It’s really hard to talk about Human Centipede (First Sequence) in an intelligent manner, which isn’t that surprising since most of the controversy surrounding its predecessor focused on audiences’ visceral reaction to the concept of ass-to-mouth horror. The sequel Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) is no different (the tagline is “The Deuce Is Loose!” speaks for itself) but I’ll try.
Dutch director Tom Six‘s follow-up to his 2010 meme of a film (yes, in South Park spoofs you, you’re a meme) opened up the 2011 edition on Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in North America, and I was there to witness it. The first thing that greeted me when I got to my seat was a barf bag filled with a mint and a staple remover. The former was there for more than obvious reason, whereas the stapler remover was there alluding to what I was about to watch.
Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) opens quite literally where the last one left off: the final scene from the first movie and its closing credits. The camera then zooms out to reveal Martin (Laurence Harvey), a short, mentally challenged, grotesque-looking garage attendant. Soon after, we learn that our protagonist–much like the film’s director– is obsessed with the Human Centipede (First Sequence), so much so that his plan is to recreate the fictional Dr. Heiter’s monstrous creation. There’s a catch, though. Martin won’t be happy with three people being stitched together ass-to-mouth. He wants to turn it up to eleven. Well, twelve, to be more precise. A dozen victims instead of the pedestrian three.
And so the film’s very simplistic plot begins to unravel. Martin uses his place of work to pick off his victims, clubbing all but two of them at the parking garage and dragging them to an abandoned warehouse. The two other are the skinhead neighbor who lives above his flat and Ashlynn Yennie– an actress in the first one who plays herself in this one (we told you that Tom Six is obsessed with his own work).
Once he has his twelve parts for his centipede, Martin rolls up his sleeves (by which we mean “takes off his pants and puts on a surgical coat”) and begins to work. What follows next is a bombardment of repulsion and the grotesque. There’s more blood splattered, more open wound shown, and more consumption of fecal matter than the first one. And yet, the film failed to make me feel sick. Going in, I had psychologically prepared myself to see the worst. It turns out my idea of “the worst” is more disgusting (or original) than what Tom Six imagined. Yes, I was partially grossed out, but more than anything I was bored. It was as if a previously hilarious joke stopped being sudden all of a sudden. It’s as if the meme had reached a point of over-saturation and exhaustion.
If I wanted to give the film more credit than it deserves, I’d call it a schlockier, gorier, and less entertaining version of Eraserhead. Tom Six opted to shoot his sequel in black and white instead of color to create a contrast between his two films (sterile in the first one vs. disgust and dirtiness in this one). Whether intentionally or not, David Lynch‘s experimental came to mind.
If I wanted to be honest about HC2, I’d call it a boring film that’s done in by its own hype and the director’s shortcomings as a filmmaker.
Fidel Martinez is the Managing Editor of Tu Vez. You can check out his vile rants on twitter.