The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (Six, 2010)

What to say that hasn’t already been said elsewhere. Tom Six’s ridiculously graphic horror film is just as disgusting as advertised, but not in the way I expected. The titular atrocity happens midway through the film, allowing the shock of it all to quickly turn into elongated revulsion.

Aside from the circus freak stunt of the “centipede” the film is pretty shallow. It’s fascinating that the victims take on depth after they’ve been surgically tied together by Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser), where the actors have to rely on facial expressions to exhibit their expanding anguish. In this sense the acting is pretty incredible, with each performer putting their heart and soul into this horrific side show.

Interestingly, The Human Centipede becomes impossible to recommend but a memorable experience nonetheless, simply for the fact that it’s some strange exhibit of cinematic masturbation from a director clearly off his rocker. The detail with which Six explores the texture, sound, and shading of the degrading process is truly sickening. Strangely, the film descends into a ridiculous Psycho rip-off in the end, culminating in a bloody set-piece of frozen faces, silent suffering, and confrontational imagery.  What are we left with? Not much, except a harrowing memory of a crime so inane and inept we can’t imagine how Dr. Heiter made it this far without getting caught. Go figure.

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4 thoughts on “The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (Six, 2010)

  1. This more or less aligns with my feelings on the film. Six makes a couple of stabs at moral substance in the second half that I wish felt less shoved-in than they do, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t take the characters’ suffering seriously. I, for one, find it difficult to wholly dismiss as just a depraved freak-out; I think there is a bit more to it than that.

  2. Hey Kenji -I agree the film deserves a look and should not be dismissed. I just wish the film developed the victims a bit more in the beginning. It would have made the horror much more palpable.

  3. If you’ve read my take on this movie you’ll know that I found it a very stupid film, with almost nothing in it to take seriously. I think Six is a movie-making poseur who here has a (sort of) new idea, yes, but nothing like the skill with which to bring it off.

  4. I’m torn with this one. I found more interest in this than you did Jim but I do agree it’s incredibly dumb at times. Still, it haunts me every time I think about it. So for me, there is something there. I’m just not sure what. And maybe it’s better not knowing.

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