The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (V)

American tourists Lindsey (Ashley Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie), find themselves stranded in a remote part of Germany after getting a flat tyre on the way to a party. Heading off into the woods they come across the luxury home-cum-hospital of Dr Heiter (Dieter Laser). An internationally respected leader in the field of siamese/conjoined twin surgery, Dr Heiter’s vision is to reverse the process, creating the world’s first human centipede. Realising fate has handed him his latest ‘segments,’ Heiter drugs the girls and keeps them prisoner in his basement hospital. Finding and kidnapping a Japanese male tourist, Dr Heiter completes his trifecta of terror and begins work on his human centipede. Heiter’s plan is simple (!) – a tissue match, followed by the severing of the tendons in the kneecap forcing his victims to exist on all fours, then surgically attach them mouth to anus via the removal of teeth and the addition of buttock to face skin grafts, finally forming his human centipede chain.

The Human Centipede is a film whose title conjures up all kinds of imagery – mostly of the weird and disgusting variety – and unlike many OTT-monikered films, it’s a sick and twisted, yet compellingly original, idea that tries hard to deliver on it’s promise. The film is a strange beast (literally), despite the concept’s gross out potential, director Tom Six plays the film more for sadistic laughs than vomit-inducing gore and what could have been a truly stomach churning experience seems somewhat underwhelming when all’s said and done. That’s not to say the film doesn’t push the envelope, director Tom Six delights in dwelling on the degradation and humiliation of Dr Dieter’s victims and the consequences of sewing people mouth-to-anus is disgustingly realised in one particular scene.

Director Tom Six has brought together an international cast for The Human Centipede and it’s the acting rather than the concept which held my attention. Akihiro Kitamura, as Dr Heiter’s third victim and the ëhead’ of the centipede is a true highlight of the film and his performance is a delight to watch, his interaction with Dieter Laser is compelling and his performance runs the full gamut – from anger to hatred to determination, and the scene where Kitamura finally realises the situation is futile really tugs at the heart strings. Here’s hoping he’s able to bring the same range to Heroes when he appears in that series’ fourth season.

Takashi Miike and David Cronenberg are said to be two of the pioneers of body-horror, and after watching The Human Centipede [First Sequence] you can now add Dutch avant-garde artist Tom Six to that list. Here’s looking forward to his proposed 12-person sequel, The Human Centipede [Full Sequence].

Check out and for full coverage of FrightFest 2009.

Official Score