The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)

It’s not often movies are released that manage to disturb the human consciousness anymore; especially a horror film. In this day and age horror fans have seen everything and are desensitized to the point where the death of an animal rolls off our backs. So it’s pretty surprising to be visiting my favorite movie haunts online to witness numerous comments from horror buffs proclaiming “I’m never watching “Human Centipede!” People are horrified to see what director Tom Six has concocted because good or bad, he has managed to create one of the most evocative, controversial, and utterly disturbing horror films ever made. And it’s one that will spark many debates from movie buffs on its intent. Is it a study of the human psyche, the god complex of surgeons, or just an excuse for human torture for ninety minutes?

“The Human Centipede” explores the fate of three innocent travelers who discover there is a fate truly worse than death can allow as two young women stuck on the side of the road find the house of a lonely doctor whom they ask for help getting home and soon find themselves strapped to gurneys alongside a Japanese traveler who is utterly clueless to what is awaiting him. What is found in the end of the narrative is a basically formless and average horror film, one that can never be sure if it is a mere exploration of the hideousness of science, or just is trying to channel a wonky Asian thriller. Folks who have sat through even the most off the wall Asian films will find “Human Centipede” just more of the same material that they’ve combed through with a movie that is one basic concept of a human centipede caught in between a thriller and basic torture porn.

Six merely elevates the concept of torture porn to an illusion of high art to where what we’re seeing is human torture, but tries to convince us is pure art meant to invoke disgust. I don’t dislike “The Human Centipede” for taking risks, but merely for not being as original with its concept as it could have and should have been. While I feared I was going to be disgusted and disturbed, most times I was merely wondering when he’d disgust and disturb me and when the ultimate transformation occurs, it’s merely a series of repetitive scenes and masturbatory artistic lensing of human suffering that accomplishes very little in what it purports to. There’s no real examination or subtext behind this whole ordeal, it’s just a superficial exercise in torture and pain, and not a very compelling one either.

The characters aren’t even remotely complex or interesting as both female tourists are shrill and grating as well as absolutely moronic while Akihiro Kitamura is really the only character who presents a hint of emotion with a man relentlessly defiant toward this mad doctor. In the end  really wanted to love Tom Six’s horror film, but I just couldn’t. It’s an absolute misfire from minute one. When I was finished with “The Human Centipede” I wasn’t impressed, I wasn’t entertained and honestly I wasn’t even offended, because deep down it’s just more torture porn with an artistic gloss on its surface that will convince many horror buffs in to believing they’re watching pure art and are actually just indulging in more human suffering for the purposes of entertainment.