[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00699G6AE][/pullquote] Tom Six must be counting his money after a job well done. It is the dream of any horror film-maker these days for their film to be initially banned for ‘going too far’ before finally getting a certificate. Nothing creates national press and hype for a horror quite like outraged people in tabloids screaming about the death of society if a film is to be released, and that’s exactly what he got for the release of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence). It happened to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Clockwork Orange and both of these films are now highly regarded for their artistic merit. Six is probably imagining himself as a visionary in the field of film-making much like Tobe Hooper or Stanley Kubrick. Sadly for him, he is let down by his own direction rather than his ideas.
To summarise The Human Centipede II would be doing the film-maker a disservice. So I’ll keep it short and say that it revolves around the protagonist Martin (Laurence R. Harvey) who is so obsessed with the original The Human Centipede film that he wants to try and recreate it himself. A unique idea in itself, the film relies far too heavily on pushing the boundaries of human decency with use of rusty tools, visual scenes with feces and a particularly horrible scene involving a baby. This is exploitation at it’s most base and most pointless. It desperately tries to draw parallels with other classic films like Psycho and Frankenstein, but fails on the most basic level to reach the lofty goals it sets itself.
The Human Centipede II’s scenes with Martin at home with his mother draw obvious parallels with Psycho, which was obviously Six’s intention. The problem when you invoke a film of that quality is that you really should have the quality within your own film to back it up. The Human Centipede II does not. The idea of someone becoming obsessed with a film is quite original and for the first third does a good job of holding your attention, even if there are some barbaric scenes of torture. Sadly, any sense of tension caused by the sense that ‘it could happen’ is immediately dispelled by the appearance of the farcical psychiatrist character. His stilted acting and preposterous dialogue immediately snap you back to reality and the spell is broken.
There are some light comic touches and visual gags that are completely out of place, but bring a small break from the monotony of the endless violence. The much discussed scenes of barbarism and DIY surgery are grim and squirm-inducing, but in reality it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before, and to better effect. Certain scenes involving a hammer and some teeth are particularly cringe-worthy. In fact, one wonders with certain scenes what the BBFC had cut, because everything seems full-on and little is left to the imagination. But at the end, other than feeling repulsed and a little shocked, you can’t help but ask yourself, what is the point of it all.
Horror films are almost always analogies for problems in society. Zombies represent the fear of disease and isolation, vampires represent lust and the problems with giving in to that lust and slasher films are cautionary tales against underage drinking, debauchery and sex. So what is the point of The Human Centipede II? It doesn’t teach us anything and is more of an experiment in seeing how much depravity and torture we can endure as an audience and even at this it fails, treading ground in a less effective way than something like Saw. The internal flashbacks to explain Martin’s problems, the endless violence and torture and the ‘stylish’ black and white filming aren’t nearly as impressive as Tom Six thinks it is.