May 2011 Archives

Gross Error

human-centipede-poster.jpgHow is The Human Centipede (First Sequence) not among the most transgressive and repulsive movies ever made?

For those not familiar with the premise of writer/director Tom Six’s feature, there’s no reason to be coy about it. The Internet Movie Database plot summary of The Human Centipede reads:

“A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to ‘reassemble’ them into a new ‘pet’ — a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others’ rectums.”

That sounds more random than it really is, and Roger Ebert’s no-star-rating review (“It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don’t shine”) provides a helpful diagram and is clearer on the concept:

“Heiter plans to surgically join his victims by sewing together their mouths and anuses, all in a row, so the food goes in at the front and comes out at the rear.”

Disgusting, right? Based on any description, Six’s film should belong to the torture-porn genre. Yet while the movie itself aspires to torture porn, it miraculously never gets there. The barest description of the story — and also the mad Dr. Heiter’s explanation of his plans to his three victims, and the movie poster — are far more unsettling than the results of the complicated surgeries.