Director: Tom Six
Cast: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura
Screenplay: Tom Six
92 mins. Rated R for disturbing sadistic horror violence, nudity and language.
If Monsters, Inc. occupies one end of the horror movie spectrum, then The Human Centipede (First Sequence) exists somewhere at the completely opposite end. It is the story of Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser), a fringe experimental surgeon who decides to test the bounds of human emotional and physical pain by surgically stitching together three people from anus to mouth creating, he coins, a “human centipede.”
This is definitely one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. The idea came from a conversation that director/screenwriter Tom Six had with some friends where he exclaimed that child molesters should have their mouths sewn to the ass of a fat truck driver. Now, that idea’s genesis into whatever this thing is has to be an odd metamorphosis of storytelling (Six consulted with an actual surgeon in order to get his 100% Medically Accurate tagline for the movie). The plot is at least mildly intriguing, more so than the performances, with Laser occupying the entirety of the performances. The other three actors (Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, and Akihiro Kitamura as the centipedes three contributors) merely do not act, but instead react in much the same way that I think anyone would, and in that way, the performances are on point. Not great or engaging, but on point.
Tom Six’s film is thought to be one of the more visually disturbing pictures of all time, when in all reality, the actual grossness of the film comes from the ideas laid out and the tremendously gruesome use of sound work. The ideas are presented, the surgery is for the most part off camera, and the resulting images are shown to the audience. This is one film where what you don’t see is much more horrific than what you do. The actual visual gore is pretty tame by comparison to most other horror films these days.
I can completely see the comparison between Heiter (first name Josef) and Dr. Josef Mengele as well, and it raises the level of horror on this movie, creating another implication. The fact that he chooses a Japanese man at the front of his centipede is interesting as it creates that language barrier.
The movie isn’t all that well put together, but it remains a test of one’s abilities as a horror film. Worth a viewing, but little more than that.
-Kyle A. Goethe
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