Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) Reviewed By The DarkSider

THE PLOT: Sometimes I wonder if it's a blessing or a curse, for directors, that devoted horror fans are hard to shock. Our generation has sure sat through a lot of oddities in our days. Cannibals eating penises, zombies battling sharks, lawnmowers chopping down zombies...the list goes on. With that said, our lot proves to be a rabid bunch willing to take on the next load of gore with a "bring it on" attitude.

So when a director takes on a topic that no one has explored in the past, I have to stand in amazement they actually found something that has seldom been covered in the horror genre. Hence the film I'm about to take on now. Before I begin, please note the term "ATM" in this review does not refer to a machine that supplies you money. I have all faith that my fan base will have it figured out by reviews end.

We start our story of dirty mouths by hanging out with the lead antagonist Dr. Heiter. Heiter gazes at some pictures of splendid memories from days past. This consists mainly of his genetically altered "three dog" which we find out in the first act has ceased to be. Ah, isn't gazing at photos of happier times refreshing? Heiter nabs himself a trucker presumably and calls it a day for now.

The film switches over the the rather attractive Lindsay and Jenny. Both of who prove beyond a doubt that they could have been a wet dream for Charles Darwin. Dressed up for a big night on the town, the ladies head out and somehow get lost in the German landscape. Their car gets a flat, they encounter a pervert on the road and yet decide that's its a good idea to do a bit of forest hiking in high heels. It starts to rain heavily so they end up stopping by the first house they stumble upon.

As luck would have it, the house belongs to Dr. Heiter. After confirming that they are alone and on vacation (Jesus H what idiots) they consume a roofie cocktail courtesy of the good doctor. He dopes up the gals rather quickly and transports them to his evil laboratory down below. Mu hahahaha! The next day after a hearty breakfast, the doctor takes up his work in the basement. The truck driver he had abducted earlier is a no go tissue wise so he off's him. He immediately replaces him with an Asian young man named Katsuro. I found Katsuro to be unintentionally hilarious throughout the film. I think that's mainly because I find people yelling in Japanese tear inducing funny. That and he scores the money shot of the film, to be covered later.

"Awwww honey look! Dr. Heiter is starting
a conga line!"

Dr. Heiter proceeds to tell his hostages what his plans are in great description. You see each of them have a port "A" and a port "B". Katsuro's port "B" will be attached to Lindsay's port "A". Lindsay's port "B" will be attached to Jenny's port "A". In other words, Katsuro's butt hole is attached to Lindsay's mouth and Jenny gets the sh!t that rolls down hill. Get it? Good. Add in that the doctor plans making their legs useless to stand on and you have...ta-da! The human centipede. Anyhow Lindsay makes a break for it but all her efforts lands her the position of "middle".

Dr. Heiter gets to work immediately on his creation. After a brief recovery time, the three hostages awake to find out the operation (sadly for them) is a success. Dr. Heiter revels in this and the three folks aren't very thrilled with the result. Katsuro immediately gives the doctor a piece of his mind while the girls remain somewhat quiet because...well...you know.

Heiter gets right to work "training" his creation which he treats basically like a dog. He makes Katsuro carry a paper to him and places his food on the ground. Katsuro takes a chunk out of the doctor's leg which earns him a beat down. The next day, Heiter takes his creation out for a stroll in the yard. It is there we find out how the middle man (or in this case woman) gets their food and so on. Katsuro apologizes and quickly serves... um..."lunch" for Linsday. All the while Heiter jumps around excitingly tell Katsuro to "feed her". For me, this scene alone made the movie to be honest.

After a few more shenanigans with his creation, Dr. Heiter does an examination. Turns out Jenny is in a rather bad state physically. I guess there are little nutrients in the third cycle of sh!t. During the examination the cops arrive to question Heiter. The doctor talks to the two officers who question him about the missing persons. Things get a bit heated with the doctor and the officers. However, Heiter regains his cool and realizes he could have another two additions to his creation. The officers however put two and two together (at least some folks are smart in this film) and head out to get a search warrant.

Dr. Heiter heads back to the lab to find his creation gone. However, Katsuro surfaces and sticks a scalpel into the doctor a few times. The creation make a run...er...crawl for it with the doctor in tow. Eventually after leaving a bloody trail, they make it to the doctor's bedroom. Katsuro almost breaks the window but ends up failing by the time the doctor arrives. Katsuro picks up a shard of glass and slices his own throat. The film wraps up with the cops coming back and finding Heiter's creation. Both cops end up dying at Heiter's hand, Heiter gets a bullet in the brain and Lindsay finds herself a monkey in the middle between two corpses. So much for leaving the audience in a feel good state.

In the realm of horror movies, we as the audience get served up the same old sh!t over and over again. Matter of fact looking back, many films have come out in the past 20 years and blend together worse than ingredients in a poorly cooked casserole. Also on a larger scale outside of movies, we as a society hardly get shocked anymore. We see blood all over the TV and sexual content on every newsstand. With all that said, I have absolutely no problem applauding Tom Six for giving us something that horror films used to do back in the day..."shock". And yes, this film is high on the shock value.

The "creation" of Dr. Heiter touches upon a taboo mostly unexplored in horror films. The very thought of it alone is enough to make the strongest of human beings shudder. Seeing the creation take form and exist will make many look away in disgust. However, and this is the underlying brilliance of the film, no matter how repulsive it is one can hardly stop watching. Much like the freak shows of days past, this film throws back the concept of human oddities on parade for the public to view. Plus it delivers all of this with an amazing lack of gore. Granted this endeavor is not free of the red ruby but it doesn't venture as far as I thought it would. Rather, it relies on the theater of the mind and strong performances from the acting staff.

Which brings me to the cast, all of which brilliantly pull off their roles. Even though the girls don't say much, their weeping and physical actions are beyond convincing. It serves as a disturbing backing track to the horrid visuals the film offers. Katsuro proves to be almost like the creation's rebellious leader but does not fail to show his terror of what has happened to him. And of course without a doubt, Dieter Laser shines as the crazed doctor. His presence in the film is one of a perfect psychopath, even when he is saying nothing. They needed just the right actor to pull off this role and Laser had the look/acting chops to do so.

Perhaps when many people are done with the shock and visual disturbances, it is sad they may miss that this is a very well directed/written film. The camera angles are well thought out and add to the terror of the visuals. Along those lines, scenes that could be filled with useless dialog are scrapped in lieu of letting the visuals do the talking. As mentioned above, Laser's presence in the role is enough to put people on edge while watching it. A simple shot of him eating breakfast speaks more to me than everything Tom Cruise has done in his last 3 roles.

Perhaps the sadist in me would have liked to have seen a bit more on the shock scale. For example, have one of the girls rip off the person they are connected to. Also, more defecation scenes would have been welcome. But I think for a first time effort on the idea, Tom Six and crew definitely delivered something special. Even though it was revolving around atrocities to mankind.But then again, isn't that what makes a good horror flick? Me thinks so...

(the A-Holes of the film get their moment)

Dr. Heiter
You can't slight a guy looking for a
a "green" way to save the world
from excess toilet paper use.


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