The Human Centipede (2009)

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Movies

Some titles just grab you. A great title can do wonders. Who or what is The Human Centipede? A superhero? A flash mob get together? No. Not even close. Dutch film-maker Tom Six has delivered one of the most perculiar horror films. Ever. The Human Centipede goes beyond the ‘surgery’ theatre of cruelty and ends up one of the bleakest kick-in-the-balls horror/comedies of all time.

Much has been made of the promised gore factor, but to be honest, it’s not that extreme. There are wince-inducing close ups and moments of yuckiness, but mostly likes to serves up surrealist imagery that has to be seen to be believed. The Human Centipede is destined for cult status. No two ways about it.

The truly graphic nature of the movie bursts from queasy medical detailing of the doctor’s plans: which he delivers in pseudo-lecture format as if explaining to sick patients the process that will renew them. Also once the macabre operation has taken place we are left with a sequence of events that are much more appalling. It is a supreme entry in transgressive cinema.

Dieter Laser, an actor who looks like Udo Kier, Christopher Walken and Lance Hendrickson morphed into one delivers a spine-tingling essay in off-the-fucking-charts madness. But he’s also really funny and this could have been terrible and damaged the film if not done well.

The plot is very straight forward and follows two young American girls travelling through Europe who get a flat tire somewhere in Germany and unfortunately stop by the house of a demented surgeon who misses his three dogs – who he operated on to make a dog centipede. He mourns them like children and vows to take things up a notch.

Once he drugs the girls and kidnaps a Japanese man, the film changes tone quite significantly into a Pasolini-like allegory of power and corruption. Not in a long time has young flesh been so systematically abused on the silver screen.

The bare walls, tiled floors and bizarre modern art prints hanging from the walls may well be a nod to the Italian film-maker’s controversial last film. The libertines in Pasolini’s saga would certainly have approved of the doctor’s debased ideas and treatment of ‘those foolish things’.

The Human Centipede should, by all rights, be nothing more than a grotty little horror film to serve the appetites of gorehounds wanting the latest cinematic high fix. Instead, Tom Six and his team, serve up something else entirely.

He’s also brave enough to finish on a truly sour note letting the end credits play out over a young girl sobbing. She’s survived the horrors, but left in a precarious position. What with her mouth attached to a dead man’s anus from which his shit has passed through her own throat and into her body to be ingested and passed on to girl behind. During one scene, the excited doctor screams “feed her… feed her!”

There’s not much a viewer can do than either look away or take the punches. The Human Centipede is body horror launched to dazzling and queasy extremes. The mutilation and debasement of the human form is nothing new to cinema, but it’s not been quite so exquisitely captured in a very, very long time.

IMDB: Here | Wiki: Here | Download (AVI): Here

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