Tom Six should probably just quit now. I mean, with the whole “Human Centipede” thing at least. But according to IMDB, we’re in for a third installment (Final Sequence), so yay. Us.
Some of you might be wondering why I even bothered to watch this film, but as a horror fan, I felt like I HAD to. And honestly, pretty much any time a film is deemed “too horrible to watch” and has to go through something like 23 cuts before it can even be shown to anyone, I have to admit that I will find that film intriguing enough to view, just so I can figure out what’s what. I only waited this long because it’s now streaming on Netflix, so it’s the cheapest possible way for me to watch.
But unlike both Martyrs and The Woman, which are also surrounded by controversy because of extreme gore and torture, The Human Centipede 2 didn’t leave me feeling glad I’d watched it. And also unlike both those films, HCN2 is almost totally irredeemable. This one is clearly Six’s answer to everyone who complained that the first movie was too campy and didn’t have enough gore. The thing is, I liked the first one. It was entertaining as hell, and I loved the beyond bleak ending. This one though … yeesh.
There are a couple of interesting elements: choosing to film in stark black and white definitely edged up the creep factor, as did the lead actor Laurence R. Harvey, who plays Martin. Martin is definitely creeptastic—especially because he doesn’t have any actual lines. He just grunts and laughs a lot. But he’s not really that scary because he’s so creepy that it’s almost too easy. I mean, he has a crowbar and a gun, and though he’s overweight and has asthma, he apparently also has an uncanny ability to wield them so he can incapacitate people two at a time.
But, for example: one of the actresses in the first HCN (playing herself in this film) is lured into Martin’s car for an “audition”—and I am telling you, there is NO FUCKING WAY IN HELL SHE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN INTO THE CAR WITH HIM IN REAL LIFE. A serial killer needs some charm. At least Dr. Heiter exuded some smooth European confidence at first, and tricked his victims by acting hospitable. There’s no surprise in Martin gathering up 12 people in order to mutilate them and keep them as his own personal human centipede. One look at this guy, and you KNOW he’s going to do something totally insane.
Which brings us to the splatter—something that’s always dear to my heart. HCN2 seems to think that mass nudity, rape, and grotesque bodily functions taken to extreme levels are going to thrill horror fans by being “so” shocking and “so” in-your-face. But it doesn’t work. Without the surprise, without the “what is he going to do now” element, there’s no suspense. And without suspense, graphic gore doesn’t accomplish anything except making you look like you’re trying too hard (unless you’re going for camp, re: Hatchet I & II, which are both 100x better than this film).
Part of this is a problem only because Martin is obsessed with the HCN movie, so he’s copy-catt’ing the good doctor’s work. Even though we didn’t see the surgery in that film, we know what it entails, so slicing knees and connecting everyone mouth to anus is expected. I did cringe during the “hammer meets teeth” scene, but then it disintegrated into ridiculousness (laxatives? REALLY?) and I just ended up severely disappointed.
I’m hoping that once Six finishes this out, he can focus on something else and work more on constructing something awesome, and less on just trying to make people throw up.