Today: February 21, 2024
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The Human Centipede II

Mentally disturbed loner Martin (Laurence R. Harvey) lives with his mother in a crumbling ghetto housing block and works as a security guard in a subterranean multi-storey car park. Sexually abused as a child by his father, mentally abused by his hysterical mother (Vivien Bridsen) and under the care of the predatory Dr Sebring (Bill Hutchens), Martin’s life is pretty bleak, his only relief comes from the movie The Human Centipede which he watches obsessively. Fantasising about creating his own human centipede, Martin embarks on an orgy of kidnap and murder, ‘collecting’ victims (including the first film’s Ashlynn Yennie, here playing herself. Unconvincingly) who annoy or ridicule him at the car park and storing them, naked, bound and hobbled, in a filthy, disused warehouse. Unlike the first film’s fictional Dr Heiter (Dieter Laser), Martin’s surgical skills are a little more rudimentary but who needs medical training when you have a hammer, a butcher’s knife and a staple gun…

Mentally
disturbed loner Martin (
Laurence R. Harvey) lives with his mother in a crumbling
ghetto housing block and works as a security guard in a subterranean
multi-storey car park. Sexually
abused as a child by his father, mentally abused by his hysterical mother (Vivien
Bridsen) and under the care of the predatory Dr Sebring (Bill Hutchens),
Martin’s life is pretty bleak, his only relief comes from the movie The Human
Centipede which he watches obsessively.
Fantasising about creating his own human centipede, Martin embarks on an
orgy of kidnap and murder, ‘collecting’ victims (including the first film’s Ashlynn
Yennie, here playing herself.
Unconvincingly) who annoy or ridicule him at the car park and storing
them, naked, bound and hobbled, in a filthy, disused warehouse. Unlike the first film’s fictional Dr
Heiter (Dieter Laser), Martin’s surgical skills are a little more rudimentary
but who needs medical training when you have a hammer, a butcher’s knife and a
staple gun…

Picture the scene gentle reader. It’s Summer 2010, you’re Dutch director Tom Six and you’re feeling pretty pleased with yourself. You’ve just unleashed your masterpiece
on unsuspecting audiences around the world, the shocking, perverse The Human Centipede, a satirically
intelligent, remarkably restrained slice of torture porn. Touching a nerve with audiences, it’s
the cinematic equivalent of marmite; people either love it or hate it but, if
they’ve seen it, they’ve got an opinion.

Like the film’s psychotic villain, Dr Heiter (Dieter Laser), you bask in the glory of
your creation. You think proudly:
“That’s it, I’ve done it. No-one’s
ever making another film that’s more offensive, more disturbing, more shocking,
more genuinely upsetting than this.
My place in cinema history is assured.” Then A Serbian Film
came out and burst your bubble.
Not only was it more offensive, it had something to say, something
important. You weren’t sure what
it was saying but it was definitely saying something. Your film didn’t really say anything. At least, nothing deep.

So what do you do?
What can you do? You’re
just going to have to go further.
You’re going to have to make a film so extreme, so repulsive, that
there’s no way it’ll ever be released!
A film that’s so shocking, disturbing and joyously sick that the
namby-pamby moral nannies at the British Board of Film Classification will have
no choice but to ban the film outright!
Even if it’s only for five minutes! And this time, gosh-darnit, it’ll have something to
say! Something important!

Grafting on a meta-level which allows Six to comment on the
reception of the first film and the ever-popular tabloid scare stories of video
nasties warping impressionable minds by having Martin, his fictional
protagonist, develop a sexual obsession with the first film which drives him to
recreate its atrocities using one of the real-life actresses from the first
film, The Human Centipede 2 (Full
Sequence)
ups the gore, nastiness and filth of the first film, making it
both repulsive viewing and a better, smarter film than its predecessor.

Unsurprisingly, it was immediately banned by the British
Board of Film Classification who felt that: the explicit
presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is
in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a
fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.

Which basically means that Britain’s great unwashed mass of
proletariat are far too stupid to watch this movie. We’ll be corrupted
by it. We’ll see a fat man kidnap some people, staple them together
ass-to-mouth, feed them laxatives, rape and murder them and think: “That
looks
fun. I think I’ll rent a warehouse
and go on my own rape-happy scatological voyage of self-discovery.”

BBFC director, David Cooke, also stated back in June: The Board considered whether its
concerns could be dealt with through cuts. However, given that the unacceptable
content runs throughout the work, cuts are not a viable option in this case and
the work is therefore refused a classification.”

So, the core of
this film is so evil, so disturbing, so plain wrong that there’s no cuts that will make this film acceptable and
it’ll never be screened for a British audience. Right?

Which is why, five
months later, shorn of just 2 minutes 37 seconds (the infamous barbed wire rape
scene and something very nasty happening to a newborn baby), The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)
hits UK screens this weekend.

It’s not a nice
film. It’s not a pleasant
film. It’s not a date movie. It’s a cynical, nasty, satirical piece
of exploitation cinema which at times feels as if Tom Six is working his
way
through a checklist of offenses.
The first film wasn’t violent enough for you? Don’t worry, I’m trebling
the number of victims. There’s going to be blood, guts and
brains all over the place. The
first film was too clean, too clinical, too IKEA? This time it’s down
and dirty. Not enough warped sexuality and rape in the first film for
you? We got wall-to-wall deviants
this time. Not enough
excrement? Stand back, I’m going
to give you fountains of sh*t this time.

It is a stunning
film however, it’s crisp black and white visuals both beautiful and horrific,
reminiscent of David Lynch’s early
work (Eraserhead, The Elephant Man),
completely immersing the viewer in Martin’s warped, clammy world to the extent
that all you’ll want to do after watching the film is have a long, hot shower.

The cast are
fantastic giving brave, committed and grueling performances and Laurence R. Harvey, who used to play a
gnome in a kids TV show, is a revelation as the mute Martin, a pathetic,
depraved, damaged monster eliciting both sympathy and terror in equal measure
whilst, stretching herself Ashlynn
Yennie
plays a bimbo actress called…Ashlynn Yennie.

A little too
self-referential and reverent towards the first film, I formally propose that The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)
should be the subject of a drinking game.
Every time Tom Six’s name appears on screen (which happens constantly as
Martin only ever seems to watch the closing credits of the first film), you
have to drink. Every time a
character mentions the first film, you have to drink. Every time Martin looks at his scrapbook, you have to
drink. In fact, drinking may be
the best way to get through the film.

Smart, funny and deeply unpleasant, The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) is the only film you’ll see
this week that doesn’t want you to like it.

David Watson

David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email: david.watson@filmjuice.com

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