The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009)

The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009)

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Come on, good boy! And girl. And other girl.
Come on, good boy! And girl. And other girl.

Twitter Plot Summary: Dr Heiter wants to create a human centipede, so naturally he kidnaps a couple of American tourists and centipedes them.

Genre: Horror

Director: Tom Six

Key Cast: Dieter Laser, Ashley Williams, Ashylynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura.

Five Point Summary:

1. Dieter Laser is creepy yet awesome.
2. Tick off those horror movie cliches, most of them are here.
3. He spends so long talking about how he’s going to turn them into a human centipede. Get on with already!
4.  How old are those cops? Budget cuts in Germany are hitting hard…
5. If you had to be any part of a human centipede, A is the one you want to be. Not B or C.

Slightly spoilerific reviewage lies ahead, so go and watch the movie before coming back.

All done? Enjoy it? Then let’s continue.

This movie quite clearly has a reputation preceding it. Most people were outraged at the concept behind the movie, of a mad scientist who stitches three people together into a “human centipede”, for reasons that are not fully disclosed within the movie. In fairness you’re probably still horrified by either the thought of the movie in general, or the concept at its core, so his reasons for being such a mad evil genius can be nicely glossed over.

I originally watched the movie out of morbid curiosity (and have since done the same with Human Centipede 2), expecting something terribly unpleasant and liable to give me a few nightmares, or at the very least some surreal blending of genres within a dream, like a Human Centipede fighting a Crab Person (craaab people…). To be honest, it wasn’t quite as violent or disturbing as I was expecting. Okay, so there’s a rather disturbing concept at its core, but in all other respects this is a typical horror movie.

That was a rough night, I hope I didn't... hang on, how did I get here?!
That was a rough night, I hope I didn’t… hang on, how did I get here?!

It has a normal slow-build, introducing us to two American tourists in Germany. They’re vaguely unlikeable, somewhat unpleasant to each other and generally acting, no pun intended, like real people who have spent a little too much time together on an overseas holiday. Typical tourists – they don’t even speak the local lingo. And German is such a gloriously guttural language to speak. Their car gets a puncture (implied that Dr Heiter, our obligatory mad scientist has shot it with his lovely rifle), and they struggle through the woods looking for help, rather than sit in the car and wait for help to come to them. They’re not even dressed for the bad weather. Tourists!

I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Dieter Laser as Dr Heiter. The last time I’d seen him in anything was waaaaay back in time when Lexx was still on the air playing Mantrid, the villain of Series 2 (and a brief appearance in Series 3). A couple of things I learnt about him from watching this movie:

  • He’s a very tall man.
  • He looks incredibly cool in shades.
  • He looks incredibly cool in shades and carrying a gun.

There’s a very creepy sequence where Dr Heiter has all of his victims tied up in his basement. He waits for them to wake up and explains, in grisly detail, the full procedure for turning them into a human centipede. This scene no doubt came about through director Tom Six ensuring the procedure was medically accurate before making the movie. So, if you’ve ever had a desire to link a few friends together and make them eat  each other’s faecal matter then watch this scene and have a good time chopping bits off people…

After a fair amount of  subtle violence the movie ends in a slightly unexpected way, but at the same time reaches a typical movie climax with a showdown between Dr Heiter and a couple of plain clothes police officers. The two cops are almost on the same level as Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon – far, far too old.

One thing I really liked was that the violence and the horror of the story wasn’t all “in your face” and had a nice build-up to the body horror that was to follow, but it soon lapsed into traditional horror fare by the final third. This feels like a slight mis-step after the build-up, but never fear horror fans – Tom Six resolved this in the second Human Centipede movie. More on that in a later review.

As for the question over which part of the human centipede is best, my honest answer is none of them. But if you had no choice, then you’ll be better off being A, not B or C. You definitely don’t want to be B. After watching this film you’ll understand why.

Favourite scene: Dr Heiter explains, in meticulous detail, how to make your own human centipede.

Quote: “Do you already regret your little escape? In fact, I’m thankful for it, because now… I know definitely you are the middle piece!”

Silly Moment: When Katsuro has to make toilet.

Score: 3/5

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