The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
Director: Tom Six
Stars: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura
Review by Brian M. Sammons
If you are reading this then you’re on the internet. If you’re on the internet and a fan of weird, freaky fright flicks then chances are you’ve heard about this movie. If you’ve heard about this movie then you’ve already decided if this flick is for you or not. However just in case somehow you haven’t heard about this, for better or worse truly unique film, I’m about to tell you about it. Those with weak stomachs should read on at their own risk.
There has been a lot of fuss about the gross, sick, depraved, nasty, (and I could go on and on) plot and yes, it really is as disturbing as all that, but is this movie more than a one note gross-out flick? Well no, but with a little bit of yes tossed in too.
Confused? Let me explain.
This film has a novel idea; a crazy German doctor who’s obsessed with creating a human centipede. What’s that, you ask? Well it’s three or more people surgically stitched together ATM. What’s ATM? Well normally I would say look it up on the internet, but not this time. Let’s just say that it stands for A** To Mouth. Get the idea now? So if the idea of seeing that, and all the ickiness that goes along with that, turns your stomach, and really it should, then you can stop reading as this movie is simply not for you. However it you are weirdly intrigued, as I was, then heaven help you and keep reading.
The show begins with two young, attractive American girls on vacation in Germany who get lost and their car breaks down on the clichéd dark and stormy night. It is just their luck to seek aid at the home of the crazy centipede obsessed doctor. Before you can say “don’t drink the roofied wine,” the two girls and an unfortunate Japanese man have some un-elective surgery performed on them. When they wake up they have been transformed in a … well you know. What follows is sick, cruel, and nasty on so many levels. The insane surgeon gets off on making his new twelve-legged pet walk around, do tricks, and otherwise fulfill his every demented fantasy. However, he is a good master as he feeds his centipede well. That is, he feeds the Japanese man well, as he makes up the head of the centipede. As for the unlucky girls, they just get the … uhm … leftovers.
And pretty much that’s the movie. Sure, there’s a bit more to it than that, but not a whole lot more. One thing that stands out, other than the crazy central idea of the movie, is the manic, scene chewing performance by Dieter Laser as the mad doctor. Dieter – with his skeletal visage, too dark dye job, and bulging eyes – ratchets up the creep factor far beyond what you would expect from the run of the mill “three people stitched ATM against their will” movie.
The other actors aren’t really bad, but with two out of three of them with their mouths full (ick) and the one with a working mouth only speaking Japanese, it’s hard to gauge their acting abilities. Well, other than having the ability to cry, beg, and look thoroughly disgusted. So yeah, the whole movie is basically just an excuse to show off something you never thought you’d see and for that reasons alone, Human Centipede is worth a watch as you are unlikely to ever experience anything else like it, at least until the inevitable sequel.
IFC has treated this movie with a lot more respect than many critics did. The Blu-ray looks great and has a nice collection of special features packed in with it. It has the usual trailers, deleted scenes, poster gallery, a director’s interview, and a very short glimpse of behind the scenes footage. Nice and not so common additions include casting tapes, a look at all the commonplace items used by the Foley artist to make all the disgusting sounds, and an entreating director’s commentary track that was surprisingly more than just him saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” over and over again as many do believe he should.
This movie is the definition of “acquired taste” (heh, get it, because there’s poop eating in it). Like Salo, Cannibal Holocaust, or the August Underground films, you’ll have to be able to stomach some really sick stuff just to sit through it, and be pretty sick yourself to enjoy any of it. However, I am pretty sick and I saw this movie with a bunch of my sick friends so we loved it. If you’re sick too, then I can easily recommend it. If you’re not, then stay the hell away from this one.