The Human Centipede

Okay, so there’s a movie called The Human Centipede. It’s a big deal if you like doomed-from-the-start high concept horror films.

Basically, there are these two American girls in Germany. They drive to a club and neither of them knows what the hell’s up and suddenly their car breaks down and they’re lost in a German forest. It rains, they get pissed at one another, and then they go to the only house they can find. It happens to be the residence of a disturbed surgeon who walks like Jason and insists on serving glasses of water with roofies in them to all of his guests.

To skip ahead, the doctor shows them a diagram of what he’s going to do to the two of them and a loud Japanese guy that he found somewhere. He’s going to sew them anus-to-mouth (I’ll leave out the more intricate details of his plan) and then train them to, I don’t know, walk around or something.

Oh and does he ever!

The funny thing is that the movie is not only riddled with plot holes (who figured?), but the most well-planned part of the movie is when the surgeon is explaining how he will connect the three of them. After doing a bit of Wikipedia research, I found that the surgery’s intricacies were probably the result of the director having consulted an actual surgeon – who was at first embarrassed to be involved and later became so interested that he threw all caution to the wind. Thank goodness that he did.

Once the rather infamous surgery is over, there’s still about 40 minutes of movie to sit through. Those 40 minutes quickly feel like too long as the police show up, do some stupid stuff and urge the surgeon to do some stupid stuff, and then they leave and come back a little later. The way the camera cuts from scenes in the middle of a struggle only to come back later and show you how somebody got out of the struggle is especially annoying. In some instances there was literally no escape for someone, and yet all it took was for the pressure of the camera to go elsewhere for them to emerge victorious.

This movie inevitably has garnered a lot of attention from a lot of people, my roommates and I chief amongst them. What really gets me, however, is that this movie managed to do marginally well with critics. It even snagged some Best Film awards from various film festivals (although most of those were Horror Film Festivals and as such they generally have a thin line to cross between stupid and good).

I’ll say it again: this surgeon attached three people anus-to-mouth and then tried to train them to walk. That is the movie. The Best Film movie.

Don’t get me wrong, I love horror movies. Watching the Evil Dead trilogy in middle school was an eye-opener for me. I even love a fair amount of stupid movies – as long as they know they’re being stupid. I think not very far below the surface, Tom Six (the director of Human Centipede) knew it was stupid, but he never let the actors show it, and that’s the difference.

But still. Best Film. No, it didn’t get an Oscar or anything, but they can still say they got a Best Film award from somewhere, and considering that you could drive whole cruise ships through the plot holes near the end of the thankfully short film (barely 90 minutes), that alone is too much of an accolade.

However! I write things, and some of the things that I would one day like to say that I write for a living are movie scripts. As such, I feel quite good after watching something like a human centipede waddle around moaning, knowing that people liked it. Superb!

So, if all else fails, I can reduce my writing to the stupidest/foulest concept I can think of (Tom Six originally conceived of the idea as a punishment for child molesters – that’s apparently when you know you have a good concept for a movie) and then execute it with all seriousness and make sure that there’s not even a hint of a conclusive ending. Oh, and why should there be? He’s already filming a sequel, after all!

Tune in again soon for further ruminations about modern horror movies. For some reason it’s a topic I think about a lot.

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~ by Jon C. Forisha on August 8, 2010.

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