It’s fair to say that I found The Human Centipede (First Sequence) disappointing and boring as a feature film. For me the trailer turned out to actually be better, which suggested that it might’ve been more effective as a short film. With this in mind I approached The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) with a fair amount of trepidation. After all, its rare that a sequel will be better than its predecessor and if the first film failed to hit the mark then the sequel will have a greater uphill struggle (with the odd exception). Not only that but as anyone who has seen the first film will know, Dr Heiter (Dieter Laser) was killed, so the chances of somebody else nurturing the same twisted ideas would be slim to none at best. So I sat down and prepared myself for what The Human Centipede II had in store for me while also wondering how Writer/Director Tom Six would work around this potential gaping plot-hole.
The first difference you notice with this film is that it is black and white. Six claims that he made this decision while editing the film as it made it scarier. However, as anyone who knows anything about film and censorship will tell you, there’s a limit to how much red blood the censors will allow. Taking this into account and knowing how much of a problem there was getting a BBFC rating for this, I got the distinct impression that the lack of colour was more of a compromise on Six’s part, along with the two minutes and thirty seven seconds that were cut from the film’s duration. The plot itself is rather simple and straightforward; the main character is called Martin (possibly after the George A. Romero character in the film of the same name?) who is a rather pathetic creature. He is a short, fat, bug-eyed individual with mental deficiencies. Martin is extremely disturbed as a result of sexual abuse at the hands of his father and continuing mental abuse from his deranged, domineering mother. It’s clear that Six expects us to feel sympathy for this man, despite his obvious role as the villain of the piece.
When we first meet Martin, he’s working as a security attendant at an underground car-park and watching a copy of The Human Centipede on his laptop (that’s the plot-hole filled). It very soon becomes apparent that he is obsessed with the film and sexually fetishises the idea of a human centipede. This, along with his inability to separate fact from fiction, fantasy from reality, can and does lead to a nasty chain of events which culminates in Martin realizing his fantasy and creating a twelve-person human centipede.
With the initial setup of this film having the first Human Centipede existing as a film within it, I wanted to give it a chance as it appeared that Six might’ve had something to say about the theory touted by the moral brigade, that violent films have a corrupting influence on peoples’ minds. However, all notions of this idea soon vanish as you realize the original film is there as no more than a mere plot-device. This is a shame as the film starts out fairly well albeit as a generic serial-killer type movie, with Martin displaying the somewhat clichéd characteristics that defined the likes of classic genre villains such as Norman Bates, Leatherface or Michael Myers. Laurence R. Harvey plays the almost silent role of Martin competently and with a suitable brooding, maniacal menace and every location is uncomfortably grimy and foreboding. Unfortunately that’s as good as it gets, as the whole thing soon descends into disgusting orgy of screams, gore and human faeces.
It’s clear that Tom Six’s idea of horror is to be as shocking as possible rather than actually scary. While I’m aware that the images on the screen were designed to cause revulsion, this particular viewer has a strong stomach so they left me rather cold, bored and hoping that Six has a short, unsuccessful career. To say that The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is a waste of time would be an understatement. The only people that would enjoy it are Ghouls and Gore-hounds, most of whom arguably aren’t real film fans and don’t appreciate proper storytelling. The fact that Six has a third and (thankfully) final installment in the pipeline for 2013 only serves to further crush my faith in the future of horror cinema.