The Human Centipede (First Sequence) [2010] - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) [2010]

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I don't agree with the old maxim that there's no accounting for taste.  There's plenty accounting for it.  Heck, the things I like and dislike about a film add and subtract together until I come to a reasonable conclusion that can be given a numeric value (especially if I'm scoring it on Criticker).

I'm going to play accountant to my emotional gamut as I went through The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and see what kind of result I come up with.

The introduction features a man with jet black hair and an face that resembles the width of a football field perusing a series of pictures showing first a dog, then two dogs joined together from anus to mouth, and concluding with three dogs joined together anus to mouth.  He lovingly strokes the pictures of the dogs and sighs a bit.  This is Dr. Heiter (Deiter Laser), and his wistful looks at his former canine companions causes me to chuckle (+3 points for strangely amusing intro).

After Dr. Heiter dispatches a truck driver trying to defecate in the wilderness, the film joins Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) as they get ready for a night on the town.  They are visiting Germany from America and are looking to party (-2 for using Hostel as a cinematic reference point).  Unfortunately, they are very dumb people and speak from the Fran Drescher school of diction (-4 annoying dialogue and bad acting).

The perfect dinner host makes sure all his guests are well-fed and relaxed.

Their car breaks down on the side of the road (-1 for cliche) and they wander off into the woods during a storm (-3 for stupidity and worse cliche) before they come upon Dr. Heiter's home (+2 for an interestingly designed and sterile home).  He invites them and they accept despite him looking like Hitler's less socially adjusted cousin (+1, cliche, but he's just so sinister and the home so ominous it's amusing).  The two girls gets drugged and taken downstairs where he reveals to him his master plan.

This is where things, for a little while, become genuinely amusing and horrifying (+1 for underestimating the power of matching the right director with the right material).  Dr. Heiter reveals to the girls and the trucker that he plans on joining the three of them together in the same manner as his dogs.  Why?  So that he can form a single human with a long digestive tract.  (+3 for Deiter selling the hell out of this material and making it horrifying and funny at the same time).  Sadly, he informs the three of them that the trucker simply will not do, kills him and replaces him with Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura) (+1 for the dark comedic logic).

The following sequences feature an escape attempt (+1 pretty stylish if routine) and the sewing together of the three (-2 not really that interesting, strangely enough).  Then the film earns more cred as an amazing dark comedy for a little bit as Dr. Heiter tries to get the conjoined trio to play fetch (+2 Deiter sells it so well I was laughing a lot) and briefly ride them around like a pony (+2, again, this really shouldn't work but I was laughing).  There's also a brief shot that made me giggle furiously when Dr. Heiter goes to pay respects to his dead tri-dog (+1 for the amazing headstone).

Best to leave some surprises to the film, because there may be some folks out there that really want to see it.  I'll round this out by saying that the police that inevitably show up to investigate look a lot like Bela Tarr(no points for that, just kinda cool), that the sporadic bouts of sadistic violence are strangely at odds for with the tone of the film (-4 for a lot of unnecessary discomfort during those moments), and that the ending of the film was tragically appropriate (+1 for at least getting that right).

It's the humdrum expressions on the drawing that really sell this moment.

So how good is The Human Centipede (First Sequence)?  It's 2.  Not quite a null set, but close.

I wonder who needs to read reviews about films that revolve around surgically altering anuses to mouths.  But to be more specific, who wants to watch them.  You already know if you want to watch a movie about this uncommon practice.  I certainly didn't, but I review new DVDs and its turn came up.

So The Human Centipede (First Sequence) exists, it is nicely crafted, spookily well acted by Deiter, terribly to tolerably acted by everyone else, contains a number of distressingly unneeded sequences, and has a sequel in the works that will involve six people instead of three.  At least now I'll have some kind of scale to evaluate these movies on since I've established that this first film is 2.

You've got some lofty goals to hit (Second Sequence). 3 doesn't come so easily.

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The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

Written and directed by Tom Six.
Starring Deiter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie and Akihiro Kitamura.

Posted by Andrew

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