With all the hubbub about the Human Centipede 2 being banned by the BBFC we thought it would be apt to go back and watch the first film. How apt? At least a 12.
In The Human Centipede (First Sequence) Dieter Laser is a successful surgeon, fed up with separating conjoined twins and on the lookout for subjects to join together instead. The film has three basic sections (much like the centipede); at the front we have Laser capturing his victims courtesy of date rape drugs and hammy acting. The middle section, apparently feeling the most pain, is Laser explaining and then carrying out the procedure in a pretty tame manner. The third, slightly infected section is the centipede trying to escape and two identical police officers coming round to see what’s afoot.
Focussing on the gore factor Human Centipede is actually pretty tame. Yes, the entire concept is absolutely revolting but the “medically accurate surgery” and the resulting physical mutilations are mostly left to your imagination. The majority of the Saw franchise have much more graphic sequences of human injury, torture and gore. A scene in which the front of the centipede first needs to go to the toilet is possibly the vilest thing I’ve seen and yet it’s all down to facial expressions and my mind filling in the rest.
As a basic horror film The Human Centipede isn’t particularly stellar either. Even though you know the horrors that wait for Laser’s victims you don’t exactly fear for them. This is down to weak acting on the victims’ parts and overly strong acting from Laser. Nothing says evil better than a man with strong facial features, a vague European accent and a fitted surgeon’s gown.
Tom Six, writer and director, had a unique and vile idea for a horror but it doesn’t go much beyond that. The direction is nothing to write home to your directing-obsessed parents about and the script can’t have taken longer than a few rainy afternoons. Only watch if you are a cult horror completist or just feel the need to know what everyone else is talking about. Don’t watch to scare the crap out of yourself, The Strangers can do that with much less fuss.