts me still. Definitely sated my “sick movie” centers for quite a while. All I did was TELL my girlfriend about it and it STILL HAUNTS HER – and she’s never seen it! Can’t say I loved it, but ya couldn’t take your eyes off the damn movie. And I like when ANY film can do that to me.

  18. April 3, 2011 7:59 pm

    becky

    I saw the title on the sky while flicking threw the channels and it seemed an interesting title. I had to watch it just to see if all was well and they got parted at the end. It was sick, i wish i never watched it!!

  19. April 6, 2011 2:26 am

    kelllo

    i could only watch till they were attached . but left wondering how it ended .. how did it end.

  20. April 6, 2011 8:11 am

    Bryan White

    No spoilers, please! I’m replying to this person by emaill.

  21. April 6, 2011 4:14 pm

    kelllo

    did they get away ???

  22. May 31, 2011 7:10 am

    Rachel

    Bryan White,Your review of the film is compelling but I still refuse to watch a film where a person’s mouth is stitched to someone else’s anus.It’s too depraved and would leave nasty images in my mind I could never erase.The trailer was enough for me.Your comment to Pablo G made me laugh:0)

  23. May 31, 2011 6:04 pm

    tynan

    Ok so the human centipede was fucking disgusting it was fucking horrible why a man would want to create his own human centipede is beyond me but over all story was pretty good i’m not spoiling anything but lets just say the end could of gone better i mean it leaves you wondering,but not as you would expect.so my advice if you like fucked up shit and dont barf to disgusting shit then watch this movie, (but)if you dont like fucked up shit then dont watch this movie overall rating six out of ten.

  24. June 16, 2011 6:49 am

    Kate

    I don’t see what the problem was with this movie. Sure, it didn’t have much of a storyline, but it wasn’t that bad!

    I don’t think that i’d really enjoy eating another person’s shit, ever. But what comes to my mind is “Sucks to be them!”

  25. June 21, 2011 3:53 am

    anonymous

    okay I have one thing to say…Tom Six. Creator of the movie “The Human Centipede.” You deserve one thing and one thing only and that is to go NO where with your career. Anyone who can make that screwed up of a movie needs to be locked away in an asylum. You are a disgrace to all movie directors out there. Just sayin. K thanks :)

  26. July 1, 2011 3:14 am

    hahah

    haha kate instead of “sucks to be them” its more like “stucks to be them” hahahahha:P

  27. July 21, 2011 10:01 am

    annon

    I wish I had never seen this movie. How could anyone want to create something so horrible. The thing that disturbs me the most is the population of guys… Or girls I guess, who secretly love this movie and what it imposes. Disgusting.

  28. July 21, 2011 10:59 am

    Bryan White

    I guess you don’t want to know about the sequel, then… and you thought this one was bad.

  29. July 21, 2011 3:02 pm

    annon

    It makes me sad to know there are so many people that look forward to it. I don’t understand why people like to watch such depravity.

  30. July 22, 2011 3:19 pm

    Haney

    When I first laid eyes on this movie I couldn’t believe a movie such as this actually existed. When the movie was over, I, (like someone said before me), truly felt as if my mind had been raped. I was actually half traumatized for a few hours. Imagine if the middle piece of the centipede survived, how much counseling and therapy would she have to go through to get halfway back to sanity? But this movie, unlike any other was very interesting. I couldn’t get the concept out of my head but I didn’t think I’d be able to watch it again. But watching interviews with the cast of the centipede set me at ease. I actually watch this again, then again as I showed it to my friend. It’s really not as bad the second time around. It’s more of a psychological thriller than anything. But the creator promises that part II will show a lot more of what we didn’t see in this one. I read the details to the sequel and I’m not sure how I’ll respond yet to it, but I can’t wait to see it.

  31. October 8, 2011 7:21 pm

    Tenchidbz

    I am currently watching The human Centipede right now. I am on the scene where he is starting to train the centipede. He is eating out of a silver dog bowl with is hands now. Really fucked up movie. Im not into the whole torture porn thing to begin with. What the hell is he eating???? What a fucked up movie!

  32. October 8, 2011 7:22 pm

    Tenchidbz

    Who watched the south park episode based on this and Apple computer??

  33. October 30, 2011 3:55 pm

    Jessica

    I never finished it. I’m still curious about the ending, but I really don’t want to finish it!! Anyone want to let me know by email…
    JCDwardly900@yahoo.com


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