Friday, 10 September 2010

Three's A Crowd [Review: Human Centipede: First Sequence]

A few years ago, writer Chuck Palahniuk came up with the short story "Guts" which was reputed to cause mass blackouts and vomiting at public readings. I managed to remain conscious myself but it is certainly a disquieting read - cleverly written, using imagery to trigger a particular gut response (pun intended.)

If Chuck Palahniuk had written the script for The Rocky Horror Show, the result might have been Tom Six's film Human Centipede: First Sequence. The set-up is similar: on a dark and stormy night, two naive youngsters en route to a party are trapped in the middle of nowhere by a flat tyre, finding themselves at a mysterious house in the woods to be offered "help" by a sinister stranger. As with Frank'n'Furter, Dr. Heiter (a graduate of the Evil Medical School, played creepily by Dieter Laser) is also obsessed with creating the perfect human being - it's just that his obsession has less to do with muscles and blonde hair, and more to do with sewing three people together nose to tail to create a single being sharing one long alimentary tract.

If you have seen the film or are planning to, you probably know all of the above. This film is CONTRIVED CONTRIVED CONTRIVED from start to finish - it's raison d'etre is to bring you to the creation of this unnatural being and, as with Palahniuk's story, to induce emotions through visceral reaction.

To this end, Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie play their roles perfectly - ditzy, airheaded American party girls, lost, terrified. They give really strong performances and are perfect for the film, which hints at the uncomfortable theme of punishing those who are not worthy, as practised by Dr. Hannibal Lecter or the Jigsaw Killer - although in the end it's more about transplant compatibility.

Akihiro Kitamura, playing a Japanese tourist captured by Heiter, is also great but seems to be present purely because swearing sounds so much ruder in Japanese.

The film delivers pretty much what it says on the tin. It's slightly easier to stomach than expected. The style is more Hitchcock than Tarantino and the more horrific aspects take place in the viewer's mind rather than on-screen. For the most part it is effective horror, although there are certainly some scenes that elicited peals of laughter from the whole cinema audience. The "100% medically accurate" claim seems reasonable - at least, it compares well to certain nameless hospital TV dramas. However I noticed that while that nice Dr. Heiter does take his three subjects through the details of the operation using some nifty diagrams before putting them to sleep, he fails to obtain written consent - a surprising error for such an experienced surgeon.

This is a shamefully enjoyable little film. It would also make a great road safety video detailing what will undoubtedly happen to you if you don't learn how to change a tyre.


Dyeve said...

I can say that I don't shock quickly, but .... Oh, God! I've felt like I lose my hope in humanity when I sow it...And when I think that ideas like that were taken from the Nazi scientists during World War II, and that might have to do it..I want really to more than scaring.

I saw this movie and I'm a fan of horror movies but this film is bad and also becouse the actors from "nowhere"..etc.

Okay! The idea itself is cool and original but the production is terrible including some scenes with that knife,stuck behind the policeman and the doctor which was cut in the leg with his slow motion walk..C'mon! These are already BIG mistake .. Sorry, but I'm just a spectator...and I just lost 2 hours of my life with this movie..

And things don't stop here: "The Human Centipede 2" is already in production! wow, I hope to not vomit that time too.. :D

For me you're the best sweet critical and writer,of this kinda of movies but what I said above is just my opinion only about this movie, so don't rush to judge me harshly. smiles

Wishing you Da Best! You know already that your energy & creativity is infectious to me in a nice way, obviously :))

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Dyeve! Thanks for posting your own review. Incidentally did this film get a cinema run in Romania then? If you've read my virgin post then you will know that this is a perfect example of the Sci-Fi Gene dilemma - particularly as you are a fan of horror films yourself and so willing to watch a film like this in the first place.

It's good for my soul to read reviews by other people who have reacted differently to films, so it's always nice when you (or others) post them here in response to me. I still don't fully understand why I enjoy films that many other people don't but I value your insights - you are "the voice of reason."

Hmmm. How about an evil cinema owner who kidnaps people and forces them to watch bad horror films in order to understand his own poor taste - perhaps that could be my next project? and you could be the star. Can you scream?

Dyeve said...

I really don’t understand your „tone” slightly ironic at the end of your comment ..

How do you explain that many actresses who came to audition for the role of women in "The Human Centipede" refused to have anything to do with the movie when they read the script to the end? I just wonder why? ^

What I said about actors from "nowhere" it means that.. maybe it was more "ingurgitable" if it was someone already known in his role. A new idea of movie, with new players, etc. I think it's too many new, too much, too risky for public taste, even for one like me, a normal one with poor tastes...

Oh yes! Mr.Dieter Laser is well chosen for a negative role. What claims to have from a psychopath as Dr Heiter? I understood that horror movies are almost about all IMAGES, and I would say again it was deplorable... Sadistic scenes where people are glued to each other, in the operating room of the crazy Dr.Heiter ( what a name..)with his failed experienced onto dogs ..

If he had a low budget that doesn't mean necessarily to make a bad movie, and I'm sure that YOU with a much smaller budget you have made other special effects than his...(I dare to say that it looks a bit like "Fly" movie, but this is another thing..)

What strikes me though is that the film proves in terms of surgical medicine, that is able to give an accurate result about everything that has seen in this movie, and I think that can be implemented in real life that if're a crazy doctor, who don’t have all his bricks onto his house, man.. And about THIS I’m talking about here and I don't like the idea! That’s why I'm so oripilated.

For me, and ONLY for me and my poor taste this movie demonstrates that is a commercial one, focusing only into
PROFIT.I am a spectator and I am not interested if his target is only a material one, about his gain profit after this movie ..

What about me? Me? I'm the one who are in the cinema hall to see his movie. What he can offer to myself, to my eyes? How he feed my horrorist soul? Huh? With nothing? Oh, wait..there is something like sick, disgusting, strange, bizarre, freak movie show, once again disgusting, sinister, these are my appellations for this movie and is each person entitled to their own opinion, okay?

I’m sure that in your next project perhaps your hero / heroes will have a completely different trajectory path... If not, only then I could scream.....

Dyeve said...

Incidentally this movie DID get into my living room even don't run in Romania cinema, yet.. Oh, just want to mention that I / We are not living in the jungle...Here's a proof! You can see or reexamine this movie again.. here:

or this one..

or short link:
Links are only valid for a week.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Thanks again Dyeve, good to hear from you. I didn't intend any irony in my comment, it was just a thought that occurred to me when I was writing the reply.

Incidentally I very much doubt this film will make much of a profit, even though (I assume) it was made cheaply. It's had really bad reviews, I'm definitely in the minority in even liking some of it. I think rather than money the goal of the filmmakers here was to make the most disgusting film possible - it's a kind of one-upmanship game amongst horror directors. Personally I don't think they succeeded in this either.

Please don't ever feel you have to delete your comments - it's always good to hear from you.

Lovy Boheme said...

I just. can't. do it. I watched the trailer and it's still poking at my gag reflex. Plus, my head is a scary place. I don't need anyone to make suggestions.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

I know how you feel, Lovy, I had exactly the same reaction when I saw "You've Got Mail."