Human Centipede: First Sequence
Dr. Heiter...Dieter Laser
Lindsay...Ashley C. Williams
I have to admit that I was looking forward to this movie more than I had looked forward to any genre film in quite some time. It didn't really have anything to do with the hype surrounding it--I'm usually pretty good at insulating myself from that sort of thing. It was just that the basic concept was so sick and twisted that it brought me back to my younger days.
Growing up, I didn't have the internet. I didn't have access to mailing house catalogues or grindhouse theaters. If I wanted a horror film, I had to rent it at one of the three mom & pop video stores in my tiny hometown--thinking back, it baffles me that a town with such a small population could even support three video stores, so I guess in that respect I was lucky.
I remember what a thrill it was to read the synopsis on the back of the oversized clamshell boxes after spending much time studying the artwork on the front. My friend Jimmy Retro and I had a theory that the bigger the box, the more illicit the feature. The biggest ones we referred to as Big Box Productions. It's difficult to describe the feelings I had when I brought home Blood Feast for the first time, or Lunch Meat, or Microwave Massacre. It's even more difficult to capture that feeling these days, living as I am in a world of instant gratification and media overexposure. But a glimmer of that old feeling came creeping back as I received an e-mail notification from Netflix alerting me that Human Centipede was on its way. It's the type of movie that would not have seen a wide release a decade or two ago. The type of movie that your older, cooler cousin would have sworn he had seen, but you really didn't know if you should believe him. The type of movie that I would comb the shelves for, ultimately disappointed with the result.
Namely, this is the type of movie your mother warned you about.
Dr. Heiter, a retired surgeon once famous for his skills at separating conjoined twins has discovered a new passion. Forget separating, he's all about combining these days, and the experiment that he has been undergoing with his canines is now ready for the next step in evolution: human subjects.
Three people, one digestive tract. That's basically the premise here. Two American girls and a young Japanese male are stitched together ass-to-mouth to form the titular human centipede. It's fairly obvious that being the head of the centipede is the ideal location, as the two at the back are left consuming their partner's feces.
I believe the word you're looking for is...gross.
And that's really what it has going for it. It doesn't have a great plot. It doesn't feature your favorite actors, and it's not from your favorite director. But it is gross, and it is a grossness that you have never seen before. Unless there's another mouth-sewn-to-asshole movie that I'm forgetting, and if there is, I'm sure one of my loyal readers will let me know.
There's also a disturbing sexual element to the festivities that few people touch on, most evident in the scene where Dr. Heiter prances around in his knee-high leather boots, swishing a riding crop like an S&M scat queen. There's a reason few people touch on it, though. It's too disturbing to even think about, and so I'm going to be just as guilty of skimming over the implications here.
It should be noted that Dr. Heiter cuts a pretty intimidating figure, with his sharp facial features, his long white surgical coat, dark sunglasses, and tranquilizer rifle. It's because of people like him that I stay away from hospitals, no matter what the cost to my physical well-being. He is the modern offshoot of the classic mad scientist, and perhaps we will see a second wave of that now mostly-missing character trope.
Torture porn? With the Saw franchise on its final throws, that's yesterday's news. Welcome to surgery porn. It's Nip/Tuck meets Hostel, and everyone's invited. But not everyone will want to come.
One hell of a fucked-up film that will make even the most-jaded viewer cringe in his seat, and possibly one of my favorite horror flicks I've seen this year if for no other reason than its sheer bizarro originality. The only real problem that I have with Human Centipede--and I know this is going to sound odd--is how easily accessible it was. Hollywood horror films are abundant, and most of them are not-so-good. Indie horror films are easy to find--and that's great.
But Human Centipede belongs in an underground that no longer exists.
"Feed her. Feed her. Swallow it, bitch!"
(Don't trust my opinion? Visit Screen Grab! with J. Astro to see what my fellow J has to say)