The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
by Alyx Ancira
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Everything you’ve heard about The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is mostly true. It’s vile, disgusting and tough to get through. But is it a good movie? Does it have a purpose?
We follow two Americans, Lindsay and Jenny, road-tripping through Europe by car. While making their way through Germany, a tire blows out and leaves them stranded in the rain, on a dirt road, in the middle of a forest. They eventually stumble upon the house of Dr. Heiter, a world-renowned surgeon specializing in the removal of Siamese twins. Dr. Heiter brings the girls in, offers them glasses of water laced with the “date rape drug” and preps the girls for what he calls, The Human Centipede (First Sequence): three humans on their hands and knees, lined up behind each other, and surgically attached ……..(go ahead, finish eating, I’ll wait……….okay, I’ll wait a little more……..) they are surgically attached, from mouth to anus. That’s right. Even if I had the capacity for disgusting depravity, I couldn’t make this hellacious scenario up. Dr. Heiter makes it a point to explicitly detail the procedure to the three victims while they’re drugged and tied to separate gurneys.
After watching the flick, and discussing with people who have already seen it, I still can’t figure out what the purpose is, other than the obvious “shock” value. And two days later, I still don’t understand the purpose. What was the filmmaker’s intention when putting this film together? Because whatever it is, admittedly, it’s over my head as an average movie goer. For horror aficionados, the movie should hit a chord with its over the top villain, Dr. Heiter, its creepy soundtrack and finally the claustrophobic vibe of Dr. Heiter’s house, since the majority of the movie takes place there.
As for how graphic the movie is, you see some incisions here and there, but the biggest “oh sh*t!” moment is the initial reveal of the centipede in its complete phase. I personally find the thought of someone actually having the imagination for a concept like this more disturbing than any of the imagery in the film.
And I’ll go out on a limb and say that once the human centipede is first shown, the visual of the fused together monstrosity doing things like walking up a spiral staircase or Dr. Heiter treating them like a dog, is borderline comedy. Granted, a really disgusting, dark comedy, but I couldn’t help think to myself that the filmmaker’s thought process must’ve gone something like: “Okay, we got this human centipede put together, now what can we do with it? I know, let’s have it walk up a spiral staircase!” I found myself using this thought as a sort of comedic defense mechanism to give some levity to the horrific situation.
The performances by the two females are somewhat decent for what’s asked of them, which is to remain on all fours and cry while their faces are firmly planted in the other person’s keister. The Japanese dude who plays the head of the human centipede is really over the top to a comical degree, asking why’s he’s playing God, damning Dr. Heiter to Hell and screaming that he’s going to kill him if he gets the chance. Dr. Heiter is played to a pretty frightening degree, but a little over the top as well, which works for me. His performance hinges on Dieter Laser (who plays Dr. Heiter) looking creepy and shooting him from subservient perspectives.
Overall, The Human Centipede is a challenging movie to get through. But I think that’s part of its charm and why it’ll stay alive for years to come as a cult favorite, due to word of mouth. If you know the premise, are skeeved out by it, then don’t even bother. If you’re morbidly curious, even a little bit, you should definitely see what all of the hype is about.
Alyx Ancira “Alyx Ancira is a Chicago based freelance writer and has written for various movie related websites. He’s also a veteran of three wars including War of the Worlds, WarGames and Casualities of War.”
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