Last year, (somehow), we decided that it would be an interesting social experiment to watch The Human Centipede after the Super Bowl.
Obviously, we had to watch the second one this year.
I am a person who likes to be prepared before I get metaphorically punched in the face with bad art house torture porn, so I came to the party prepared with the knowledge that the HC2 was not only more violent and even more graphic, it was also basically made as a big “fuck you” to the critics of the first film.
I really enjoy that mentality. “You criticize my film? Here’s the SAME MOVIE BUT 1000 TIMES WORSE.”. I respect that. It’s ballsy, hilarious, and completely explains most of what happens.
So. It was awful to sit through. I actually discovered something about myself– I can’t sit when watching graphic violence. I have to stand. I think it’s something with my fight-or-flight reaction. I’m mentally preparing to get the fuck out of there in case some shit goes down.
We sat through the entire movie (I stood) and when it ended, there was a tangible combination of guilt, disgust and absolute triumph and not having thrown up. I think we all needed a shower as well.
I came home and thought about what I’d just seen (repeatedly, because SOME THINGS YOU CAN’T UNSEE) and I realized– for all of its faults, failings,and OH FUCK moments, on some level, this movie is absolutely genius.
Yes, the plot is ridiculous: Super-Creepy Creepmaster McCreepypants is obsessed with The Human Centipede and decides to try and create the original doctor’s “master plan” of connecting 12 individuals into one ass-to-mouth masterpiece. Spoiler: he does.
The tongue-in-cheek (or is it butt-to-cheek SEE WHAT I DID THERE) plot is so self-referential and masturbatory that I accepted it, without question, because why the hell would anyone NOT become completely obsessed with the Human Centipede and decide to make his own using kitchen tools and a staple gun?
That’s it. That’s the whole plot. There’s not really any sort of b-story where Chandler can’t get to the drycleaners on time and so Joey and Rachel are going to be late to dinner or anything, it’s just….some pasty fat guy doing terrible, terrible things to much more attractive people.
But let’s start there. First off, the movie’s protagonist(?), Martin, is a psychotic, anti-social, maybe retarded, pasty, sweaty, beady-eyed, balding creep-o with weird creepy fingers. Literally everything about him is unsettling and slightly off (including his underwear– BA BOW!), but there is still (and I still haven’t figured out if this is just fucking brilliant acting or me making this movie way deeper than it needs to be), something about his portrayal of the character that makes you feel bad for the guy. He’s cutting apart buttholes and part of you still wants him to succeed because you’re given just enough of his backstory to want to give him a hug (and some serious fucking therapy). And then you start wondering when it was, exactly, that he snapped and start wondering about the guy who works at the gas station across the street.
That’s the brilliance of it. The natural pity we feel gets thrown the fuck back in our face less than 20 seconds into the film,but you spend the entire movie thinking “is he actually going to do it/get away with it/make it out?”
It’s the Hannibal Lector Technique: The less you know, the more you want to understand.
Another particularly brilliant choice was the complete lack of dialog from Martin. Sure, he cries, laughs, screams in frustration, does a couple of awkward dance moves and kills the fuck out of like 15 people, but he NEVER SAYS A GODDAMN WORD. He. Just. Stares.
So Martin decides to make a human centipede and does it. That’s basically the rest of the film.
Many critics were aghast at the level of extreme, graphic violence depicted in the film. I’m not going to lie, it is absolutely awful to sit through. Just about every awful thing that you could imagine happens in this film and sometimes twice because FUCK YOU is why.
Jake, who can sit through the most violent of horror films without batting an eye and is directing goddamn Titus Andronicus, nearly puked on the sofa a couple of times, and I spent many moments buried in his sweatshirt so I didn’t have to watch.
I’m not going to turn this into a soapbox debate of what connotates a good or a bad movie, but I will say this.
How many movies have you seen where you watch it, figure out the plot 20 minutes in, wait for the inevitable romantic ending/robot fight ending, shrug, and forget that you saw it three days later? I’ve seen tons of movies with Jake, and we still occasionally have that moment of “Did we see that in the theater? I think we did. I can’t remember”.
I’m not saying that The Human Centipede 2 is going to share a box set with Citizen Cane and Gone With the Wind any time soon, that would be too awesome to ever actually happen.
What I will argue is that where the Human Centipede 2 comes through is that it drags the audience kicking and screaming in to a realm of absolute, undeniable visceral response.Yes, the movie is disgusting. Yes, it’s spectacularly violent, bloody, rapey and questionable for small children and born-again Christians to watch, but I’ve never sat through a movie that made me actually sweat before.
I am notorious for my “this is just a stupid movie” response. I was forced to watch Passion of the Christ in high school because “to understand the power of Easter, we have to understand what Our Savior truly went through”, and I sat there the entire time going, “Oh, hey, that’s the hot guy from The Count Of Monte Cristo”. It is difficult, if not impossible, for me to suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy a film, and the thought of “there’s obviously a blood pack up his sleeve” occurred to me during this film exactly 0 times.
Yes, there were times when the “LET’S SEE HOW RIDICULOUSLY VIOLENT WE CAN BE BECAUSE FUCK YOU, AUDIENCE” got a little extreme. [Put your own poop joke here], and yes, I am still looking into ways of bleaching my corneas,
But I liked it.
Mom will be so proud.
Now, I will say the ending (which I looked up on Wikipedia afterwards and they said the same thing so I know I’m right), is purposefully ambiguous. There is nothing more infuriating than an ambiguous ending. I won’t spoil it in case any of you sick fucks reading want to see it, but there are two options on how to interpret the ending.
Wait, I’m going to, right now. Here I go.
Don’t read this part if you want to be suprized.
Darth Vader is Luke’s father.
Why are you still reading, I thought you wanted to be suprized.
The movie ends with Martin cleaned up in his work uniform and sitting back at his computer, watching the end credits of The Human Centipede. This implies ones of two options: Option A: Since before the whole “make a centipede” goes down, we see him sitting in his work uniform starting the film, it can be interpreted as “He just imagined the whole thing”. Option B: He got away, cleaned himself up and is back to the drawing board on how to make it possible.
I’m going to rant here and say that I fucking HATE “It was all a dream” endings. They are the worst cop-out cheap-o bad-writing stupid endings ever and completely invalidate everything you just say through.
Earlier today, I had the realization that in the end, in this rare case, it doesn’t matter. Why?
If the movie ends with Option A, then holy shit, this guy is seriously, seriously fucked up and he is ON THE STREETS and WANTS TO ATTACH YOUR MOUTH TO A BUTT. Also, I JUST WATCHED THIS WHOLE @%”*($&#%* MOVIE FOR NOTHING AND I WANT TO THROW UP.
If the movie ends with option B, the see above.
Well played, Human Centipede.