Fantastic Fest ’11: Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence – Review


Everything you’ve been promised and more

Yes, Human Centipede II: Full Sequence ratchets up the violence and gore in ways that the original only hinted at. Yes, the result is a nauseatingly twisted display of the most vile, putrid imagery a lone individual can come up with. Yes, the movie is everything you’ve been promised and even more. It’s a beautifully photographed black-and-white art film that proves that humans still have new territories of bad taste to explore and colonize.

But here’s something you may not have been expecting. The film, about a man who sews the asses of kidnapped victims to the mouths of other bloodied up SOBs, has a hint of intelligence hiding behind its beady little eyes. Smeared with blood and poo as it may be, this intelligence exposes a film that has something to say. The problem, unfortunately, is that director Tom Six is like a child — attempting to make a profound statement but unable to get it out eloquently or even in anything not resembling a whimper or a groan most of the time. The second half of the film is almost completely devoid of dialogue — instead consisting of whimpers, screams and a stilted giggle of two (some of those giggles coming from the audience).

Who would have guessed? Human Centipede II is a treatise about horror fandom as delivered by a giggling, poop-infatuated toddler.

The film picks up directly from where the last movie left off — up to and including the moment where the credits begin to roll. As the camera pans out, audience see that they are watching the film Human Centipede played from a computer monitor in the dingy office of a parking lot attendant. Viewing the film is Martin, a squat, morbidly obese creep who has an unhealthy obsession with the first film. Martin, as played by Laurence Harvey, is slightly mentally retarded, the victim of childhood abuse and completely obsessed with the idea of creating his own human centipede. He carries around a scrapbook of clippings about the film and doodles. He masturbates with sandpaper to the film. In other words, he is exactly the type of Human Centipede fan the first film’s detractors were kept up at night worrying about.

Much like Dieter Laser stole the original movie in his role of unstable scientist Dr. Josef Heiter, Harvey’s portrayal as Martin is utterly fascinating. One hopes the role is a true performance and not just an extension of Harvey’s own personality because Martin is a revolting character. When he’s not kidnapping unwilling participants for his planned twelve-person human centipede, he indulges in a variety of perverse sexual acts — most of them involving some form of self-mutilation. Martin has no dialogue — instead emoting through his sad sack, bulging eyes and a series of squeaks, whimpers, asthmatic breathing and the orgasmic joy that comes with seeing his dream realized.

That’s right, there is a human centipede in this film and for all those of you who complained that the first film held back too much in showing what goes into preparing a human centipede, you finally have your film you sick fuck, you.

In setting up the character of Martin, Tom Six toys with his film having a message — exploring the relationship between horror films and the fandom that erupts around them. Martin is a gross cartoon of a character but he represents something larger — the dark recesses of horror fandom that politicians and mothers worry about. Martin is the kind of fan who doesn’t understand the difference between fiction and reality. He is the kind that gets his sexual jollies from watching sick shit like Hostel and Saw on repeat. Martin is the dark side to every horror convention and Six clumsily explores this idea during the first half of the film — tackling it with the subtleness of a “Twilight” novel.

It is in the second half of the film, though, that Six looses any interest in seeing his message through — instead switching gears and deciding to concentrate on catering to the every whim of the fans he had just spent the previous half of the movie lambasting for their tastes. Gore, poop and staples are used as if there was a surplus sale at the local Eli Roth sponsored Shop ‘N Save. If it wasn’t apparent enough that Six was just throwing in as much sick shit as possible in order to shock audiences, there is a moment in the film that might betray a jealousy Six had of A Serbian Film and its attempt to usurp some his thunder. Going completely beyond where he needed to, Six decides to one-up that notorious film. Yep, that’s right. There is a newborn in Human Centipede II and I’ll just leave it at that.

Human Centipede 2 is a movie that is much more concerned about reveling in the unnecessary excess than it is in seeing its message through to the end. The movie is an interesting example of film watching as an experience but a mixed bag when it comes to actually been a film. It is worth watching if you are even remotely curious about the hype but please, for the love of God, bring a barf bag.

Director: Tom Six
Notable Cast: Laurence Harvey and Ashlyn Yennie
Writer: Tom Six

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