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The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

May 26th, 2010 by unkle lancifer · 11 Comments

“Run, human centipede run!!!” Who knew I’d find myself yelling that sentence at my television screen? So I finally broke down and watched that movie about the not exceptionally sane surgeon who sews folks together in the worst way you can think of. I’m probably not the best audience for this type of thing because as much as I love lots of blood and gore, I like pretending that people don’t poop even more. Being reminded that they do indeed do such a regrettable, albeit (allegedly) natural, thing is not my idea of a good time. I admit it, I was prepared to hate this one, but thankfully the crazy doctor keeps his modern home so immaculate that I wasn’t as nauseated as I thought I’d be. If you had to be a human centipede, you really couldn’t ask for better digs.

I can’t think of any movie that swings from downright silly to “oh, the humanity!” depressing as often as this kooky contraption does. Even more startling is the fact that it serves up a few scenes of genuine suspense. No, I’m not talking about expertly orchestrated HITCHCOCK-ian suspense; I mean that frustrating kind where you find yourself trying to mentally will the characters not do the stupidest things you’ve ever witnessed while they’re trying to escape. Take note, I don’t care who the hell you are, I‘m not going back to save you if we’re ever found in this situation and I alone break free. In fact, I expect there will be a perfect cut-out Unkle Lancifer silhouette in the wall that I’ve crashed through while exiting the premises. If THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE’s main priority is to invent and subject the viewer to the worst possible way to meet their maker, I begrudgingly have to admit it has earned the coveted slow clap.

You’re never going to get me to say that this logic mocking movie is good but I think it might be anyway. If nothing else it is a perfect “dare” watch to subject sleepover guests to. This is the type of cult atrocity that makes me wish I still worked at a video store so that I could switch its case with that of MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY. Truth told, the movie balances the line of being truly disturbing but it never really crosses it fully. As in your face as the premise may be, your imagination will really determine just how much it crawls into your psyche. In the end I felt that the constant sound of (muffled) whimpering from the centipede creation was far more upsetting (and annoying) than anything I actually saw. Maybe I’m downplaying the anguish a bit here as I do remember there were several times that I just wanted to turn the thing off and reclaim my semi-cloudy disposition. (Tellingly, 1990s SKI SCHOOL was watched as a chaser.)

I guess you can blame DIETER LASER for my not bailing before the film ended. He is so over the top and intense as the mad doctor that I couldn’t look away. The guy doesn’t even look real. There were a couple times when I thought I was being presented with a latex model only to find out a moment later that what I was seeing was his actual head. He’s really so extreme and cartoon broad that he’s able to keep things from teetering too far into the grim. There are surely moments when you’re liable to find yourself sliding into the overall awfulness of the situation but his energy and bizarreness pulls you out. Ultimately, HUMAN CENTIPEDE’s well earned, sick reputation can’t hide the fact that unlike a lot of big budget horror we’ve recently endured, there is a positively retro joy of the genre’s grotesqueries stitching this freak show together. It’s really up to the viewer to decide, you can take it in as either a hilarious, obscene joke or a soul wrenching mediation on man’s inhumanity to human centipedes (and Rottweilers.) Either way I’d say considering its mostly rubber vomit aspirations, the operation is somewhat of a shocking success.

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Tags: General Horror · Trauma Au Courant




11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 TaylorNo Gravatar // May 26, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks for the diagrams.

  • 2 mitchNo Gravatar // May 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    This movie is getting so much press, solely because it goes “ass to mouth”, if it’s as bad as everyone says, that’s a shame it’s getting so much attention. I even heard some “shock jocks” on my local radio station talking about this movie, something they’ve never done about a quality film…..ahem. Thanks for the Rebbie video, it brought back traumatic memories of roller skating in Junior High!

  • 3 StickmannNo Gravatar // May 26, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    I suspect many of you reading this post have probably already seen the awesomely retro-styled flash game for “The Human Centipede,” but for those who haven’t, it’s here: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/537029 .
    There goes your productivity for the day.

  • 4 StickmannNo Gravatar // May 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Also: How does Dieter Laser’s Doctor Heiter compare with John Carradine’s Doctor Bernardo?


  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // May 27, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Stickman,

    I love that Human centipede game but then again I have always been strangely good at the game centipede.
    It’s too bad that Carradine is no longer with us because he could have played Heiter’s dad in the centipede sequel (which will hopefully will be called millipede.)

  • 6 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // May 28, 2010 at 1:08 am

    I was surprised by how much I liked this movie… not that I thought it was ‘great’ but it’s definitely wasn’t ‘bad’. Like you say I think the thread that holds the whole centipede together is the mad doctor… he’s just so damn crazy… and also, unlike most mad doctors… who are usually trying to save the world from starvation by growing giant rats or something… this guy is doing just because he really really hates his fellow humans. He’s just plain NASTY.
    For some reason it reminded me of 1971’s “The Incredible Two Headed Transplant”… a nostalgic favorite of my youth.

  • 7 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // May 28, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Knobgobbler,

    I know what you mean. As wacked out as the whole experiment is, there’s a nostalgia factor to the “mad Doctor” thing and Dieter Laser plays him to the hilt. I kind of wish that the premise of the movie wasn’t so distracting because his performance alone is worth seeing.

  • 8 minjofuNo Gravatar // May 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Unkle Lancifer, when you said “that frustrating kind where you find yourself trying to mentally will the characters not do the stupidest things you’ve ever witnessed while they’re trying to escape. Take note, I don’t care who the hell you are, I‘m not going back to save you if we’re ever found in this situation and I alone break free..”  I had the EXACT same thought while watching the flick..  She should have dumped her friend an kept running.. she might have been able to get help and save them all if she had..  who knows?? 

    Ultimately, I’ve seen some pretty rotten things in movies over the years, and honestly, this movie isn’t as bad as people make it out to be.. Yes, there is ONE bowel movment, and it’s not even that graphic..  Its actually the mad doctors comments that are more graphic than what happens.. 

  • 9 minjofuNo Gravatar // May 28, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I forgot to add that if one turned the sound off, the movie would probably more confusing, yes, but a lot less “disturbing”.. 

  • 10 aunt johnNo Gravatar // May 29, 2010 at 8:30 am

    One of my biggest problems was the logistics of the (SPOILER ALERT!) great escape towards the end where the centipede must come together and crawl up the twisty, Keebler Elf stairs.

    Sure it was suspenseful and all… but weren’t they just out in the yard crawling around the day before and upstairs eating in the dining room… just how did they get there?

    Did the doctor carry them? Doubt it.

    Was there a secret escalator in the lab? Perhaps?

    I did like the doctor’s art collection though.

  • 11 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // May 31, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I should clarify that I did not draw the above diagrams! They’re actually from the mad doctor’s presentation in the movie (I did change the color though)! 

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