Posted by: John Gholson
Did I detect a bit of subtext at work in Tom Six’s creep-out THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE? Could the movie actually be about how the shallow, impersonal connections we make with others cause us to lose our humanity? I believe so, and that’s more than I expected from a movie about a guy obsessed with sewing people together mouth-to-anus to form a living chain of horror.
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is also a strong revival of the long-dead “mad scientist” sub-genre of horror (something the upcoming SPLICE is looking to keep alive). We get a regular stream of vampires and slashers on a monthly basis, but we’ve gone without a good mad scientist for too long now. I didn’t even know I missed the dusty old trope until I saw Dieter Laser as Dr .Heiter, getting sexual satisfaction from administering shots or outlining the specifics of his experiment to his captive victims with blackly comic arrogance.
The set-up — a car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, two American girls wander in the rain before finding help at a creepy German’s house — is intentionally hokey, playing on audience expectations. We’ve seen this story before right? Of course, the crazy German guy will try to kill them. Wrong. He wants them very much alive; he just doesn’t want them to stay human. He needs a new pet — a human centipede.
Posted by: Peter Hall
Written and Directed by Tom Six, 2009
There’s no reason you should know this, but the only
dedicated THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE)
post ever on HorrorsNotDead.com has been one of the most trafficked posts on this site. Apparently people enjoy reading about a mad scientist that kidnaps three people, cuts the muscle tissue connecting their kneecaps so as to disable leg extension, and then sews the poor souls together in an ass-to-mouth chain in order to create the world’s first Siamese Twins connected by a single digestive tract. And why shouldn’t it have gotten as many hits as it did? The plot description of HUMAN CENTIPEDE is, unquestionably, certifiably, smear-it-on-padded-walls, bat-shit insane. No one may want to see that visual come to life, but they certainly love doing a double-take when reading about it for the first time*.
And that’s appropriate, since reading the plot description is the best thing about writer/director Tom Six’ attempt at making a shocking horror film. Because without having the advantage of knowing what this movie, hypothetically, has in store, most horror fans would lose interest within the first 10 minutes. This gateway to the film is dominated by two annoying, spoiled-brat American girls who get lost deep in the woods of Germany. The acting in this introduction is grating at best, deal-breaking at worst, and unfortunately it takes another third of the film to pass before things begin to get even remotely interesting.
For a movie about turning a trio of people into an ass-to-mouth-to-ass-to-mouth affront to evolution that can’t walk, it’s pretty damned tame at doing what little it can with that glass-ceiling premise. It’s a pointless movie that has a weak opening, a weak middle, and an even weaker ending that will have you yearning, along with the film’s saving grace mad doctor, halfway through the experiment to kill the ailing abomination and start all over again.
Posted by: Peter Hall
The second wave of titles for this year’s Fantastic Fest are ravaging the interwebs and the Twitters and I couldn’t be more excited. Not only will this be my first real film festival (I’m not counting the Chicago International Film Festival), but it’ll be my first Fantastic Fest. From everything I’m hearing, that’s like having your hymen broken by King Kong. Say it’s going to leave an impression is an understatement.
Click here to remember the past to see the first wave of titles and read on for the second batch of features with further details at the official Fantastic Fest Blog. Considering there’s still a third list of titles waiting in the wings, I think I may have to upgrade the above analogy from having sex with King Kong to getting raped by the entire girth of that asteroid worm that tried to eat the Millennium Falcon in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.