Hump Day Horror – The Human Centipede
I know it’s been a bit since my last post . . . . . . but that’s Life. The kids are doing fantastic at school. The boy has entered first grade and is impressing his teachers. The girl is finally a Kindergartener, and her teacher has already sworn to never let her advance to first grade. She loves that girl too much!! As a family we’re doing amazingly well with our transition to Texas, and things couldn’t be better.
That said, I could still be blogging and writing more often.
To renew my dessicated website and writing career, let’s pump it full of life-giving primeval ooze and other substances with the consistency of pudding. Starting with a new feature:
Hump Day Horror
With my husband’s new schedule, the old Saturday Night Horror Fest is out. He gets every weekend off, and since he works 4 or 5 graveyard shifts during the week, I am not taking my precious evening time away for a horror fest on Saturday. It’s going to become a Wednesday night thing. I’m going to try to review newer movies, but if I’m short on time (or Netflix is slow), I’ll be giving a taste of the old, too.
This week, to peak your interest, I’m offering my thoughts on The Human Centipede. Which is coincidental to a story I’m currently working on, featuring none other than a crazy German doctor. Odd, no?
*Spoiler Possibility Alert*
Many apologies, but there could be spoilers below.
Taking notes as the film began to roll, I noted a feeling of trepidation, apprehension. Having seen the trailer previously, I knew the basic plot: a German doctor decides to make his fantasy of flesh a reality by creating the first Siamese triplet connected by the gastric system, or in other words – the human centipede. (100% medically accurate, as the tagline informs us.) As much as the thought intrigued me, it was also completely disgusting and I really wasn’t looking forward to that part. Not even in a “I like to watch sick horrific things,” because really… I don’t. I can enjoy visceral, grotesque horror occasionally, but most times my preferences lie in atmospheric horror that keeps you jumping for hours afterward, not hawking up your lunch.
I realized, then, that the reason I’m watching this movie is out of curiosity. I already know what the doctor does; I have an insatiable need to know why.
Disappointingly enough, the creators never really examine what event or idea took hold of Herr Doktor that led him to kidnap and mutilate 3 human beings in such a way. There’s a mild suggestion of his past as a former Siamese separator, and that he has now decided to . . . make a Siamese . . . triplet? I know. It seems a stretch. He does explain his plans, and there may have been a tiny amount of exposition as well, when he’s making his presentation to the victims — uh — test subjects, but it was covered in a ton of Japanese and subtitles. He could barely be heard over A’s racket, and any exposition is tossed into the wind.
Featuring a nearly unknown cast, which isn’t always a bad thing, but here the storyline and graphic nature of the film could have benefited from better acting. The most memorable characters were Doctor Heiter and Katsuro/A, the lead segment. B, the second segment, or middle piece, Lindsay, would fall next on the list, with Jenny, the tail, falling dead last as the worst actor in the bunch. Her emotions were dead pan and she lacked any believable lines, and truly, as the viewer you’re feeling a little guilty and grateful that she got her comeuppance in the end. The same could be said for Lindsay, whose only saving grace is that she doesn’t reveal herself to be an 8 year old who got her hands on some human growth hormones to appear 20-ish.
As far as characterization goes, the only worthwhile character is Katsuro. Having very little time for exposition, his character is still revealed as a leader, both strong and stubborn. He is unwilling to silently obey and works diligently, always seeking that opportunity for escape. The Doctor, while an interesting character, is never given a chance to fully present himself. We see him only in small snippets as the man, and most always as The Doctor.
Creepy Alert: Level RED
This keeps his Creepy-Factor high, but since the movie is lacking in meaning already and is just another form of torture-porn, a little more ambiance and presence may have helped salvage the movie’s disturbing lack of substance. The actor playing The Doctor truly does make the character, however. His ability to look upon his subjects as a loving father would look upon his children, but as though he’d decide to finally cook them for dinner and teach them about having mouths to feed, is one of the more truly disturbing moments. The two girls seemed written in a way to deliberately have the viewer think they deserved their fate, if not at the least dislike them as people. This was a blatant attempt to trick the viewer on the writer’s part, and as a one who has already set aside my disbelief to partake in a film about a mad German doctor performing risky and highly unlikely surgery (much less the acrobatics not revealed later in how he transported these delicately attached bodies) for seemingly no real reason at all aside from his own personal aesthetics, I do not enjoy being shown a crappy sleight of hand illusion.
I could begin to list the sadly large amount of plot holes that will be extremely obvious during viewing, but this review seems to be getting long enough as it is. Just play “Spot the Stupidity” while you watch, and then categorize if it is an oversight on the writer’s part or the director’s. It is a fun game.
Ultimately, I spent the first half wondering why the Doctor performs this catastrophic and debilitating surgery, and the other contemplating the various surgeries the victims would need to fix their bodies if they survived. Very little time was spent on wondering about the characters, their suffering, or even the Human Centipede itself. The novelty of a “human centipede” quickly lost its appeal.
There are very few reasons to see this film. Everything is pretty much covered in the trailer, and about 10 minutes after the surgery takes place, the grotesqueness of the situation becomes droll, and you’re looking forward to the end. I would advise wasting money, or the hour and a half to watch it, only if you’re truly curious about what a human centipede would look like crawling around, and … that’s about it.
Dieter Laser as Doctor Heiter
Ashley C. Williams as Lindsay
Ashlynn Yennie as Jennie
Akihiro Kitamura as Katsuro
I give the film two and a half screams out of five.
For other opinions on the film, check out:
Don’t forget the awesome (and totally not a 3 minute spoiler) trailer: