Finally released in cinemas on August 20th is The Human Centipede, the inaugural entry in what will hopefully come to be known as the ‘Anal Horror’ film genre. If you haven’t already heard of it, this is the gist…
Dr Josef Heiter is the criminally insane surgeon with a demented vision for mankind’s future existence. He wants to remove human beings’ kneecaps so they have to exist on all fours and then surgically graft them mouth-to-anus to form a centipede chain. When two pretty young American tourists stumble into his lair he seizes the opportunity to put his long-gestating plan into action. Kidnapping a third Japanese male, he begins the tissue matching, teeth removal and buttock moulding (buttock moulding!) required to create his triplet creature…
I see, well as dastardly schemes go, it’s certainly ambitious. I’d quite like to see him trying to pitch it as a business proposal on Dragons’ Den. Probably not one for Paphitis, to be honest, but Deborah Meaden might invest. Meaden loves sick shit like that.
The trailer was released on YouTube last April and the internet went batshit crazy for it. Somehow the concept of nubile American tourists having their mouths surgically grafted to each others’ arseholes simply captured the imagination of the general public – it was this year’s Obama.
So, my main thought is, well, if you had to do it – if you had to be part of a human centipede, what position would you want to be in? It’s all about who’s in front of you I suppose. Worse case scenario would be Pavarotti, but luckily he’s dead now so probably ineligible. But anyone fat would be pretty rubbish. Imagine getting some massive rugby player who’d been out the night before for 15 pints of lager and lamb madras: nightmare.
A girl would be OK. Girls, as everyone knows, don’t poo. They just discreetly produce little dried lavender petals that then get used to make potpourri (and yes, that is a definite science fact by the way. I have an A-level in Biology so know what I’m talking about right?)
"I’d quite like to see him trying to pitch it as a business proposal on Dragons’ Den. Probably not one for Paphitis, to be honest, but Deborah Meaden might invest. Meaden loves sick shit like that."
Obviously, being at the front of the chain would be the best place to be, but everyone’s going to want that. It’s the equivalent of holding out for the emergency exit seats on a long haul flight; pipedream. Also, there’s quite a lot of responsibility involved in being the centipede head. Sure it has its perks (not having your teeth removed and mouth conjoined to an arsehole is the big one), but on the other hand think of the admin involved. For one thing, I imagine you’d spend much of your time answering other people’s phones to explain that “no, Erica can’t come to the phone right now, her face is stuck up an anus.”
Also, you’ll be eating for quite a few now; tortellini and a jar of Lloyd Grossman isn’t going to cut it anymore. At a minimum, you’ll have to start shopping at Waitrose, but they’ll probably expect you to be splashing out in some Michelin starred swank-palace every night. I’ve actually been having quite a lot of fun imagining a human centipede comprised solely of restaurant critics trying to reach a consensus on the new Tasting Menu at Nobu…
Opinions are fairly positive to begin with but, by the time the Wagyu Beef had made its way to the back, AA Gill is not impressed. (yeah that’s right Gill, you’d be at the back. I see your game, trying to creep up the alphabet with those initials at front of your name. Not going to work Gill! Not going to work! Back of the queue!) “The Head Chef promised me simple ingredients and a return to elementary cooking... alimentary cooking more like!” Gill opines witheringly into the gaping anus of Michael Winner.
Anyway… a couple of weeks ago I got to see a preview. It started off well, the PR people organising the screening laid on some lovely sandwiches beforehand. They also thoughtfully placed a complimentary sick bag out on every chair. And they handed out this:
A handy guide for all the budding gonzo journalists out there who fancy having a go at making a human centipede for themselves.
My favourite bit is this bit!
Surely it would be too obvious to say 'kiss my ass'?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t go into too much detail about the ins and outs of the skin grafts and ‘buttock-moulding surgery’ involved in the process. I tried phoning NHS Direct to see if someone there could talk me through it, but they were precisely NO help.
So what of the film? What of the actual film? Well, I mean, it was terrible, obviously. Of course it was. Absolutely terrible. Terrible script, terrible sound, terribly shot (by a Director of Photography hilariously named ‘Goof De Konning’) and, in particular, terribly acted.
It’s quite rare that you get to see really bad acting anymore. I’ve always taken it for granted that saying something out loud that’s been written down for you and making it sound like an actual person, shouldn’t really be that difficult. They even seem to manage it on Hollyoaks for fuck’s sake.
Well apparently for some people it is. And specifically for Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie, who play the two American victims, it’s a massive challenge. They managed to mangle their way through their dialogue so badly that there was actually a palpable sigh of relief in the cinema when they were duly awarded positions two and three in the Human Centipede. It was disgusting, sure, upsetting and psychologically disturbing. But at least we didn’t have to listen to them speak anymore.
Interestingly, Ashley Williams’ performance dramatically improved from this point in. She has quite a curious acting range to be sure. Relatively straightforward techniques like, say, looking disappointed when her phone runs out of battery prove to be too much of a challenge and yet she manages to pull off an entirely convincing portrayal of having a Japanese man shit in her mouth.
“There’s quite a lot of responsibility involved in being the centipede head. You’d spend much of your time answering other people’s phones: 'no, Erica can’t come to the phone right now, her face is stuck up an anus.'”
I liked that Japanese guy (Akihiro Kitamura) and was glad he was given position #1 in the centipede pecking order. (Is ‘pecking’ the right word here? Maybe ‘reluctant ingesting’ or ‘distraught slurping’ might be more appropriate?) It also means he gets to do all the talking which is great as he has some fantastic lines which seem all the more funny when seen as an English subtitle: “The Japanese possess extraordinary strength when backed into a corner!” was a highlight. I also liked it when he calls Dr Heiter a “European Madman!”
It’s Heiter, the crazed German scientist, who inevitably steals the show though. He’s played by Dieter Laser, famous for his role in… nope, nothing, nothing’s coming up. He does have an amusingly wrinkly little head though, that makes him look like a malevolent tortoise. Almost everything he says is laugh-out-loud hilarious. But then pretty much anything is funny when said in a camp ‘Allo ‘Allo Nazi accent. Especially the phrase; “Rohypnol – the rape drug.”
All this hilarity aside, there’s no escaping the fact that the film is truly truly appalling. However, with the amount of interest and attention it’s been getting it will probably do really well at the box office, paving the way for the inevitable Human Millipede sequel. The main lesson we can draw from this is that human beings are essentially all massive morons. As long as your film has a premise with the sufficient LOL-factor, then it doesn’t matter how good or bad it is, we’ll still queue up like hungry worms to contentedly devour whatever shit you want to feed us. Ooh, that gives me an idea for a movie...
Human Centipede 2 trailer...
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