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The Human Centipede

The Human Centipede

By Patrick Samuel • December 2nd, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (MOVIE)
Six Entertainment

Original release: April 30th, 2010
Running time: 92 minutes

Writer and director: Tom Six

Country of origin: Netherlands
Original language: English, German, Japanese

Cast: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura

The Human Centipede

Cinema, ever since it’s early days, has been intent on pushing the boundaries of what we deem as acceptable viewing. Yet the urge to look is as strong as it’s ever been. When we hear of flesh being torn from a human body or of sex scenes so graphically disturbing in a film, we’ll still sneak a peak, and often the title in question will gain more notoriety because we continue to watch and discuss it, rather than to just leave it alone and let it disappear into obscurity. This of course happened with many of the so called “video nasties” of the1980’s like Cannibal Ferox, Human Experiments and I Spit On Your Grave, to name but a few, leading them instead of into obscurity, into infamy. In 2010 it happened again with The Human Centipede (First Sequence).

Written and directed by Tom Six, this Dutch film is the story of a German doctor obsessed with the idea of creating a conjoined triplet connected by a singular gastric system; a human centipede. His previous experiment using three dogs failed, so Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) is on the hunt for new test subjects. Human test subjects.

When two American girls, Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie), travelling through Germany, come knocking on his door in the middle of the night in the pouring rain after their car breaks down, it’s his lucky day and he wastes no time in drugging them. They wake to find themselves held captive in the doctor’s basement as he explains in great detail the plans he has for them. Joined by Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura), a Japanese tourist who also met Dr. Heiter at the wrong time and wrong place, Lindsay and Jenny undergo the mad doctor’s gruesome surgery to become the human centipede.

The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

The second act involves the training of the human centipede and how Dr. Heiter expects them to adjust as a new life form. Things don’t go exactly according to plan though, they refuse play “fetch the newspaper”, Katsuro bites the doctor’s leg and their constant whimpering and Katsuro’s screaming keeps Dr Heiter awake. It’s also not long before the police start sniffing around and making enquiries into missing tourists leading Dr. Heiter to finally snap as a result of his sleep deprivation. Seeing an opportunity to escape, the trio embark on one of the most painfully slow getaways in film history as we near the climax.

The idea that you’re stitched from mouth to anus to another person with no hope of ever escaping is truly a terrifying concept, but before any of that happens, to just look into the eyes of this crazed doctor is horrifying enough. Heiter, obviously’s been alone far too long to be able to have any empathy or compassion towards mankind. His sense of humour towards his captives is that of a cruel master towards his  The Human Centipede (First Sequence)animals, especially when Katsuro bites Heiter’s leg. After a beating, the doctor goes back to eating his dinner, but his appetite is ruined by the incident. The next day he dares Katsuro to bite his leg again, this time showing off his thigh high leather jackboots (commonly used by Nazi’s) “You want to bite me? Bite my boots!” he laughs.

We’ve had stories and films before which have dealt with human experiments; Frankenstein (1931), The Invisible Man (1933), The Fly (1958), The Man with Two Brains (1983), to the more recent Species (1995), and Splice (2010). The difference with The Human Centipede though is the pure hopelessness of the situation and the despair we feel for the trio, especially the one stuck in the middle. Katsuro truly feels awful for defecating in the girl’s mouth, and while audiences and critics are revolted by this act, it’s not actually shown on screen but rather left to our imaginations. Scenes with human excrement were much more graphic in films like Trainspotting (1996) and Salò (1975) than they are here. What’s more disturbing is the macabre delight Dr. Heiter takes from the discomfort and suffering of others. His cruelty leads Katsuro to ask “Are you God?”.

Finally, the combination of German, American and Japanese is used in the movie to full effect. The girls and Katsuro have no idea what Heiter’s saying when he speaks German, Heiter has no idea what Katsuro is saying when he speaks Japanese and when they’re sewn together, the girls are unable to speak. It’s the stuff of nightmares, but that’s what makes The Human Centipede such a fascinatingly revolting film to watch, if you dare.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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