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Wadrick's Celluloid Dungeon

The Human Centipede (2010)

The Human Centipede (2010) Poster ArtStarring Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura.
Written & Directed by Tom Six.

The film critic Roger Ebert got it right when he refused to award The Human Centipede any ratings stars, stating simply that the film “occupies a world where the stars don’t shine.” Far too perverse and disturbing to enjoy, but much too audacious to fully ignore, The Human Centipede is destined to become a “midnight-movie” cult classic in the vein of Blood Sucking Freaks and The Beyond. Let me make it quite clear that this film should not be entered into lightly – there is not much in the way of graphic violence and gore, but it is rife with psychological horror so extreme and unsettling that you will probably never forget this traumatic experience. As the title suggests, the film centres on a crazy surgeon whose dream it seems is to create a human centipede, linking three living human specimens via mouth and anus, and connecting the digestive tracts. The sheer maddening horror of this procedure is succinctly explained by the mad doctor to his hapless victims in one of the films’ most horrifying scenes. From there, it’s a matter of the centipede “adjusting” to its new life and the failed attempts to escape the wretched lair of its’ looney tunes captor. It is near impossible to describe the torment that the audience is subjected to by this film. And it is also near impossible to relate the merits of this movie – as ‘entertainment’ it fails miserably; as ‘art’, it is a matter of interpretation and opinion, for there is much room to read heavily into not just the psychological aspects of this movie, but its moral stance and general message (if either of those can be found). Is this simply a filmmaker trying valiantly to create something purely designed to shock – something that will be the subject of discussion, for better or worse? The ‘beauty’ here is in the eye of the beholder, for The Human Centipede could be considered nothing more than the visualisation of someone’s worst nightmare. To credit, it is well filmed and features a genuinely creepy, minimalist music score – constantly droning beneath the surface and tugging relentlessly at your nerve-endings. The films’ greatest asset however (apart from the implied horror), is the unnerving and somewhat cheesy performance from Dieter Laser. Aside from the performance itself, this guy looks like a mad surgeon – a hideous cross between Josef Mengele and Wayne Newton. Of course, one has to question the mindset of all involved in this project, not in the least writer/director Tom Six. Yet, it is arguably demented genius at work here. Any more graphic and this film would have been relegated to pure, unredeemable trash, the product of a sick individual living out an insane fantasy through his ‘art’. As it uncomfortably stands, The Human Centipede is as hideous as it is truly unique.
The Human Centipede (2010) Ratings Chart

by Wadrick Jones

Pics: filmbook.com; moviesonline.ca; filmschoolrejects.com


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  1. Yeah, when I saw the trailer to this the eyebrows raised a bit…far out.

    It’s one seriously whack idea.

    There have always been horror films that explore themes of ‘the body’. But it’s hard sometimes to not see these scatalogical extremes somehow burning themselves out, degenerating, in the race for the ultimate ‘yuck factor’.

    It’s just that ‘freaky’ or ‘disgusting’ doesn’t always mean ‘frightening’. (In fact, they can end up being the exact opposite. I bet the Scary Movie/ Epic Movie teen-comedy-parody clan are already at work.)

    I’ll see it though.

    Nice review, Wadrick…

    Posted by Decoy Spoon | July 7, 2010, 1:16 am
  2. I think much horror has burned itself out – the ‘torture porn’ that has dominated the genre since Hostel is a tedious bore – each similar film trying to be more extreme than the last. Yawn. And ya right Decoy, my man – these things cease to be scary after a while.

    But I gotta say, Centipede transcends the mere yuck factor, simply because the yuck factor exists primarily in your own imagination. For such a whacky and twisted (and hideous) concept, it is amazingly restrained in as far as the yuck factor is concerned.

    I kinda don’t want to recommend this film – but it just cannot be denied that this movie is something else…

    I’ll give it about six months (if that) before we see the first Centipede parody…

    Posted by Wadrick Jones | July 7, 2010, 7:45 am
  3. Yeah, can see it now, it’ll be three actors doing rock/paper/scissors to see who gets to go up front and who gets to be the tail… 😉

    Posted by Decoy Spoon | July 7, 2010, 4:23 pm
  4. LMFAO – as the kids say…


    Posted by Wadrick Jones | July 8, 2010, 6:01 pm
  5. I know all the talk of this film being perverse and sickening may drive people away in droves…but I’ll be damned if I aint completely psyched about seeing it.

    …should I be worried about myself?
    .-= faystar´s last blog ..WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE……opening The Doors =-.

    Posted by faystar | July 14, 2010, 2:37 am
  6. I had nightmares from seeing the add…..that’s how bad it was. It sickened me out so much that it just…..yuck ><

    Posted by DesignBakery | July 23, 2010, 11:26 pm

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