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THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE)

By now you’ve probably heard something about this film, categorized by many as the gross-out du jour of 2010. It’s distinguished by one of the sickest and most audacious overall concepts of any film in recent memory, but there’s not a whole lot to it otherwise.

The Package
     Prior to this film writer/director Tom Six had been acclaimed as Holland’s “worst director.” Six’s previous efforts include GAY IN AMSTERDAM and I LOVE DRIES (which Dutch critics unanimously voted the lousiest film of 2008). THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE), which Six claims was inspired by a joke he told friends, would appear to be his magnum opus. The film has already inspired a video game(!) and an in-the-works sequel subtitled FULL SEQUENCE, which is supposed to be even sicker and more elaborate than the first entry.

The Story
     The New York bred Lindsay and Jenny are vacationing in Germany. In search of a nightclub, they become stuck in deep woods where their rental car breaks down. Searching for help they end up, unfortunately enough, in the rural home of Dr. Heiter, a psychotic German surgeon. The arrival of Lindsay and Jenny means Heiter now has the raw materials for a depraved experiment, and he wastes no time drugging the gals so he can get to work!
     This experiment is one Heiter has already performed on three (now dead) dogs. It involves sewing peoples’ mouths onto others’ asses and so creating a “human centipede” fed by the person in front, who eats and then craps into the mouth of the person behind, and so on. Heiter makes Lindsay the middle person of the human centipede--the most painful position to be in--after she tries to escape, with Jenny providing the end portion and a macho Japanese man named Katsuro the front.
     For the three hapless protagonists, adjusting to life as a human Centipede is difficult, to say the least. It doesn’t help that after ingesting Katsuro’s shit Lindsay becomes constipated, causing Jenny to starve.
     As if all that weren’t enough, two nosy cops turn up at Heiter’s place. Heiter plans to drug the cops so he’ll have two more additions to his centipede, but, as you might guess, things don’t quite go as planned!

The Direction
    
Does this film lives up to its fearsome reputation? Yes and no. It is downright repellent in parts, and the idea of sewing mouths to asses is nauseating by any conceivable standard. It’s also put together with a great deal of demented gusto, which holds one’s attention even in the dull spots. I just wish there were more to it, because for all the twisted originality of its premise the film is an uninspired succession of genre clichés.
     The narrative is built on perhaps the most overused cliché in modern horror--the protagonists’ car breaking down in the forest--and consists essentially of a lot of captures and escapes. One also has to overlook the script’s many deficiencies: no reason is given for the creation of the human centipede (which seems like an awful lot of strife on the part of the mad doctor for very little reward), and the antagonist’s behavior is remarkably stupid (among other things, he has a bad habit of leaving scalpels in reaching distance of his captives). So while the Mr. Six deserves credit for his demented ingenuity, his film really isn’t all that.
 

Vital Statistics

HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE)
Six Entertainment/IFC Films

Director: Tom Six
Producers: Ilona Six, Tom Six
Screenplay: Tom Six
Cinematography: Goof de Koning
Cast: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura, Andreas Leupold, Peter Blankenstein

     

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