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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.5%
Worth A Look: 17.5%
Just Average: 0%
Pretty Crappy: 20%

4 reviews, 16 user ratings

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Human Centipede, The (First Sequence)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Soon to be remade starring Sandra Bullock and Amy Adams!"
5 stars

The first shot of "The Human Centipede (First Sequence)" gives the game away: it's a pristine shot of a highway with cars blandly passing by. I was reminded of David Cronenberg's "Crash," Michael Haneke's "Funny Games," and Marguerite Duras' "The Truck."[1] This film fits in with those: it's a transgressive pop-culture-shock art film seeking to skeeve you out with the thoughts in its head, not the blood on the floor.

The movie certainly has become quite the flashpoint among movie geeks this season: "Disgusting and brilliant" in a dead heat with "disgusting and worthless." I'll pitch my tent in the former camp and, like many another horror film, Human Centipede really isn't as disgusting as all that. Even in the now-legendary coprophagy scene, we don't actually have to watch it in detail. It's kind of hard to, when the eater's mouth is sutured to the shitter's ass.

Still with me? Here we have one of the great simple horror plots: two college girls (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie) on a Eurotrip find themselves waylaid by a flat tire. They wind up at the house of one Dr. Josef Heiter (the wonderfully named Dieter Laser), a mad surgeon who dreams of creating an organism joining three human bodies with one digestive system. The ads boast that the film is "100% medically accurate." I'll take that on faith; who would really want to investigate further into the claim?

Anyway, the girls are joined to a third person, a Japanese man (Akihiro Kitamura), the "lead" in the centipede. Writer/director Tom Six, who has previously made several Netherlands farces, keeps the style creepily clinical, almost becalmed, as if in response to the lurid premise. Occasionally the soundtrack gives itself over to an ominous doomy rumble, but mostly it's a very quiet film other than the shrieks of the victims pre-op, the muffled cries of the girls post-op. We watch the human centipede awkwardly making its their way around the house or the yard, at the behest of the mad doctor, who tries to train them like a dog.

Some people, many of whom have not seen the film, are taking great pains to denounce Human Centipede, and anyone who could conceivably enjoy it, as sick and depraved. We've heard this before. The truth is, anyone familiar with some of the more squirm-worthy Japanese manga will have seen atrocities very much like those on display here, and worse. What's new is Six's fastidious approach, which takes us up to the edge of nausea and dread. And the scenery-gnashing Dieter Laser creates a terrific new screen monster, who weeps in triumph when his great creation is revealed. The movie drips with twisted, absurdist humor the deadpan presentation helps but it ends on a truly chilling and desolate note. At a time when my beloved horror genre is infested with the fleas and ticks of remakes and "reboots," here's a movie that injects some new, ice-cold blood.

[1] I promise you this will be the only review of "The Human Centipede" that references Marguerite Duras. Her ghost is probably relieved.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=19555&reviewer=416
originally posted: 05/01/10 22:12:07
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Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2009 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2009 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2010 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/21/17 morris campbell who would watch this sick stupid shit not me 1 stars
1/22/13 dr.lao That sound you hear is the death throws of the last shreds of Rob Gonsalves' credibility 1 stars
9/28/11 sarai aguilar this isthe most entertaning movie i have ever seen its also nasty and shocking 4 stars
9/10/11 Captain00Kirk God help my soul, I liked it.Not great, but it's entertaining.www.youtube.com/Captain00Kirk 4 stars
5/30/11 brian There are sequels. Heaven help us, there are sequels. 2 stars
5/16/11 mr.mike Had to see it in my guise as a self-styled film critic. I was uneasy hours afterward. 4 stars
4/30/11 Josie Cotton is a goddess I should really spend more time with my sweet three-dog 4 stars
4/01/11 Lindsey absolute worst, most disgusting, sickest, horrifying movie I have ever seen in my life! 1 stars
3/12/11 karamashi Disturbingly good exploitative horror. Freshest thing to hit horror in a while. No joke. 4 stars
9/01/10 johnhancock If youre messed in the head, youve found your new favourite film. Not even shocking. tediou 1 stars
6/09/10 matt 2 hot babes sewed to my ass? Sounds good, just don't make a wind chime out of my genitals 4 stars
5/20/10 Man Out 6 Bucks Mantrid(Dieter) continues the insect war on humanity by assimilating nipple-shy yank-girls. 5 stars
5/14/10 Sugarfoot It really isn't scary or disturbing. Just tedious. 1 stars
5/02/10 karamashi A dark and nasty little shocker that keeps its cool. 4 stars
5/02/10 Apollo BIg fat stupid mess 1 stars
11/11/09 michael about as enjoyable as watching a 2 hour rape scene. Recommend. 2 stars
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  30-Apr-2010 (R)
  DVD: 05-Oct-2010


  DVD: 05-Oct-2010

Directed by
  Tom Six

Written by
  Tom Six

  Ashley C. Williams
  Dieter Laser
  Akihiro Kitamura
  Ashlynn Yennie
  Andreas Leupold

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