The Human Centipede II
Director: Tom Six
Cast: Laurence R. Harvey, Ashlynn Yennie, Maddi Black
Review by Brian M. Sammons
One of my all-time favorite goofball slashers of the 1980s is called Pieces. It had a poster featuring a cut up woman, a chainsaw, and the tag line, “It’s exactly what you think it is.” That bit of tag line brilliance could have easily been applied to The Human Centipede Ii (Full Sequence). Even if you never saw the first shocktastic slice of cinema, you probably know exactly what it is and by extension, what the sequel will have to offer.
The original movie was one of those films that quickly entered the public lexicon and it became the butt of many late night TV monologs and the punch line for countless morning radio shows. Once South Park does an episode on something, it’s safe to say it’s become part of the gestalt of human consciousness. Hell, my 60+ year-old mother knows about the movie, what it’s all about, and she has no interest in the weird flicks I watch. And in the case of this movie, I am very glad she will never, ever see this film.
But should you?
Well grab a barf bag, you’re sure to need it, and let’s see if anyone can top the over-the-top Human Centipede.
This film is set in a world where the first Centipede movie was just that; a movie. That film has become the obsession of a very odd, mentally retarded man living with his bitter mother in England. This sequel is shot in black and white, probably for a number of reasons. The more charitable side of me might say that it was done as an artistic statement. In this world the first movie was “fake” but shot in color. Here in the “real” world things are not only devoid of color, but as the viewers will soon learn, far, far worse than anything that happened in the original Centipede movie. That said, the choice to go with black and white could also be because of all the gore and various bodily fluids flying all over hell and back in this movie. They might have been too much for anyone to handle in living color.
The star of this show is a demented, roly-poly, bald, bug-eyed, sweaty little troll of a man named Martian. While the villain of the first movie, the awesomely insane Dr. Heiter, had a creepy but cool vibe to him, there is nothing cool whatsoever about Martian. He is completely and utterly repulsive and reprehensible. Martian never once utters a single word, so actor Laurence R. Harvey has only his “unique” physical attributes, and acting without aid of dialog through grunts, facial expressions, and body movements, to portray one of the creepiest nut jobs ever captured on film. I’m sure in reality Mr. Harvey is a charming person, but here as Martian, he is frighteningly icky. Love this movie or hate it, and it seems many people really despise this film, credit must be given to Laurence R. Harvey for creating a nightmare inducing madman you’ll not soon forget.
And that’s where the praise train ends for Human Centipede Ii. All aboard the bad taste express. Remember those barf bags I told you to bring? Well you just might need them now.
Martian works in an underground parking garage where he spends all his time in his little booth, watching his favorite movie, masturbating with sandpaper, and dreaming sick dreams of making his own human centipede. One day Martian rents out a warehouse and then starts clubbing random people over the head with a crowbar. When the poor KO-ed people wake up they are naked, tied up in that warehouse, and about to face a fate worse than death. After Martian collects a dozen people for his much larger centipede, he gets to work putting them together. But whereas the psycho in the first movie was a famous surgeon, Martin is a mentally challenged parking garage attendant. That means he has to resort to using pliers for yanking out teeth and a box cutter to slice through the sinews in legs (so that the centipede properly crawls around) and to create the flaps of butt skin used to attach everyone a** to mouth. He then employs a staple gun to make sure everyone stays in place.
Still with me? Ok, on we go.
Things go both good and bad for Martin in his quest to live his dream. Good: he manages to trick one of the actresses from the original movie to come to London so he can use her in his new and improved centipede. He does this by posing as a casting director for a film (naturally), although that dialog all happens off screen as remember, Martin never talks. Lord only knows how he was able to pull that off. Bad: he accidently kills one of his would be centipede segments, a very pregnant woman, by bashing her brains in with a crowbar one too many times. Good: he makes his human centipede, has it movie around much to his simplistic, sadistic glee, and then injects everyone with concentrated liquid laxatives to recreate the infamous “feed her!” scene from the first movie. Bad: the quite literal sh** storm this causes is so overpowering that it even makes Martian sick. Good: Martian gets some jollies when he wraps his penis in barbwire and then rapes the last woman at the tail end of his centipede. Bad: the pregnant woman he thought he had killed comes to, runs for the door as her water breaks, and gets into a car, desperate to escape. In fact she is so desperate, that even once she has given birth in the car and her newborn baby falls to the floor and gets its infant head stuck under the car’s gas pedal, she still stomps on the gas (and thus cruses her newborn’s head) to get away.
Do I need to go on? Because I easily could, there are a whole slew of other atrocities I could recount for you, but I’d like to leave some things as surprises should you wish to punish yourself by watching this movie.
As for the extras on the oh-so lovely Blu-ray from IFC Midnight, there are a good selection for such a low budget and infamous little movie. First off there is an audio commentary track with director Tom Six and actor Laurence R. Harvey, that’s as informative as it is often off-putting. Then there’s a twelve minute interview with the madman who dreamt up all this human centipede stuff, Tom Six. And quite frankly, he didn’t appear as pants-on-head crazy as you would think from his movies. There’s a nine minute on set tour of warehouse were the centipede comes alive that has some nice behind the scenes bits, not to mention a whole lot of fake butts being tapped to actors. There is a very short special on the foley artists who make up all the disgusting sounds for this fine film. Another short is about making the movie poster. A single deleted scene (that adds nothing at all to the film), a short promo piece featuring Tom Six, trailers and teasers round out the extra goodie bag.
The Human Centipede Ii (Full Sequence) is shock for the sake of shock and nothing more. Its artistic merits are nil, save for seeing just how messed up and wrong a movie can be. Writer/director Tom Six gleefully admits that he wanted to make the most disturbing, sick, controversial, and yes, shocking movie ever made. Did he succeed? Well it would be a good race between this and A Serbian Film for the gold medal of bad taste. But with all that said, if you like to test your limits or to see how strong your stomach is, you might want to give this movie a watch. Or if nothing else, you can play a game of “how much of this crap can you take before you leave the room” with your friends and family should you wish to inflict this upon them. Of course they may not talk to you afterwards, but that’s the chance you take. For the vast majority of people out there, I would say that this movie is not for you. If you read this review and were repulsed by any of the things I described here, seeing the events in the movie are far worse. Consider yourselves warned.