The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)
Film review by: Witney Seibold
Is it weird to say that the magic is gone?
Tom Six‘s first “The Human Centipede” was clearly created to be a geekshow, featuring, as it did, the insane premise of a mad doctor surgically attaching three people, anus-to-mouth, in a human centipede. It also featured a general tone of fetishistic twisted-gore-love rarely seen even within the circles of Fangoria aficionados. Be that as it may, “The Human Centipede,” however, still kind of resembled a real film. It had some characters we wanted to see unmutilated, and it featured a rather game and intense performance from Dieter Laser. The cast was small, the setting intimate, and it was easy to support.
By pushing us several steps further down the gross-out pipeline, however, “The Human Centipede II” seems less extreme. The first film featured a final gut punch of horror, making us realize the horrific fate of the one final survivor. Part II has no such moments, choosing, instead, to up the geek show quotient, and feature a horrifying climax where disgusting things happen for their own sake. I’ll describe those later on in the review, so if you want the surprises to remain in tact, or you’re simply easily grossed out, don’t read the rest of this review.
“The Human Centipede II” stars first-time actor Laurence R. Harvey, looking a lot like a sweaty, puffy, wheezy version of Peter Lorre, as a mute, mentally retarded psychopath named Martin who regularly watches “The Human Centipede,” and, when he’s not masturbating to it (with sandpaper!), he draws inspiration from it. Yes, in this universe, “The Human Centipede” is a movie, albeit one that’s a little more notorious than the actual film is in our world. That Tom Six has decided to bank on his film’s perceived notoriety kind of de-fangs the impact of this second. Six may have been making a geekshow the first time around, but it at least, as I said, felt like a something legitimate at times. This film, all too clearly, has been made for shock and shock alone. That means there’s no real human conflict, suffering or character. There’s just going to be a series of gross events leading to a gross climax.
Martin regularly knocks people out, throws them into the back of his van, and stores them in a rented warehouse across London. Martin commits his crimes on camera, but that is never investigated. He stores his mounting number of victims in the nude, tied with duct tape, but they never think to escape; each time we see them, they’re in the same position as when he left them before, still conscious and still whimpering. Surely one of them would think to get free. But never mind. If someone escaped, Martin would not be able to complete his dream of making a 12-person human centipede himself. Why twelve? Gotta up the ante.
There are a few dumb scenes leading up to the climax. Martin has a few meetings with a pervy psychiatrist (Bill Hutchens) with a cartoonish beard. Later in the film, we see the same shrink being fellated in the back of a car by a hooker, mumbling about how much he wants to rape Martin. In the front seat is a pimp sniffing his fingers and talking about how much he enjoys vaginal scent. It’s an unsavory scene in an unsavory movie. Martin, in the only bit of character explanation, was once sexually molested by his deceased father. We actually hear the following line of dialogue twice over the course of the film: “Keep on crying child. You’re only making daddy;s willy harder.” Martin lives with his doting mother (Vivien Bridson) and his pet centipede. His mother is a shrieking harpy who is doomed to a horrible fate.
Oh, and Ashlynn Yennie, who appeared in the first “Human Centipede” appears in this sequel, playing herself. Martin dupes Ms. Yennie into coming to England for an audition, only to make her the front person in his centipede. The woman is a game actress, and I hope she manages to make films without human centipedes in them someday.
O.k. So to the climax. Shield your eyes.
Martin, after accumulating his team of twelve (including a pregnant woman!) attempt to assemble them. He’s not a surgeon like his idol, however, so when he tries making incisions with his kitchen utensils, he accidentally kills people. He is able to knock out all his victims’ teeth, however, and he known enough surgery to make incisions in his victims’ kneecaps, root around under the bone with his finger, extract the appropriate tendon, and snip it with a pair of scissors. Yes, this is shown several times, on camera, in a short period. It’s about this time that you’ll be glad the film is shot in black-and-white, as the red gooey blood would have been unbearable otherwise.
He also doesn’t know much about stitching, so Martin does a slapdash job of stapling people’s lips to one another’s anuses. Why these people don’t break free is a mystery. This is a weak, fat, greasy retarded killer. Could he really overpower all those people? Well, of course not. But we need our ‘pede. So staples it is. When the people won’t defecate on his command, he injects them with laxatives. Now you’ll REALLY be glad that the movie’s in black and white. There’s also a scene where that pregnant woman starts to give birth in her getaway car, and what happens to the baby is another step too far in a film that’s already gone several steps beyond.
Will this movie gross you out? Yes. Will it shock you? Yeah, probably. So I guess that, as a geekshow, it does its job of going beyond its predecessor. The director has no other interest beyond making you squirm, and squirm you shall. But, oddly, as I indicated above, by going to such extremes, the film entire enters this bizarro cartoon zone, where the shocks feel contrived, and the extremity feels calculated. If all you want is a film to see on a dare, “The Human Centipede II” will do just fine, and will make you feel sick and queasy, and maybe will have you pumping your chest in incredulous machismo (and if you’re that last type, I don’t want to sit next to you in the theater). If you want a real movie about sickness, death and shock… well, there are movies for grown ups too.