(Contains Spoilers. Lots of Spoilers)
One independent film to skip the big screen in most parts but still garner a ton of buzz this year was The Human Centipede, the horror film from Dutch director Tom Six. We’ve all heard about it; a mad German scientist kidnaps tourists to perform diabolical surgeries on them. This isn’t new, but the type of surgery is. He wants to turn them into his new pet, a human centipede. How? By joining them ass to mouth of course! That’s where the buzz came from, the ass to mouth surgery. It’s just too bizarre not to get noticed by the Internet. I finally sat down to watch this movie with Mike “The Fist of Justice” Laidman this weekend. He had absolutely zero desire to see it, but at my insistence he sat down and watched it on Netflix with me.
The movie starts out with an awkward and hilarious scene of our mad scientist Dr. Heiter sitting in his car and crying while stroking a picture of his “Beloved Three Hound.” Yes, we get to see a picture of Dr. Heiter’s first experiment, three rottweilers he made into his first centipede. Yes, we see these dogs ass to mouth. Mind you, it looks like they’re just sniffing each other’s butts, and it’s an hilarious picture to start a scary movie off with.
Soon after this we see Heiter stalk his first victim in an awesomely awkward and gawky way, with a gun hidden so poorly I laughed out loud. His first victim is of course taken whilst in the middle of dropping a deuce in a field.
We then move on to Lindsay and Jenny, two American party girls looking for a good time in Germany. They’re looking for the ultimate clubbing experience and upon hearing a rumour about an amazing club in the middle of nowhere they set off in their rental car. This is where I started telling these girls that they are dumb as shit. I have a bad habit of telling characters in scary movies that what they are doing is dumb, and these girls got a lot of lecturing from me. Who goes off to the middle of nowhere in a foreign country without a map? Have they never seen a horror movie? Of course they get lost in the rain and then get a flat tire. After refusing help from the first pervert who comes across their stranded car (ok, this was a good choice), they decide their best bet is to walk off into the woods in high heels and no coats in the rain for help (this was a bad choice). On this walk the audience gets a taste of these actresses’ range, and it’s not much. They feel a strong urge to say each other’s name at the end of every sentence, which maybe the director felt would help the audience remember who each girl was. Trust me, it didn’t work.
The girls stumble across the home of Dr. Heiter, a retired surgeon, and wisely take drinks from the man even after he gets really creepy, really fast. It’s obvious later in the film there are other houses close enough by, but these girls decided to stay at this place and drink his roofied water. They wake up in his surgical torture chamber, strapped to hospital beds. Heiter is excited that the two girls are a perfect match for surgery, but sadly his first victim is not and he quickly does away with the man, only to replace him with a Japanese tourist soon after. One of the girls manages to make a break for it, but decides to return for her friend, yes another dumb move. Get the cops, come back? No, instead she tries to dragged her drugged out friend up a flight of stairs while a mad man with a gun chases her. Of course she’s captured and because of her insolence she gets the treat of being in the middle of Heiter’s human centipede.
About half way into the movie we finally see the human centipede’s creation, and I assumed it was not pretty, so I looked away. Heiter explains what he’s going to do and I knew I couldn’t watch it. I watched Mike’s face though and from his reactions, but they never went beyond mildly grossed out. Heiter not only wants to combine three people, but to treat them, or it, as his own personal pet. He makes Katsuro, the Japanese tourist who makes up the front of the centipede, eat from a dog dish and come when he’s called, dragging the two girls behind him.
Finally the cops show up looking for the missing tourists, and Heiter offers them roofied water. While Heiter starts freaking out at the one officer for not drinking the water, the other one goes on sipping it. Not really thinking that one through, eh? They then leave to get a search warrant. At the same time as this exchange, the human centipede tries to escape. The ‘Jenny-tail’ is dying of infection and when they hear people upstairs they know it’s their only hope. They manage to wound Heiter enough to slow him down, but they could have done a much better job. They had the element of surprise and could have killed him, but instead they try to get away and up the stairs. This is a huge struggle for them with a lot of ripping and tearing, so I’m not quite sure how Heiter has gotten them up and downstairs so many times already.
The cops have come back while the centipede hides. I said to Mike at this point “if he gets the drop on the cops they are officially the worst cops ever. And he will get the drop on them.” What do you know, I’m right! Worst cops ever! Heiter gets the drop on them, and a shootout occurs while two parts of the centipede are dying in the other room.
The movie was more weird than scary, but it did keep me in suspense at times. That suspenseful feeling often didn’t last very long each time though. Usually something so weird would happen or someone would do or say something too stupid to ignore and I’d be back telling people how dumb they are. Overall it wasn’t very gory either. The surgery was the worst part and Mike said “it wasn’t that bad.” You never see the centipede without bandages covering the ass to mouth, so even that isn’t hard to watch. If you are really looking for torture porn in measure of Saw or Hostel, you wont get it here. As a horror film it really doesn’t measure up in scares or in gore, but for what it lacks in those it makes up for in being balls out weird.
As for the acting, the two girls are awful. Only after they can no longer talk do they become bearable. One is pretty decent at crying though, which you see a lot of. Katsuro yells only in Japanese. Yes, he’s always yelling. It’s hard to tell if someone can act when they do nothing but yell in another language. The two cops are laughable; while tracking Heiter through the house their standard cop stances and actions were so stiff I did laugh. The real shining gem is Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser). He’s maniacal, he’s creepy, he’s funny, and he’s scary at the same time. He fills the roll of mad scientist well.
Overall it’s a bad movie. B movie status maximum. Despite all its flaws though I highly suggest horror fans check it out. Mostly for the fact that they can say “Oh I saw The Human Centipede” to their friends. It’s like KFC’s DoubleDown, it’s so awful but you need to try it for the bragging rights.