The Human Centipede (2009)

I really, really did not want to do this.

I have no problem seeing movie characters ripped in half and strung up by their own intestines. That’s all good, clean fun. But even I get squeamish when torture turns to the more vulnerable areas of the body. Needles to the eyes, attacks on the teeth, fingernails – really anything you can grab onto with a pair of pliers. And anytime a villain goes anywhere near the genitals…oh dear lord please make the bad man stop.

But there’s only one scary movie coming out in theaters this week and it happens to be The Human Centipede 2 (Full Throttle Sequence). I promised to do a theatrical every week and I won’t watch a sequel without seeing the original. Thus, with my testicles safely retreated into my body cavity, never to return, I sat through The Human Centipede (First Sequence). It was, as advertised, fucking awful. In truth it’s a more or less competent torture flick, effectively accomplishing its gag-inducing objectives. But, my goodness, that was not a pleasant 90 minutes. You’ll have to excuse any typos in this post because about halfway through I clawed out my own eyeballs, which in turn made me even more nauseous. For you, dear reader, all for you.

The story: Ugh. We start with a highway. It’s set in Germany so we’ll assume it’s das autobahn. The camera rolls around to a parked Mercedes occupied by a dignified older gent. He’s sobbing over a picture of one rottweiler with its nose wedged in another’s butt. He flips to the next picture and now it’s three rotties in a row, all stoically going ass to mouth. He must be a really good dog trainer.

Don't all German doctors look like this?

Next we meet your basic horror movie heroine/victims, getting all dollsed up for a little oontz-oontz action in ze German nightclub scene. Completely unexpectedly, they get lost on the way to the party. Driving around by yourselves at night in a foreign country…probably should’ve sprung for the GPS, ladies. To make matters worse, they get a flat tire and, guess what, no cell service. After sitting around for a few minutes they decide the best thing to do is head straight into the woods. The woods! By that point I was almost looking forward to seeing them eat each other’s poop.

Incidentally, I wonder what auditions are like for these actresses now. Do they list these roles on their résumés by character name, or do they just say, “Human Centipede, middle piece.” Do they scan Backstage for casting calls seeking actors with experience emoting while face-deep in taint? I need to know this.

This is why I don't travel.

Anyway these two stumble upon the dog lover’s house and fail to notice both the tombstone labeled “My Sweet 3-dog” and the fact that the front door locks with a key from the inside. He promises to call the rental car company but instead the sneaky bastard slips a mickey into their water and, after he abducts one final tourist, the game is on. BLECH.

Biggest letdown: I generally have the same complaint in most torture movies: there always seems to be a way out that the protagonists for reasons unexplained don’t take. And usually they’re tempted to exploit a completely unnecessary loophole. Similar thing here: at one point, soon-to-be Middle Piece uses her teeth to loosen her restraints. How could this doctor not have noticed that was a possibility? It’s not like building a soundproof surgical dungeon would take a lot of planning or anything. Middle Piece makes it as far as a shattered glass door but, with freedom just a step away, she turns back to save her anesthetized, totally unconscious friend. What was she gonna do, drag her for miles through the woods in her bare feet?

I’d like to think that if I was about to be tortured to death I would have the adrenaline-fueled resolve to chew my hand out of my manacles or whatever. Now I admit that in the end I might prove too weak to go coyote on my own arm, especially if it was my masturbating arm. But if I was standing at an open door with salvation slapping me in the face, I sure as shit could haul ass to the nearest highway to get help. Besides, Dr. Crazypants said he needed three people so her friend was probably safe until he nabbed another subject.

Okay, THIS is why I don't travel.

Why you should watch: HAAAAAhahahahahahaaaaa! Hahaha. Ha. Sorry. To be fair this movie has a goal, and it’s to make you puke up your popcorn. Mission fucking accomplished. That being said, if there’s one thing that elevates First Sequence ever so slightly above being just a circus of grossness I suppose it’s Dieter Laser (how fucking metal is that name?) who plays the psychotic surgeon. His blanched, skeletal face is a pretty decent set piece and writer/director/sociopath Tom Six is smart to devote a lot of screen time to his reactions. It makes me wonder if this movie might have actually been decent if the grand unveiling of the centipede was reserved for the final reel instead of the second act. It might have allowed for more focus on Laser’s (METAL!) unique presence and physicality. I imagine the pitch for this movie finished with the sentence, “Then we spend 45 minutes watching them try to walk!” Money in the bank, boys, money in the bank.

Just wait til I teach you to roll over.

Memorable Moment: The finished product is of course disgusting and terrible, but I found myself more freaked out by the hand-drawn slideshow depicting the stages of the operation. Give credit to Six for recognizing that imagining having your own lips removed to make way for someone’s else’s sphincter is far worse than seeing movie characters go through the same procedure. Kind of.

Would anyone like to see it again? Let's watch it again.

One other thing that gave me a chuckle: before the thrice-digested shit hits the fan, the two daffy chicks are sitting on the doc’s couch, unwittingly sipping their laced waters. Instead of responding to their requests to use the phone, he excitedly peppers them with seemingly incongruous questions, the best of which is, “Are you related?” As if that would be the dealbreaker. Stitching someone’s crack to her friend’s face is fine. But her sister? That’s just wrong.

Choice quote: “Feed her! Feed her!” Worst ten seconds of my movie watching life.

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3 Responses to “The Human Centipede (2009)”

  1. […] 31 Flavors of Terror A terrifying movie terror-thon of terror « The Human Centipede (2009) […]

  2. Dieter Laser was the only bright spot in this movie. He nailed the mad scientist down pat. He should be type cast into that role for the rest of his movie career. I didn’t find the movie disgusting though, I have read that a lot of people did but I think it was the absurdity of the whole concept that I found humorous. FEED HER! (lmao) it still makes me laugh. A coworker of mine at DISH must have thought this movie would gross me out because he wanted me to watch it badly. I actually found the movie on dish online. I really didn’t think I would find it there, but it is on IFC’s page, so I watched it. I laughed at him the next Monday, and told him he should really watch the sequel, which if you ask me, was darker, and dirtier. He hasn’t talked to me since that day, so I think he didn’t appreciate having the table turned on him.

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