“The Human Centipede: First Sequence” exploded out of Fantastic Fest two years ago, and has since had strange journey as it reached an apex of cultural familiarity and infamy, including references on “The Daily Show” and “South Park.” Not bad for an extremely low-budget film from a virtually unknown Dutch writer/director (Tom Six) working outside of his native language.
Even now it’s difficult to understand what its success means.
Every few years, a film comes along that seems so outrageous and depraved that watching it becomes a badge of honor. If you can sit through it, you can sit through anything. The most humorous thing about the reputation of the first film is that it wasn’t earned or deserved by anything onscreen.
Sure, its concept of a mad surgeon surgically altering and then sewing people together from anus to mouth sounds like a movie you’d only watch on a dare, but the film itself is surprisingly tame, with very little blood and with most of its horror being suggested by facial expressions and sound effects.
Its even more curious than that Six has decided for the sequel to film the movie audiences had expected the first one to be. Just as the first film was as clinical and detached as its surgeon villain, “Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence” is as grimy and demented as the mentally challenged and diminutive parking attendant at its core.
Newcomer Laurence R. Harvey plays Martin, a man whose fandom for the film “Human Centipede” has consumed his life. He plans to make a 12-person human centipede and will use the household supplies and tools he has at his disposal to do it. He viciously attacks those unfortunate enough to be alone during his shift, and dumps them in a decrepit warehouse where he hopes to see his creation come to life.
Employing the tag line “100% medically inaccurate” to counter the first film’s insistence of being “100% medically accurate,” this black and white horror feature wastes no time in being exactly the type of explicit gross out Fest the first wasn’t.
Congratulations, horror fans. You got what you though you wanted. How do you like it?
It’s actually kind of fascinating that “reality” in this world is much more cartoonish than that of the first film. The more revolting things get, the more Six seems to be enjoying himself. The violence in this film is shocking, but it’s also played for laughs–laughs that would probably be easier for anyone willing to give this film a second viewing.
But I have the feeling most won’t see the humor or the value in this film. It has been banned in the U.K., and other countries are sure to follow. Of course this will only help grow its reputation as an extreme horror film only for those with the strongest constitutions.
It will be a new touchstone for horror fans looking to test their mettle. In a lot of respects, it’s commerce above art, but that’s hardly rare for the horror genre.
Its doubtful few will see this film for what it really is: a mildly amusing, slightly tedious, and only partially scary film that is exactly as competently made as it needs to be. But then again, I thought the same thing about the first one.