The Human Centipede 2


To give credit where it’s due, Tom Six, the demented Dutchman behind the notorious “Human Centipede” movie, didn’t take the easy way out on the sequel. Once you’ve established the gross premise of a mad scientist surgically attaching three people so they share one long digestive tract, the obvious follow-up would be to have the mad scientist do it again, only this time with more people. And maybe this time it could also be personal.

But Six has not done this! “The Human Centipede 2” does increase the number of victims, but the evil doctor has not returned, nor has another like-minded brilliant-but-insane scientist taken his place. The perpetrator this time is a mouth-breathing imbecile with no medical training or scientific knowledge. How has he happened upon the idea of creating a human centipede? By watching the film “The Human Centipede” over and over again and taking it as an instruction manual.

Ah, yes. The old “turn the tables and indict the audience for loving the thing you’re giving them” routine. Does the devoted “Human Centipede” fan depicted here — a grunting, porcine loser who lives with his mother — represent Six’s view of the average “Human Centipede” fan? It would seem so. But if Six’s goal is to make the people who enjoyed “Human Centipede” do some soul-searching, he has overlooked a crucial point, which is that nobody enjoyed “Human Centipede.” Some viewers found it macabrely fascinating; some admired the creativity involved; some defended it as a well-made entry in the horror genre. But nobody LOVED it. Six is indicting an audience that doesn’t exist.

That’s if I’ve understood his point correctly, however, which may not be the case. We must allow for the possibility that he does not have a point, other than to wallow in depravity and filth and poop.

Our protagonist is Martin, played by a man named Laurence R. Harvey who does not have any previous acting credits. I don’t know where this spherical, bug-eyed dwarf came from, or what he will do next, but his performance here is never anything less than 100 percent committed, I’ll give him that. Martin, a lowly parking-garage attendant, whiles away the hours watching “Human Centipede” on his laptop and reveling in its obscenity. He has accumulated a scrapbook documenting his devotion to the film, which he hides under the mattress in his squalid bedroom so that his harpy mother (Vivien Bridson) won’t find it. Martin does not speak discernible words, might be mentally handicapped, and was sexually abused as a child by his father. A psychiatrist (Bill Hutchens) visits the home every week to help him work through his issues, but the shrink has sexual desires for Martin himself (which might be the single weirdest thing about the movie).

Desiring to emulate what he has seen in the film, Martin sets out to acquire not three but twelve victims to be sewn mouth-to-butt. He uses a crowbar to smash parking-garage customers in the head, then takes them to a warehouse, where they writhe naked on the floor, bound and gagged. One of them is a pregnant woman. One is Martin’s upstairs neighbor. Martin eventually gets around to connecting his victims, but lacking any surgical tools or common sense all he can do is jury-rig them using staples and duct tape.

You’re probably thinking that it would be fairly easy to escape from such a predicament. Yes, your mouth is stapled to the butt of the person in front of you, but at least it hasn’t been stitched there, like in the first movie. Just yank it free. Those staples will come right out. It’ll hurt like a mofo, but you’ll be free.

But the only reason you’re thinking about the logistics of the situation is that you’re not actually watching it. While in the act of viewing the film, one’s mind is occupied by other things: how senselessly unpleasant it is, for example; how curiously tedious the obscenity becomes after a while; how genuinely humorous some of Martin’s behavior is; how vile it is to realize that the film is entirely in black-and-white except for a few instances of color being used for particular materials. (The color is brown. I’ll leave it at that.)

Reviewing a movie usually boils down to a question of what the film was trying to achieve and whether or not it succeeded. Well, I don’t doubt that “HC 2” is exactly the movie Tom Six wanted to make, and it is approximately as grotesque and miserable as you would expect it to be. No bait and switch here!

But there’s another question, too. Whatever the filmmaker was trying to accomplish, and regardless of how well he did it, was it even worth doing? Here the answer is easier: no. To the extent that Six has anything to say at all, what he’s saying isn’t very interesting, and he doesn’t say it very well. Moreover, even if he had said it well, I doubt it would be worth wading through such an unreasonable amount of garbage to find that small nugget of artistic merit or entertainment value.

D (1 hr., 30 min.; Not Rated, probably NC-17 for abundant graphic violence, nudity, rape, torture, and unorthodox medical procedures.)

I also wrote this: "A Proper Gentleman from 19th Century England Reacts to Seeing 'Human Centipede 2.'"