Generally speaking movies are considered to be entertainment but they are also considered to be art. Some can even be both and those are usually the best films. But then there are movies that are, in a way, neither. Movies that cannot exactly be described as entertainment are sometimes purely works of art but then in some cases it’s hard to even call them art. This is of course very subjective but there are a few films most people seem to agree are neither art nor entertainment but simply filth. Among those are movies like Cannibal Holocaust and Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom. Both films have their fans and have gained cult status but most people would probably rather not watch them. Ever.
In this sequel the events of the first film were just that, events of a film. But this time someone has taken that film a little too seriously and decided to make a human centipede of his own. But this time with twelve people instead of three. And he’s not a doctor. No wonder the film’s tag line is “100% medically inaccurate”.
Now to get it out of the way The Human Centipede II is clearly not a good film in the classical sense. It’s cheap and stupid and childish and very badly acted. But it’s also fascinating in some ways.
For one thing, it’s pretty funny at times. It’s not easy to say if all it was intentional, though. The film works in a way as some sort of self-parody, making fun of the ridiculousness of the first film and going all the way with the premise.
All the way.
This is probably one of the sickest, most disgusting films ever made, in recent years at least (this reviewer has yet to see Cannibal Holocaust, I Spit On Your Grave and Caligula, to name a few notably nasty movies). There are things done here involving feces, a pregnant woman being tortured and masturbation with sandpaper (not all at once, thankfully) which you never want to see again.
But why make a movie like this? Is there a point to this or is just a sick joke? It’s really hard to tell.
But the film does work in some ways. There are laughs to be had, though partly just at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Tom Six must deserve some sort of award for simply daring to go all the way with the premise. Someone has to push the boundaries and Tom Six seems very willing to do so. Where would we be without the Tom Sixes of the world?
Another thing is the cinematography, which really is quite beautiful at times. Mr. Six and his DP David Meadows seem to have at least some idea of how to use the frame and the Black & White does a lot for the film. The sound design is also very cool, adding to the general feeling of unease and giving the film a slightly Lynchian touch a lá Eraserhead (very slightly).
It’s also worth mentioning that most of the actors seem to have been hired for their appearance rather than their acting skills as most of them can’t really act but do at least have a memorable look. The film also deserves kudos for having a protagonist who doesn’t utter a single word throughout and let it work somehow. Laurence R. Harvey makes a memorable screen presence with his short stature, large eyes and maniacal laughter.
So while this is undeniably a bad film in most ways it does work to a certain extent through some sort of combination of intentional and unintentional humor, sheer craziness and a little touch of cinematic skill.
Final verdict: The Human Centipede II is mostly pretty bad and quite disgusting, but also fascinating in some ways. Sometimes funny and sometimes stylish and certainly not forgettable!
- Scott Mendelson: Huff Post Review: Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (creedsdelight.com)