And now for something completely different!
**WARNING** This review, like the film, is X rated.
Director Tom Six, he of the scat-horror genre, is back with a sequel to his water-cooler filth extravaganza “The Human Centipede”. Let me be completely clear about why I even went to this film, and why I am reviewing it for Film Misery. I am a horror buff. I love all things horror. Give me a psychological thriller, a paranormal bump-in-the-night, a serial killer stabathon, or a good old fashion torture porn. I have a huge collection of dvds and blurays spanning all genres (I will admit I own over 1500 movies). My largest collection is probably horror, as I will give anything a try.
I’ll admit when the first ‘Centipede’ was released, I was intruiged. It sounded truly disgusting, just the idea of the movie made me quiver. The trailer intruiged me even more. It was one of the few times that I was uncertain of whether or not I would see a movie based on its content. I waited until its dvd release, and gave it a try one late night. Let’s just say I was severly dissapointed. The first film didn’t deliver on any level. Honestly, the trailer is much more interesting than the final product. There were no scares, there was no real gore to write home about, there was certainly no performances to cheer, there was simply a twisted idea that generated a huge ad campaign. Once you got over the idea of the human centipede there was nothing left. I vowed it was a waste of my time and I wouldn’t go and see the upcoming sequal.
Fast-forward a year, and here I was, sitting in the gorgeous Music Box theatre waiting to see the “Full Sequence” at one of two midnight showings. Why you may ask did I put myself through another? Let me try to explain. The buzz around the first one was quite big, but this one is hitting the blogosphere in a big way. It was announced that the UK banned the film from theatres – and even banned any chance at a dvd release. Really?! The horror hound in me perked up. I will admit that whenever a film is labled “too disturbing”, “sick!”, that I must see it. Call me a masochist if you must. Some previous films that recieved this title include: Inside, Martyrs, and Salo. Having seen all 3 I can report that I was happy to have seen 2 of them. Inside is a rather disgusting french film about a pregnant woman on New Years Eve being attacked by a mysterious visitor with sinister plans for the unborn baby. Martyrs, also in French, is a revenge story of 2 abused girls taking revenge on their captors and getting caught in an even more dangerous situation. Salo is based on the Marquis De Sade’s twisted story of the disgusting side of human nature that lived up to its repulsive reputation. I will report that both Inside and Martyrs were fantastically made films, with interesting plots and genuinly scary moments. Salo, although unwatchable at many moments, has a lot to say about human nature. It even recieved blu ray treatment from the Criterion Collection. I am here to report that The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence is devoid of anything remotely worthwhile.
The first film dealt with a demented scientist who was obsessed with making a human centipede. If you don’t already know what that is, I imagine you have lived under a rock (or are lucky enough to have turned the channel whenever an ad appeared). The human centipede is when a group of people are joined together mouth-to-anus creating 1 digestive system. In the first film the centipede included 3 people. This time it’s 12. Yeah, there’s nothing subtle about this monster of a movie. Director Tom Six seems to be on a mission. For anyone who saw the first film and said, “That’s it?”, he is out to make a point. A lot of horror and gore hounds (myself included) thought the first film was a cop out. I didn’t require or want anymore gore, just more story. But a lot of fans thought it was quite tame when considering the subject matter. I guarantee you no one will say that this time around.
We start our film by meeting Martin (played by Laurence R Harvey). He is a short, obese, and nervous little man. He works in a underground parking garage and is obsessed with watching The Human Centipede on dvd on his tiny computer in his office. We open the film with one of the more distrubing scenes from part 1, pan out and see Martin enjoying himself a little too much. He then rewinds the film to the beginning and starts it over again. Suddenly a man is seen on his video monitor going to his car after a long night. Martin picks up his crowbar and wacks the man in the head and throws him straight into the back of his van. Repeat this 12 times and you have the first half of the film.
It is to be noted that Martin never speaks a word. He sometimes makes excited noises of glee and sticks his tounge out and makes fart noises. Other than that – we hear nothing from him. We hear a lot from his demented mother in the films first half. Basically all of her lines can be diluted down to one line: “I hate you, you fat pig.” We don’t really know why she hates her son so much. There is a thin veiled attempt at a backstory where Martin was raped by his father – we know this from 1 line “Keep crying, it only makes daddy’s willy harder.” (BTW they are in London). At one point a doctor is brought in to ‘look after Martin’, but really he only puts his hand on Martin’s leg which insinuates that he too wants to have his way with Martin. We don’t really know why he attracted to Martin, who is outwardly repulsive and who doesn’t speak or seem to have any sort of personality unless he brings out his Human Centipede scrapbook (yep you read it right).
The only other “character” of note is Ashlynn Yennie. You may remember her as “middle of the centipede” in the first film. This go around she plays herself (which is rather odd because she was much more convincing in the first film playing Jenny). Somehow Martin, who never speaks, has convinced a casting agent that he is holding an audition for a new Quentin Tarantino film – and Ashlynn is in the running for a role. She is flown out to London and picked up by Martin in his hearse-van. She is driven to the abandoned warehouse (I forgot to mention Martin killed the man who owned it and is storing all 12 of his victems here) where she believes she is going to audition for Quentin. Drat its raining and she is worried that the 5 step walk from the van will ruin her hair. That’s the least oher problems as we all know. Strange thing is that she doesn’t see it coming, even though Martin may very well be the most disturbing looking AND acting person in the human species.
Simply put – this is a disgusting movie. I have seen it all before (or so I thought), and it takes a lot to even make me squirm or flinch. The Human Centipede 2 truly had me at the point of almost-upchuck a couple of times. Tom Six seems to be trying to make a point: “You wanted more?! Here you go! Now deal with it!” It’s an angry film, where I think he is trying to make his own “fans” feel bad. Anyone who said the first lacked gore – he is going to visually take a hammer to their heads (or teeth as the film depicts). It almost seems like Tom Six is a teenage girl who was not picked for prom queen so he is going to dump the pig blood on his followers while laughing all the way to the bank. This movie contains, among other things, (stop reading if you don’t want spoilers or have a weak stomach) teeth being extracted by a hammer, a newborn baby who is _____ (I’ll just let you guess), laxitives, staple guns, beheadings, rape, scat, holes in heads, holes in feet, holes everywhere, lots of anuses, masterbation with sandpaper, and more. It is extremely graphic and I imagine it would be very hard to recieve even an NC-17 rating here in the US. After some reading on the film, I realize I’ve actually seen an edited version. A scene involving barb wire was removed here (thankfully). It also never lets up, its constant gore from moment one to then, only growing more and more filthy.
The gore is not the reason I hated this film, don’t get me wrong. Yes it was over the top disgusting, but thats not why I think its a deplorable film. The fact that there is no character development, no story, and no attempt to give the audience anything other than a person eating poop – this is why I hate the film. As an actor myself, I felt extremely bad for Laurence Harvey who plays Martin. He is very large and almost always is nude except for a pair of dingy stretched tighty whities. He is sweaty, bloated, and messy constantly – and yet is given no character. There is no moment where you actually feel bad for Martin. For a character like Martin to be powerful, you need to have some sympathy for the monster. You need to know why he is doing what he’s doing. If you’re going to portray him as the loner underdog who is mistreated, then I should care when people hurt him. Simply put, I don’t. I just feel bad that he had to be in the film at all. Given what he has to do (which is not much more than be sweaty, stare at people, and get overly excited about joining people mouth to ass) Harvey does give a competent performance. I don’t blame him that his character was written by a director who cared more about how he could shoot poop splatting on the camera than giving him anything to work with.
The other actors could just has easily have been played by corpses. I asked myself and an actor friend of mine who attended the midnight screening with me if he would star in part 3 (which is already in the works) as centipede 4? My answer was no. I just don’t see the character of number 4 doing much for a career.
So, did I like anything? Yes, I did. I thought the use of black and white and the cinematography was quite good. Some of the shots looked oddly gorgeous. If this film had been in color – it would have been a comedy, no doubt about it. In black and white though it looks more dangerous. I never questioned what I saw on the screen – so that serves as kudos to the special effects department (and makeup department, how would you like to spend your day paitning peoples asses). I thought the different approach to the “story”, on paper, was exciting. The idea that “This is more than just a movie”, I think was the right way to approach a sequal to this story. Most of all I enjoyed the crowd at the Music Box Theatre where I saw the film. It was like a midnight movie drive-in of yesteryear. Had I been alone I would have left after about 30 minutes (not because it was disgusting, but because it was horrible). But in a crowd of horror hounds, whenever the going got tough – the audience reaction pulled me through. People were screaming at the screen, walking out, laghing histerically and crying out of bewilderment. It was certainly an experience at the movies I won’t forget. So for that, I don’t regret going.
Should you see the movie? No you shouldn’t. And not because it was disgusting, but because it was a cop-out. It was basically as if someone dared Tom Six that he couldn’t make them sick so he made the film. It basically is nothing more than a X rated version of the game Truth or Dare where you can only choose dare. The movie is so desperate – he’s trying too hard – and most of it comes off as a Farrely Brother’s comedy. The best example of this is the films only use of color – wanna take one guess at what color that is?? There’s no redeeming factor for this outing, and I will admit that it sucks … literally.
* / out of *****