The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
(18) 88 min
Body horror has always been one of the queasiest of cinema experiences. Films like Tetsuo, The Thing and the work of David Cronenberg have attacked our fragile human form with viruses, parasites, deformity and medical experimentation. Now Dutch writer/director Tom Six joins these uneasy ranks with The Human Centipede (First Sequence) as a German doctor (a former expert in separating conjoined twins) kidnaps three tourists and surgically joins them, mouth to anus, to create the titular medical monstrosity.
It’s a willfully perverse premise that repulses and intrigues in equal measure. You expect something truly subversive but in many ways much of The Human Centipede plays out like a generic horror. The action is surprisingly restrained and most of the truly revolting events are implied rather than graphically displayed – that’s not to say Centipede isn’t an acquired taste. Dieter Laser excels in particular, playing his role of the archetypal mad scientist with icy efficiency.
In his first international film, Six has created something startlingly original and is certainly a horror talent to watch in the future.
Selected release from Fri 20 Aug. See feature.