Sunday, May 9, 2010

Review: The Human Centipede

There have been some sick and twisted movies made (and I love 'em all!) but The Human Centipede might beat them all for its warped and demented distortion of the crazed doctor genre.

This is not Saw -- the original, and not its derivative sequels -- which provided at the time a unique twist on what you thought you were seeing, and which spawned a never-ending variety of ripoffs. It's not Hostel, which was also a unique vision of torture amped up to a higher plane. The Human Centipede simply ups the quotient of "Holy crap! Did they just do that?" to a new level and for fans of extreme horror (is it horror? I'm not even sure, but it doesn't matter), this is just one of those movies you must go watch by any means possible.

Two American girls on vacation in Germany break down in a deserted area. So far, mundane enough as plot builders go, and their salvation at the house of Dr. Heiter who lives far removed from civilization is a pretty well-worn, conventional plot device for horror film fare. Where the movie seeks to differentiate itself from other similar films is what it proposes to do.

Dr. Heiter, a renown surgeon specializing in the separating of Siamese twins (check out his living room art), now wants to join people together instead of taking them apart. We're not given a reason for his desire. There is no "why" for his ambitions. What we are given is fetishism revealed in a new light. Dr. Heiter's greatest desire is to conjoin humans mouth-to-anus with their digestive tracts combined. His patients knees are then removed to prevent them from standing up and their mobility is reduced to a hands-and-knees crawling existence, like a human centipede. Think of it as Frankenstein on steroids, using the human body to create a new, living thing.


When you consider the typical slasher horror movie, The Human Centipede is different. We're not witness to high body counts, buckets of blood, unstoppable killers, or gore. But if you were sickened by the video Two Girls, One Cup yet watched it anyway, then you can imagine what The Human Centipede descends too.

When the lead section of the centipede, a Japanese tourist kidnapped for the purpose of bringing the hideous creation to life, has to make a bowel movement, the terror on the girl's face in the middle as she realizes what's about to occur, is palpable. Dr. Heiter's comment, "Yes! Feed her,"is diabolically evil, every bit as much as Dr. Frankenstein's signature exclamation, "It's alive!" particularly because he has placed her in that exact middle position as punishment for her attempted escape.

The movie has its cliches: the near escape, the cops who almost discover the plot, the operating room-in -the-basement. But you manage to forget all that because the plot device itself is so monstrous. Even so, The Human Centipede is a well-made movie, with good acting and cinematography. Maybe that makes it worse. This is no shot-on-video schlock. It is definitely a worthy edition to the extreme horror genre, even if there is a certain element of sadomasochistic porn introduced, which to a certain extent, I guess, all such horror is. Yet, by all means possible, rent this today!



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