October 7th brings to us another review with a new reviewer! Kat (official title – The Head Honey) is the showrunner for the website theHorrorHoneys.com which you can find here. theHorrorHoneys.com is a website dedicated to horror and all of the subgenres that are included in that label. With such titles as The Zombie Honey, The Monster Honey, The Supernatural Honey, The Revenge Honey, etc, the site has horror specialists who dedicated their articles to their focus topics. This gives horror the attention it needs and craves.
Kat has graciously agreed to join me in a review of a movie. I let her pick the title and I was interested to see that she picked The Human Centipede. Let’s get started, shall we?
Two American college girls become the subjects of a sadistic medical experiment while on a road trip across Europe. Invited to a party by a handsome waiter, Jenny and Lindsay are en route to the festivities when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Desperate, they decide to seek help on foot, eventually coming across the home of a retired surgeon named Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser). Dr. Heiter is internationally renowned for his work on separating conjoined twins, but these days he’s using his surgical skills for something entirely different. His goal is to create a human centipede by removing his patient’s kneecaps, and sewing them together, mouth-to-anus. The only thing preventing Dr. Heiter from carrying out his experiment is a lack of human subjects. When Jenny and Lindsay arrive on his doorstep, Dr. Heiter enthusiastically begins prepping for surgery. (synopsis from Fandango)
Kat: The first time I ever experienced Human Centipede, it was under extreme duress. A friend who was trying to expand my horizons had systematically broken down my wall of resistance and general feelings of “OMG NO NO NO NO” over a series of weeks of watching “tamer” horror films to ease me into this new level of WTF.
Plying me with assurances that I would love it, and no I wouldn’t see any poop smears, and yes I could drink the entire bottle of wine myself, I reluctantly agreed.
My mother asks me all the time how I can watch these “horrible things”…and to be honest, mum, it’s because I harass the fuck out of them. If I took this shit seriously, I’m pretty sure that I’d be extremely damaged.
First snigger of the film: The (uber delightful) doctor, sitting in his car with a photo of three Rottweiler’s standing with their noses up each other’s butts… REALLY? So tender, so…what?
Second derisive chuckle plus an eye roll: Stupid American chicks out to fuck their way across Europe after college… Is this what all Americans do after college? Hostel LOVED that trick too… You’d think after this many movies about dead 20-somethings in Europe that it would stop being a thing…
Something I notice more in films that I like than in movies is also something that REALLY pisses me off…have you ever noticed that NO ONE says “thank you”…for…anything? As though It’s just assumed that help will be provided and offered willingly. Now, whether that’s because of that ever present white middle class privileged upbringing where compliance and condescension are innate in the society or just something that no one really thinks about I have no idea…but it’s definitely something that bothers the fuck out of me.
A familiar horror trope will always be the juxtaposition between the Villain’s quiet and seemingly idyllic life and the dungeon of horrors being maintained not far away. Our good Doctor is no different. I’m in love with his stereotypically German efficiency, cleanliness, order, Nordic fitness level, and that consuming hypnotic stare. Plus his love of being barefoot, I don’t like shoes either.
Sidenote: I LOVE listening to the Japanese language…LOVE it. Powerful, commanding, and generally badass.
The horror: Bond-villain style monologuing is what makes this film SO horrifying. Delivered by our good doctor, the explanation of the extreme body modification and the procedure itself are what really make this film a standout for me. It’s not just about the initial gross out…nooooo no… What makes this film so beautifully horrific and lifts it out of that gross “no no” territory is that unlike other films where a rescue is possible, there is no coming back from this kind of attack. This is not a “Laurie Strode is much better after extensive therapy and living a normal life” kind of movie.
The fact that any rescue, no matter how soon it came, would never be enough for these three. No amount of counselling, reconstructive surgery, rehabilitation…nothing can bring these people back to any definition of “normal”. THAT is the triumph of this film. Especially after that final scene…holy shit.
The coldly macabre, yet tender and beautiful Doctor, visibly moved by his creation is what truly brings Human Centipede out of the realm of the ridiculous and into a truly horrific piece of cinema. It also excuses some slightly ridiculous moments elsewhere in the film which could have been painful had Dieter Laser not been the brilliant madman that he is.
This Horror Honey’s verdict: If you can get past the no-no feeling that this movie brings out in pretty much everyone; you’re in for a visceral treat that you’ll want to share with you friends…maybe not as intimately as Lindsay, Jenny and Katsuro do…but close.
Horror Honey PS – I’ve no desire to see the rest of the Centipede films, especially with a rumour going around about a chain of ATM inmates…I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for that one.
PJ: OK. Just wow. Against all recommendations of friends and other horror buffs, I’ve held off watching this movie. I was never certain whether this was going to be a “gross out” type of film where the people behind the camera are trying to purposely get the most physical reaction possible. The very idea of a “human centipede” is exceedingly gross. A series of human beings tied together as a 3 stage digestive system is more than a cause for the question: “who the hell thinks this stuff up?”
The one thing that stood out in this movie was the Doctor. Between his stolid face when dealing with normal people and the difference when he works with his creation, there is a pure joy and contentment made evident by the Doctor. His love of his work made this movie work. Anyone can make a movie that is about grossing out the viewers, but this movie transcended bodily gross outs and became an interesting movie.
Still pretty gross though.
The most terrifying line of the movie: “I have to shit”. In my mind, I’m screaming “please no!”. The body language of the middle girl communicated the bodily horror of the moment. Personally, I have a hard time believing that the actors in this movie weren’t disturbed acting out this movie.
This scene and the scarring finale both take the lead as the most terrifying and horrifying parts of the film. I can honestly tell you that this movie will stick in my head for a very long time. Will I watch it again? No damn way. I’ve watched it once and I’ll never need to watch it again. I’m pretty sure some part of me is scarred for life. You can check out the trailer below. Tell me, what did you think of the film? Are you going to watch the sequels?
Thanks again to Kat for helping me out with the review. It takes a true horror fan to willing dive into this review!