Dieter Laser looks lovingly upon his ass-to-mouth creation.
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE) written and directed by Tom Six, with Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie and Akihiro Kitamura. A KinoSmith release. 92 minutes. Opens Saturday (August 28) at the Toronto Underground. For times, see Indie & Rep Film. Rating: N
The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is one of those movies that's much more entertaining to talk about than it is to actually experience.
You can watch your friends get increasingly gicked out as you explain the demented mechanics of its plot, or get yourself all worked up about the icky proposition at its core, or just laugh the whole thing off as the post-Saw sado-porn provocation it is.
My first thought after the credits rolled was that Bruce LaBruce must be kicking himself for not thinking of it first.
Instead, that honour goes to Tom Six, who has given us a unique film in which the mad German surgeon Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) crafts the titular abomination from three luckless tourists: one Japanese man (Akihiro Kitamura) and two American women (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie).
The result, explained by Heiter in almost comical detail, is a single miserable creature joined anus-to-mouth-to-anus-to-mouth so all three components can share the same GI tract. There's some dialogue about intravenous antibiotics, but it doesn't matter; Heiter is established as insane from the get-go, and he's doing this just because he can.
So is Six, more or less. The Human Centipede has no real ambition beyond its own existence. The plot is little more than a "Who will survive and what will be left of them?" affair, resulting in long stretches where the encentipeded characters scream, weep and endure their new digestive process while their captor looks lovingly at his creation. Like the Saw series, which started out as a meditation on individual morality before turning into a sadist's playground, there's an intriguing idea in there somewhere, but the movie never really engages with it.
The body horror element prompts comparison to the early work of David Cronenberg, but I suspect the real influence here is Michael Haneke's Funny Games, which was designed to drive audiences out of the theatre. If you stayed to the end, the movie failed. The Human Centipede will probably be talked about for years to come, but everybody stays to the end.