Bob Balaban's dark comic horror about a young boy suspecting his suburban parents to be cannibals
On Film4: 7 Dec 12:40AM
A strange German doctor lives his dream - his dream being to stitch three unfortunate captives together, into a so-called 'human centipede'. Warning: it's not a family-friendly concept
When it comes to horror movies, most of us can identify at least one truly traumatic experience we'll never quite recover from (mine'd be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). The good news is The Human Centipede isn't going to be one of them. A show-stopping trailer, with the added bonus of alleged 100% medical accuracy, it supposedly started as a joke - what would be an appropriate punishment for convicted paedophiles? Why, sewing their mouths to somebody's bum.
It all starts conventionally enough. American girls embark on hedonistic night out - check. Car breaks down in middle of nowhere - check. They seek shelter from the rain in a madman's house - check. The isolated house has a cellar - check. If you've seen the trailer or read the title, you'll watch with the sinking feeling that you're about to witness a particularly degrading pornographic act, which of course you are.
A good horror film is in the anticipation and in The Human Centipede that's over pretty early because you never suspend disbelief: these girls would know enough not to enter the very strange man's house, nor to accept his Rohypnol drink. Quite why the evil doctor - Mr Bean as a Nazi scientist - so loves making centipedes remains a mystery, although a bizarre highlight comes when he gives his victims a hand-drawn presentation on a projector about it.
It's an undeniably revolting concept, but most of the actual gore would be matched by your average pre-watershed medical shock doc. A decent soundtrack (there's very little music) could have made more of the few shocks.
The Human Centipede's strength is its trailer. What's a missed opportunity for the 'torture porn' crowd is for the rest of us just stupid and nasty.
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