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The Human Centipede: First Sequence – “Come on, think McFly”

November 3, 2010

I’m full of SPOILERS on this film.  It is impossible to write about it without giving away certain aspects of the film.  I’m going to stream the trailer for the film here at the beginning of my post.  If you have any interest, you can rent and return to read at a later date, or continue on and read about the Human Centipede.  The choice is yours.

“After their car breaks down while in Germany, Americans Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) wind up at a remote villa — and soon find themselves trapped in a nightmare. Dr. Josef Heiter (Dieter Laser) kidnaps them for his demented experiment to create a human “centipede.” The plan includes removing their kneecaps so they must walk on all fours, then surgically connecting them to a Japanese man to create a bizarre human chain.” – Netflix summary

I love horror movies, but a film like this usually isn’t the type of horror  that I go for.  I saw the trailer for The Human Centipede about three weeks ago.  I had heard of the film, but had no idea what it was actually about.  The trailer alone made me scream in my living room.  I paused the TV, ran into the kitchen, and told my wife, “Honey get out here!   You have to see this!”

“What’s it about?”

“This guy sews three people together to create a centipede.”

“Ewww.  No.”

I dragged her (gently) to the living room, and we watched, and we agreed that it actually looked like a good film.  It was obviously not just ‘torture porn‘ as they call the Saws, Hostels, and numerous other horror films of late.  I added it to the top of my Netflix queue.  We received it the following week.

Director, Tom Six created a film that kept me at the edge of my seat for the entire 92 minutes of running time.  It is obvious that he is a lover of the genre.  What genre exactly?  Well, it is the “Let’s sew multiple people together to create a new creature” genre, a.k.a. the mad scientist/ horror genre.   Mr. Six, I call him Mr. because I fear him,  wanted to present us with something that was suspenseful, shocking, repulsive, and at the same time unique.  He did so by assembling a patchwork quilt of various film, literature, and stylistic influences.   There were times in this film that I felt the influence of DePalma, Wes Craven, Hitchcock (of course), and obviously classic Mad Scientist movies like Frankenstein, Dr. Logan in Day of the Dead, The scientist in Blade Runner, Dr. Moreau, etc. This list could go on forever.  A man playing at being a god, and trying to steal the fire of creation has long been a theme in science-gone-wrong books, movies, and campfire tales.

I saw the influence of Brian De Palma in the stark whiteness of Dr. Heiter’s house and lab.  Everything was meticulously placed.  His decor style was minimal.  It reminded me of the apartment in Sisters, a beautifully white canvas of carpets, couches, walls etc. that would be horribly ruined by any blood at all.  When you think about it, it’s not very practical when one wants to go into the mad scientist business.


You are a sick blankity blank blank Dr. Heiter

The Wes Craven influence is fairly obvious.  It is the “If Woody had gone straight to the police none of this would have ever happened’ formula, meaning that, if the characters had just done the rational thing at the right time, then none of this would have happened.  It was a domino effect that was set in motion the moment that the two young women left their hotel room at the very beginning of the film without exact directions to where they were going in a land where they DO NOT SPEAK the indigenous language.  “Come on, think McFly”.  This same domino effect can be seen in many horror films, but Wes Craven really planted a flag in the genre when he explored this idea in The Last House on the Left.  Wes Craven always made me feel like evil is out there waiting for you to make the wrong decision.

The Hitchcock angle is a fun one.  Director Six gives us his climax a little prematurely, or did he?  In Psycho, Norman Bates murders Marion Crane halfway through the film.  The protagonist dies!  Which allows for a storytelling manipulation that not many directors or writers have the guts to do mid stream, which is to switch protagonists, switch focus, and attack the same story from another angle.  Dr. Heiter completes his experiment fairly early in the film.  I was repulsed.  Then I found myself saying “What the hell can possibly happen now!?”  The movie was unpredictable from that point.  It jumped the tracks and was going off into horror no-man’s-land.  Anything could happen.

From an acting standpoint this was a superb film.  I actually believed the Doctor was pure evil.  By the end of the film I hated him sooooooo much.  For what they were given, the rest of the cast did a great job as well.  For some lighthearted Dr. Heiter moments (if you rent it) I suggest watching the behind-the-scenes documentary.  It brought me back to reality.  I didn’t hate him as much anymore.

Like Roger Ebert said in his review, I simply can’t suggest this film.  It held my attention for an hour and a half, and I don’t even really know why.  It was sort of horrifically mesmerizing.   It definitely is not for everyone, but you have to judge your disgust threshold for yourself.  I can say it was a better film than Hostel or any of the Saws.  I’ll never watch it again, but am satisfied to have seen it.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2010 10:24 am

    Whoa…I must find this movie!

    • November 4, 2010 10:50 am

      That was my exact feeling when I first heard of it. Thanks for reading Novroz!

  2. December 10, 2010 11:13 am

    Nice sketches! Can one commission a banner? ;D

  3. December 10, 2010 11:14 am

    Why am I in The Human Centipede post.I was in the correct one a moment ago.I feel so lost. I bet it’s paranormal.

    • December 10, 2010 12:37 pm

      It’s ok. I know where this belongs. My blog is haunted by Warthington the WordPress Wraith. He moves reader’s comments around to be a pest. Otherwise, he’s harmless.

      • December 10, 2010 12:43 pm

        Rosie the Rambling Roach haunts sundryandco – She sneaks into my posts and makes them incoherent. Lore has it that she also haunts my verbalised communications.

      • December 10, 2010 12:46 pm

        Haha! Warthinton is the same. They’re probably friends.

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