"Human Centipede" outshocks all the "Saws" and "Hostels"
The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2010)
92 min., not rated (but equivalent to NC-17).
The Dutch sure know how to whip up a repulsively inspired high concept for gross-out horror. Case in point: auspicious writer-director Tom Six's surgical-horror effort "The Human Centipede (First Sequence)," which is about exactly what it sounds, is a squirmy kick. The setup is like a standard slasher picture, and the rest is anything but. Clueless, whiny American party girls Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie), wearing too much mascara and touring through Europe, get a flat tire on a lonely stretch of road in the German woods. On foot in the soaking rain, they get lost but soon refuge at the only house for miles. It's a sterile, tastefully chic home, not the redneck cannibal kind, and the resident is Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser), a renowned surgeon and secret psychopath who drugs the women and straps them to beds in his basement laboratory. He's known for his work of separating conjoined twins, but now he has the perverse fantasy of creating his very own “human centipede.” Yeah, that's right, a chain of humans surgically conjoined, ass to mouth, to create one digestive tract. Only in the movies, people.
The film is by no means unblemished. A couple of Horror 101 conventions must be checked off so there can be a film, and it takes a while to officially get on the side of the two female characters. On the other hand, never have actors been more pitied or fearless, going through the uncomfortable wringer on their hands and knees in the foulest of positions. Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie sure can convey an intensely emotional state with all the crying and screaming they're asked to do, too, but it's Dieter Laser's sinister, sadistically loony performance as the God-playing mad scientist that is the drawing card. His Dr. Heiter will undoubtedly go down as one of the most chillingly intimidating movie villains since Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter. Carving a spot for itself at the top of "can-you-top-this" films for only the strongest of stomachs, "The Human Centipede (First Sequence)" is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. By the title alone, it will inspire curiosity and be talked about for a while, but this is not for wimps. And, since the film's subtitle is "(First Sequence)," it's not hard to guess that Tom Six already has a second sequence in the works, our ballsy filmmaker already claiming it will make this first part look like "My Little Pony." You've been warned, so chalk it up to a test of your bravery.