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rochefort [Film Festival 09.23.11] movie review horror

Year: 2011
Directors: Tom Six
Writers: Tom Six
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: rochefort
Rating: 5 out of 10

So here's a scenario: You're visiting an insane asylum and the doctor shows you a particular patient who suffers from all sorts of bizarre maladies - most of them concerning painful and disturbing methods of fusing human bodies together. The patient has supposedly been making great progress through art therapy, in particular painting. Even more specifically: Paintings that the patient creates with his own fecal matter. Regardless of whether or not said therapy is genuinely effective, do you want to buy one of these paintings? How you answer this question could help determine whether or not Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence is for you.

I suppose the above makes it clear that I'm coming to the conclusion that "Human Centipede" director Tom Six may in fact be insane. Not in a mustache-twirling, devil-worshipping kinda way mind you, but rather in a more subdued and possibly socially condonable manner. In person, Six is all smiles, clad in a white suit and his trademark floppy cowboy hat and when he describes the vulgarities on display in the two films in his "Human Centipede" series he has the enthusiasm of a brilliant young pervert who has just won his school's science fair by making a three-headed dog.

The original film was an attention-grabbing variation on the Mad Scientist trope, and featured a loony who fuses three people together, butt to mouth, and the zaniness that followed. Despite the ick factor, "Centipede" the first had moments of genuinely effective black humor and a great performance from Dieter Laser. In the follow-up, the director has chosen to depict what might happen if some other loony took the events of the first movie way too seriously, and if "Full Sequence" is any indication, Six himself has the soul of a madman whose condition is worsening.

But, of course, you'll have to judge for yourself. Six's preoccupation with the "100% medically accurate" act of conjoining human beings has resulted in two films that most definitely stand out in the modern horror field, and this latest instalment (a third and final film is in the works) is occasionally clever and inventive, and isn't a sequel in the traditional sense. In it, mentally-challenged Martin is a parking garage security guard who is obsessed with the first film. He watches it daily, has a scrapbook full of production stills mixed with his own scribblings, and is inspired to emulate the film by making his own, "real-life" version, but this time with not three but twelve people. As sequels go, it's a pretty meta setup. Then again, so was the sequel to "Blair Witch." But Six and company take the proceedings in a vastly different direction.

Martin sets about collecting the subjects for his gruesome experiment, cornering them and shooting them in the leg, then whacking them over the head with a crowbar. He rents out a dingy warehouse space and hides his victims here, and soon he has enough specimens to assemble his masterpiece, a twelve person-long monstrosity latched together with some decidedly unsanitary and extremely bloody methods.

Story-wise, that's all you're getting. The entire second half of the film is pretty much an endurance test as Martin uses a number of d.i.y. methods and rusty tools to bring his duct-taped, writhing, whimpering victims together. There's certainly a great deal of technical cleverness on display, particularly the intricate sound design and top-notch gore effects. The black and white photography is quite good, and Laurence R. Harvey fully commits to the often brutally demanding role of Martin. But films that stand out as distinctly as this one also risk being judged more harshly in comparison to the films that inspired them, and the shadows of "Eraserhead" and "Salo: 120 Days of Sodom" loom very large here.

Six, despite a clearly game cast and crew, never surpasses either of those films in terms of substance or even shock effect. So, while there's no shortage of water-cooler moments for geeks who want to validate their ability to sit through anything without vomiting, in the end it comes down to whether or not you want to sit through another person's therapy. And maybe even whether or not you need some yourself. Now that I've seen "Centipede 2", I know I could sure use some.

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Haematobic (11 years ago) Reply

Well I kinda imagined it'd get this kind of rating... we all knew right off the bat what we would expect, story-wise...

Anyway, how does it stack up against "A Serbian Film", is it worse or not?


(11 years ago) Reply

A Serbian Film was incredible, and this will be, too

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