By Brian Lafferty
October 7, 2011 (San Diego) – The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is a challenging movie not just in content but also in making me think about my response to it. It’s so easy for a critic to say that he likes or dislikes a film, especially when engaging in dialogue, rather than written expression. When a movie like this comes along, it’s not so black and white.
The Human Centipede II opens with the psychologically disturbing finale of the first film. The camera pulls back to reveal it’s a DVD of the first movie which disturbed parking garage security watchman Martin (Laurence R. Harvey) is obsessed with. Saddled with an abusive mother who resents him for putting his child molester father in prison, he decides to assemble his own human centipede, culling his victims from the often-empty parking garage at night. Whereas the first movie had three victims, this one is more ambitious, with the centipede composed of twelve (!) people.
The first Human Centipede was all premise. It was about a mad German doctor (Dieter Laser) who performed an experiment in which three people were sewn mouth to anus. In fact, the entire film in itself was an experiment. Could someone not only squeeze this premise into an entire feature-length film but also do something with it? Director Tom Six’s experiment managed to do so.
In the first Human Centipede, much of the graphic material was implied. This time around, Six shows everything. Well, almost everything. There’s a scene where Martin masturbates to the first film…with sandpaper (the actual act is shown offscreen). He uses a hammer to bash people’s teeth out and then staples their mouths to the other victims’ anuses with a staple gun. When the front centipede refuses to eat, he rips her tongue out. He forces food down her throat, injects a laxative and (use your imagination here).
All that, believe it or not, is just for starters.
I did not mention that The Human Centipede II is in black and white. That is, except for the poop. This tones down the sickening stuff. It still caused me to cringe in spots, but not as much as I normally would have if it was in color. At times I wondered if Six used chocolate syrup for the blood.
Did I like it? This is a movie where liking it and not liking it is irrelevant. I didn’t get sick, I didn’t despise it, and as disturbing as it is, I was surprised it wasn’t even more disturbing after the way the press made it out to be (it was originally banned in the United Kingdom, but the ban was recently lifted). If the purpose of the film is to shock, scare, disturb, and creep people out, then it succeeded there, at least with me. But I don’t necessarily endorse it and I wouldn’t watch it again. Once was enough for me.
Due to content, which includes depictions of graphic sexual violence, nobody under 18 will be admitted.
The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is playing at midnight on October 7, October 8, and October 14 at the Landmark Ken Cinema.
An IFC Midnight release. Director: Tom Six. Screenplay: Tom Six. Cinematography: David Meadows. Original music: James Edward Baker. Cast: Laurence R. Harvey and Ashlynn Yennie. 88 minutes. Unrated (nobody under 18 admitted).