When I had initially read the disturbing description for director and writer Tom Six’s The Human Centipede as, “a nutshell, it’s about a mad doctor who sews the mouths of living humans to the asses of others, in hopes of creating and sustaining a centipede-like monstrosity”, my first thoughts were, I have to see this. When I was done watching it at the IFC theater in NY City, my second thoughts quickly reverted to, “Oh… I really wish I never saw that.”
Predictable, ridiculous, and uncomfortable, this movie was everything I didn’t think it was going to be.
I must say, I felt let down. How could a movie about mouths getting sewn to asses go wrong? I walked into the theater almost positive this was going to be it; the movie that I could finally walk away from bubbling over with enthusiasm, making others envious at my awe of how spectacular it was to witness the first human centipede…ever. Not.
First off, you have two stereotypical American girls, Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) and Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams), who are traveling throughout Europe, but they just happen to not know how to follow directions or change a flat. You would think that they may possibly be more on the adventurous side, being that they are traveling alone throughout an entire continent. Instead, they happen to be complete inept airheads, who would typically be found gyrating with muscle heads in some Long Island club to the sounds of “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me”?
So of course, they get a flat tire, in what seems to be in the middle of nowhere, while it is raining, in the dead of the night, and end up walking aimlessly through woods. With no houses in sight, they finally end up at the front door of the one house that they happen to stumble upon, which just so happens to be residence of a mad surgeon, Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser).
In all honesty, I was able to look past the idiot girls and the predictability, cause heck, every horror movie, is known for its contradicting characters and predictable story line, so I still didn’t totally give up on the movie at this point. There was still hope, and my attention was still there, and I actually was finding all of this quite humorous and entertaining.
Then, to make matters worse, the doctor is the creepiest looking dude in existence. He offers the girls water, and but of course they accept, and who would of thought, but oh no, there’s GHB dissolved in it, the date rape drug!
So after Dr. Lunatic is successful at drugging the girls, he transports them to a bed, where they are consequently tied up, while connected to an IV.
Long story, short, Dr. Heiter is looking for three blood matches, so that he could connect the three together successfully. Previous to the girls, he had captured a chubby truck driver, who he found on the side of the road as he was performing “number two”, shooting him with a tranquilizer-filled dart gun, at his most vulnerable state of outdoor excretion. Fortunately for him, he is not a match with the two girls, and so the good doctor must go out and find the right third, who turns out to be Japanese character, Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura).
Katsuro, Jenny, and Lindsay awake from their sedation, in Dr. Heiter’s cellar, alongside each other, in separate hospital beds. Dr. Heiter is not only kind enough to introduce himself and his background as a surgeon, specializing in separating Siamese twins, but he also takes the time out of his busy schedule, to present them with a visual presentation of how he is going to perform the mouth to ass surgery, on none other than, the three of them. He also elaborates on the digestion process, and how all three will be connected by one connective system of digestion, where the food will be eaten by the first, then passed through the anus, into the mouth of the second, upon which the same is repeated through the third, and finally, excreted. Understandably, they all freak out upon hearing this, especially Katsuro who rages in Japanese, screaming at how he is going to kick the doctor’s ass, but obviously unable to, due to the hand restraints.
We see Dr. Heiter performing parts of the surgery, but not all that much of it, and it may have been more visually appealing if they showed more of the actual cutting.
During the surgery, I kept thinking that if it were me that were one of the parts of the centipede, I would definitely prefer to be the first part, therefore my mouth would not have to be on anyone’s ass, and of course I would not have to ingest anyone’s feces.
Luckily for Katsuro, he gets to be the lead, and also have a girls mouth on his ass, so I don’t know why he keeps bitching throughout the movie. Not so lucky for the second segment, which is Lindsay, who literally has to take his shit. While Jenny’s mouth is connected to Lindsay’s rear, she is fortunate enough to escape the second passing, because there seems to be a god after all; Lindsay just happens to be constipated!
I had a problem with the way the centipede looked in its entirety. The connection between the mouths and asses were actually covered by bandages, so it didn’t really seem all that real. I also had an issue with the constant crying and moaning of the centipede. Not only did it feel like a strange porno, but it was annoying and distracting, and while I can handle any amount of gore, I think that too much of an unpleasant sound can become psychologically irritating.
Also, I didn’t really like the doctor’s relationship between him and the centipede, and how abusive and domineering he was toward it. Call me strange, but perhaps, if he was loving towards his Frankensteinian monstrosity, in a creepy sort of way, it would have been easier to watch.
At a Northern American premiere of The Human Centipede, when Tom Six was asked what his inspiration for the film was, he said, “It’s a really simple idea.” “I always made the joke to friends… if somebody was nasty or annoying…I said…to stitch his mouth to the ass of a fat truck driver…that’s horrible. That is really horrible and I thought that’s a great idea for a horror film,” he said.
Six explained to the audience that he actually went to a surgeon in Rome, who was also a movie lover and read the script. The surgeon ended up giving Six a detailed version of how such an operation would be performed, and also claimed that the procedure in the movie is 100% medically accurate and that if it were to be done in reality, the centipede could actually live a “really long time”.
After watching Six’s appearance at the premier, I came away with the impression that he has a good sense of humor and does not seem to take himself, or the idea too seriously. His lighthearted approach towards the film adds a different perspective towards it, and while I do think that the concept of the movie is fascinating, its execution was not, so much so.