Title: Human Centipede
Genre: Gross-out Horror
Watched: February 17, 2011
Summary: Repulsive premise coupled with startlingly matter-of-fact delivery.
Just so you don’t think I always review good films, here comes a doozy. My brother knows the guy who stars as the head of the titular Human Centipede in this film, and he brought it to my attention (although he hadn’t seen the film). We looked it up and the premise was so horrifically nasty, so out-and-out repulsive and dark, that I couldn’t help but watch the film.
Now, in the interest of protecting my dear and tender readers, I’m not going to actually tell you the premise. If you are so inclined, you may watch the trailer and decide for yourself. Be warned. Let’s just say it’s terrifying, gross, and of totally dubious possibility.
But having conceived this idea, the writer/director pursues it with gusto. This is actually not a badly made film, considering it’s genre and budget. But there is no attempt to craft a clever plot or characters. It charges headlong into the ramifications of the disturbing by use of straightforward Horror tropes and coincidence, and replies on sheer dread to deliver. The villain, a twisted German surgeon which a penchant for illegal and immoral procedures, is played to hammy perfection by Dieter Laser. His emotionless delivery as to the nature of his plan is as disturbing as it’s intended to be.
For all the film’s unabashed directness. It actually isn’t that graphic, although the ramifications of the premise are rather nasty. I’m also not sure I’ve seen another movie with so much moaning/pathetic-whimpering in it, I felt compelled to keep turning down the volume. And for all it’s true horror, the deadpan delivery lends it to the almost darkly comic. NOTE: On that note, Robert Ebert (my favorite film reviewer) has an an absolutely hilarious review of it here (WARNING, he reveals the premise). There are also some odd choices, like the fact that in the second half their is almost no English dialog as the Doctor often speaks in German, the “head” babbles in subtitled Japanese, and the two female leads can only moan.
And it isn’t the best paced film (particularly the first half), so was an excellent candidate for the Playstation 3‘s most appreciated 1.5x speed viewing feature. This not only speeds up the film smoothly, but does a pretty good job of time based correction on the audio so it doesn’t sound too funny. Many slightly dull films are eminently watchable in this format. For example, silent films from the early 20th century, with their 1-2 minute title cards. It rendered the Human Centipede in an even hour which was just about perfect.
In any case, if you are a fan of Horror, or the truly deeply sick and twisted, crawl on board.