I have 469 movies in my Netflix Instant queue. I tend to watch one thing for every five that I add, but now my library is close to being full and I have to make room. So, every Monday I’m going to pick a random movie out of my queue and review the shit out of it. But (like Jesus), I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies in it you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that, too. One Monday for you and the next for me and so on. Let’s get to it.
What’s the movie? The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009)
What’s it rated? Unrated for more scenery chewing than Orson Welles in a gingerbread house, more gruesome surgery footage than there are water births on Youtube and more ass to mouth than my typical Sunday brunch.
Did people make it? Written and Directed by Tom Six. Acted by Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura, Andreas Leupold and Peter Blankenstein.
What’s it like in one sentence? If Dr. Frankenstein had seen Dead Ringers one too many times.
Why did you watch it? I was sitting down to watch One, Two, Three, a Billy Wilder Cold War comedy I hadn’t seen, when Chewer (and fellow film critic) Morgan P. Salvo called me out for not watching either Human Centipede movie yet. Being that I have such low self esteem, I decided it was time to give a look at the two movies I swore I’d never watch.
What’s it about in one paragraph? Two women in their 20’s are travelling through Europe and in the middle of the Germanic leg of their journey. On a dark and story night they’re on their way to a club when their car breaks down in the pouring rain. They walk through the woods looking for help until they stumble across a nice house in the middle of nowhere, where they meet Dr. Josef Heiter, a specialist on the splitting of conjoined twins. He’s fucking crazy as a shit house rat’s poop maggots, so he drugs them, binds them to hospital beds in his basement and tells them his plan: He’s going to hobble them and (along with a Japanese tourist he captured) sew them together, mouth to anus, and make a human centipede that has to crawl around and be horrifying. There’s your movie.
Play or remove from my queue? It’s most definitely worth watching, but I bet if you were going to see it, you would have by now. There’s some wonky plotting (mostly in the last few minutes), but overall it’s a damn intense and uncompromising in its vision. I think people have downplayed how disturbing some of the imagery is in the film, though. Yes, the film isn’t as hardcore as it could have been (which I’m sure Human Centipede 2 will prove), but pus squirting infections and seeing someone learn how to swallow shit properly seemed pretty goddamned graphic to me. When the closing credits rolled, I felt pretty damned drained and almost like I had been through an ordeal of some kind. I guess because I heard from so many people how much tamer it is than what they were expecting, I have to ask A) What the fuck were you expecting and B) Do you have to see poop leave an anus and enter a tummy before it stops being tame? Is that where we are as a species? All I’m saying is that I wasn’t quite prepared for how the film made me feel and the extremely bleak ending made me depressed on top of being a bit disgusted.
Obviously Dieter Laser is fantastic. He manages to be an unstoppable force of nature like Jason Voorhees or Michael Meyers, but with a personality and motivation. Laser’s performance reminds me of a hybrid of Klaus Kinski and Udo Kier, but with a tiny bit more unhinged delight. He is genuinely frightening because of how little empathy he has (although he loves and misses his dead dog) for his victims and almost seems alien in his unwavering desire to make the human centipede a reality. The scenes with him stalking one of the women through the house while she is trying to escape are some of the most intense I’ve seen in a film this year so far and his performance is what sells it.
I’m not sure if Tom Six is trying to make a statement with the film or whether he just had a gross idea and a few million dollars. He might be trying to say something about Nazism or the use of surgery and medicine to subvert God or something but, judging from what I’ve heard about the sequel, he might have just wanted to make something controversial so he could get rich and famous. Six does direct the hell out of this movie and uses restraint when he feels like it, but I think the man needs a few more films under his belt before he can be labeled a genius like I’ve been hearing. It’s a great movie, full of intensity and grue, but one I’ll probably never watch again. It kinda seems like once you’ve seen it, there’s nothing to be gained from repeat viewings unless you’ve got a fecalphilia deal going on. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Do you have a favorite line? Dr. Heiter saying with a smile on his face to the girl trying to get away “Do you already regret your little escape? In fact, I’m thankful for it, because now… I know definitely you are the middle piece!” made me incredibly sad, but with a grin on my face. So. Horrible.
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? I just thought it was hilarious that Roger Ebert refused to give the film a rating and ended his review by saying “The film is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don’t shine.”
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Hot Tub Time Machine (wait, what? How did Netflix reach that little assumption? I’m pretty sure I’d remember ass to mouth in that movie. Especially if Jessica Pare was involved), Dead Snow (I kinda loved that little movie), Vampire Girl VS. Frankenstein Girl (No), Tokyo Gore Police (Sorry, but no) and Waxwork 2 (Yes! A thousand times yes. You have to love a movie if Alexander Godunov is on the damned cover!).
What does Jared say I’d like if I like this? Dead Ringers, The Boys from Brazil, maybe the sequel and watching me poo on some folks.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 2.7
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 3.5
Can you link to the movie? Sure!
Any last thoughts? Looking back at all the things I said about the movie in the body of the review is interesting to me. I believe all of the things I said, but those feelings and emotions feel removed and at a distance from me. Like I watched the film and these were things I felt, but I feel colder about the movie now. Like I appreciate it, but don’t necessarily like it. Also, to be honest, I’m not super excited about watching the sequel, although I bet I get a good review out of it.
Did you watch anything else this week? I watched the fist two episodes of this season of Game of Thrones (great, but a tease) and I watched Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (boring as all hell).
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, The Robber? Not really. I’m finding that the film isn’t really memorable for me. It just felt too clinical to be entertaining, but not clinical enough to be fascinating. Also, the Robber hooking up with his lady one more time at the end made no sense to me. She barely seemed to be able to stand him anymore, so once they bang and he leaves, she picks up the phone and turns him in to the cops. If the characters were better drawn, then maybe this would have made more sense to me. For instance, when the Robber runs into his parole officer, who politely tells him “hey, I haven’t heard from you in 8 weeks. You need to talk to me so you don’t go back to jail”, instead of taking 10 seconds to say “oh shit, you’re right. My bad.” he acts all fucking strange and keeps walking away from the guy until he turns around and bludgeons him to death. Now, there was 100 different ways the Robber could have handled his shit right there, but instead he picks the dumbest and the worst. We know the Robber is smart, cold and calculating, but why all of a sudden did he become incapable of being intelligent. His parole officer was one of his biggest fans. He easily could have talked his way out of the situation. So again, if you’re not going to be consistent with characterization, then give us a window into why he couldn’t use his fucking words to placate they guy. I just never bought any of it.
Next Week? Goddamn fucking Human Centipede 2.