Posted on Friday, April 30th, 2010 by IFC Films News
Tags: News, Reviews, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE
Truly one-of-a-kind, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE’s gut-wrenching, 100% medically accurate body-horror opus opens on two co-eds on a carefree European road trip, finding themselves alone in dark German woods when their car breaks down. Searching for help at a nearby villa, they fall into the clutches of a deranged retired surgeon obsessed with a mad scientific fantasy: to surgically connect people, one to the next, via their gastric system and create the first “human centipede.”
Filmmakers Tom Six and Ilona Six and cast members Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, and Akihiro Kitamura will appear in person at midnight screenings at the IFC Center on Friday and Saturday!
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is available nationwide on demand via Comcast, Cox, Cablevision, Time Warner, Bright House, Charter and Insight. Visit www.ifcfilms.com to watch the trailer, and join our fan page on Facebook for daily updates, links, and much more! http://www.facebook.com/#!/TheHumanCentipede
The film expands nationally beginning May 7th, with special late night screening events in select cities.
“Tom Six’s Torture-Porn Game-Changer The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
In Tom Six’s torture-porn game-changer The Human Centipede, an evil German doctor kidnaps a Japanese man and two vapid American girl tourists, imprisons them in his basement lab, and shows them a presentation of simplistic hand-drawn slides that illustrate his diabolical plan: By surgically connecting all three via digestive tract, he will turn three beings into one. Just like that, an iconic movie monster is born.
The notion of a human centipede assumes that humans are interchangeable widgets, and thus, as long as there are more available, the centipede can keep growing indefinitely—and it’ll be exactly the same, except more horrible. So, yes, the sequel possibilities are endless. But on some level, the film may exist to mock the idea of a horror franchise in which the monster/threat/body count gets bigger with each iteration. (This Godzilla movie is just like the last Godzilla movie, except now he’s even more radioactive! Human Millipede is just like Human Centipede, except with even more gastric extension!) Either way, Six has created a marketer’s dream—if not for the whole “ass to mouth” thing.
Despite the above phrase, the film itself is not as scat-pornographic as you might think; there’s no excrement onscreen. (That said, when spoken in Centipede, the line “Swallow it, bitch!” gruesomely transcends its usual hardcore porn context.) Never as explicit as a Saw or Hostel film, Centipede disarms the viewer with comedy early on, then swiftly shifts into the shit (literally and figuratively), managing to maintain a steady aura of stomach-churning dread through the end purely from performance and suggestion. It’s definitive psychological horror, positioning the viewer to identify with the victim’s suffering and lack of free will, even after harshly judging what they did with that free will when they had it.
In fact, The Human Centipede is startlingly relatable: Six uses the centipede to talk about humanity. In the tradition of the first Frankenstein films, various contemporary “advanced interrogation techniques,” and certain interpretations of Catholic purgatory, Centipede plays on the notion that the only thing more frightening than death is a state bridging life and death, in which, though one’s body is no longer his own to control, the mind remains conscious. In Six’s view, the moral imperative to preserve life only goes so far—eventually, death is a relief.
Centipede may fit into a certain horror tradition by hyper-intensely depicting the fundamental fear of limbo, but it zigs where most of those films zag. If the standard cinematic way of dealing with that fear is by giving victims a last-minute burst of heroism to arrange their own reprieve, then the film is truly subversive in its hopelessness, its refusal to transform its victims into self-saviors with dubious impromptu powers. Centipede ultimately manages to correct mainstream horror’s bullshit conservative ideology. It’s become an old film theory chestnut that the horror heroine who says “no” to sex gets to live while her friends die—thus, the Final Girl. Six’s final girl never gets to have sex, but in the end, she’s truly fucked.”
Stranded Tourists Fall Into a Surgical Trap
Published: April 30, 2010
A must-see for coprophiliacs and spanking enthusiasts, “The Human Centipede (First Sequence)” may be the year’s first mainstream fetish movie. Whether its writer and director, Tom Six, has more on his mind than mere titillation is debatable; either way this twisted, hammy bio-horror is sufficiently original to lure even the most satiated genre fans.
An all-too-familiar setup finds a couple of ditzy American tourists (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie) stranded in the woods en route to a German nightclub. Stumbling through the dark, they happen upon the villa of Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser), a cadaverous surgeon whose obsession with twins and demented medical procedures suggests part David Cronenberg, part Josef Mengele. Cowed by their host’s praying-mantis affect and plentiful supply of Rohypnol, the girls soon learn their fate: to be joined, mouth to anus, into a single plumbing system headed by a luckless Japanese hostage (Akihiro Kitamura).
Almost more revolting to describe than to watch, the film’s images (captured with a remarkably steady hand by the divertingly named Goof De Koning) accomplish much with suggestion and strategically placed bandages. But whether a commentary on Nazi atrocities or a literal expression of filmmaking politics, the grotesque fusion at least silences the female leads, both of whose voices could strip paint.
Concluding with a scene that prepares us more for a commercial break than end titles, “Centipede” promises to return with a sequel that, according to Mr. Six, will make this movie “look like ‘My Little Pony.’ ” I believe him.