What is the state of the horror genre? It must be down in the dumps if the atrocity that is Torture Porn breaks box office records. However with the latest Saw outing bombing like Fat Man or Little Boy maybe that bizarre fetish of the movie going public has run its course. But what then? What comes next? What is more disturbing, more shocking than Torture Porn? The answer, sorrowfully and gleefully at the same time, is the brazenly crazy The Human Centipede (First Sequence). Writer and director Tom Six says that he wanted the film to fit its tagline, “100% Medically Accurate,” so he enlisted a real surgeon to help him devise the villain of the film’s insane plans, however lending any helping hand to this picture was a violation of that sawbone’s Hippocratic oath because this film aims to revolt all of its viewers out of the theater and into the vomitorium. Whether that is good or bad, you’ve got to make up your own mind.
The picture starts off with two terrifically terrible actresses, Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie, portraying two terrifically dumb American tourist in Germany. When their car gets a flat tire in the woods while looking for a club (why they are in the woods I didn’t ever get) they wander onto the front porch of one Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser), the preeminent surgeon in the world when it comes to Siamese twin separation cases. Little do the two dim-witted ladies know that Dr. Heiter is in the market for two more subjects for his grotesque human experiment.
Not to give away anything that the trailer and all of the press has told already, Dr. Heiter plans on joining three people, mouth to anus, to create the first Human Centipede, as the title of the picture would suggest. Not only is the plan disturbing enough, but when he puts into action things start to get weird, and then somewhat interesting.
The first half of the picture is kind of boring. The acting is bad, the photography is obvious and much too brightly lit for a horror picture, the dialogue is painfully plastic, and the dear doctor’s motivation is never even touched on. The saving grace of the first half is the strange and dedicated performance of Dieter Laser. He has an almost comedic intensity to his jawline that carries through to his portrayal of the maniacal medico.
But then he connects three people mouth to anus, and “Bingo!” I think we have a hit on our hands! From there on the film is so strange, so stomach turning that is literally like watching a train wreck in progress; the bodies are mangled right in front of your eyes, the pain is almost inhuman, and you can’t do a thing to stop it, but you also can’t take your eyes away.
These days some pictures set out with the express purpose of making a “cult film,” and it is obvious that Human Centipede is one of those. The film has almost no commercial appeal other than its audacity, and has no chance of crossing over to a wide audience. The film making is way below board, and it is a mystery as to where the 1.5 million Euro budget went. All that said, the movie will do well with the niche horror audience that revel in the simulated degradation of their fellow humans.
But is this the new face of the horror? Poor storytelling and atrocious film making, but a mind-blowingly nutty concept? I weep for the genre if that is the case, but somehow I doubt it. This film is all gimmick, and like all gimmicks it is hard to get lightening to strike twice. If this picture manages to make major waves then we can expect a rash of out-there movies clamoring over each other to make it on screen, but most will just fizzle before even flashing in the pan. Then again, despite the noble, ever ridiculous failure of the First Sequence, I’ll be damned if I’m not curious to see what Six’s planned Second Sequence will have in store.
El Luchador Rating: 3 out of 5
Review By: Paul S. Myers (a.k.a. El Luchador)