Have you ever wondered what the outcome of surgically attaching three people together would be? Me neither. But writer/director Tom Six certainly has, and even took the time to share his twisted vision with us. Unfortunately, the idea is more impressive (for want of a more fitting word) than the outcome.
The inital setup is simple: two American girls get ‘geographically challenged’ on a road trip in Germany during the middle of the night. So they do the only sane thing: run barefoot through the woods, hoping to find a house or any other life form apart from trees. Eventually, they reach an isolated cottage, owned by a retired surgeon who’s speciality was separating Siamese twins. But apparently, he got bored of separating, and started to join things together. I assume it started with model aeroplanes, but that quickly advanced to Rottweilers and finally humans. The two Americans are the final pieces of his jigsaw, as they become joined with a japanese man who’s already being held at the house to form a human centipede.
In the movie, the mouths are attached to the top of the ass; basically, without going into too graphic a detail, they are linked by their gastric systems. So the leader (japanese guy) eats food, whereas the two Americans eat the remains. The thought of it is disgusting, but surprisingly actually seeing it isn’t. Simply because you don’t see it. It’s only vaguely implied.
And that’s where the main problem lies with The Human Centipede. It cannot decide whether it wants to show you the full gory details of events, or be suggestive and leave it up to your imagination. So it frequently flits between the two: at one point an ear is bitten off, and its fully shown, whereas another time a needle is inserted into skin, but cuts away to the face before any insertion can be seen.
The gore level seems frustratingly restricted, especially for a premise that boasts attaching people together. It would have benefited greatly from highlighting the actual procedure more, rather than just cut to the three people waking up, attached and bandaged. The script is hardly worth mentioning, because it was never going to include a variety of emotional monologues, delving into the surgeons mind and uncovering the depths of his depravity. Credit must go Dieter Laser, not just for the incredible name, but for the his portrayal of a crazed surgeon. He makes it believable that there is a purpose to his experiments, and is by far the stand out aspect of what is otherwise a dull movie.
To newcomers of “shock horror”, this is a disturbing and sickening movie. But to hardcore fans of gore, compared to what they’ve seen already, The Human Centipede doesn’t have a leg to stand on.