The Human Centipede (First Sequence) | Tom Six’s sicko cult fest will make you scream and scream again
With the final chapter to the notorious movie franchise heading into UK cinemas on Friday 10 July, here’s my 2009 review of Dutch film-maker Tom Six’s First Sequence.
Stranded in a remote forest, two friends, Jenny and Lindsay, attempt to find shelter in the country home owned by the odd-looking Dr Heiter. But when he barks ‘I don’t like humans’ to the two friends, you just know the girls are in for a sick, wild ride.
The demented surgeon’s house is also his laboratory and recalls Vincent Price’s Dr Browning in Scream & Scream Again. Meanwhile, Dieter Laser, who plays the diabolical doctor, chews the scenery just as well as the Merchant of Menace ever did. In fact, this mad doctor is destined to become as iconic as Price’s most-famous character, Dr Phibes.
Looking like Udo Kier’s twin with his gaunt, botoxed-looking features and permanently raised eyebrows, Laser’s Heiter is fittingly sinister in his taper thin white coat, riding boots, 1970s sunglasses and tranquilizer gun. I’d love to see a collector’s model kit.
Being an anal retentive narcissist with a god complex, Heiter’s personality is reflected in his surroundings – clean, precise and sterile. As such, the production design and camerawork of Dutch director Tom Six’s twisted fare looks as though its been inspired by a Wallpaper* magazine photo-shoot.
Like Scream‘s Browning, Heiter is a respected surgeon, having carved a career in separating Siamese twins. Now he wants to do the opposite and create a human centipede by surgically connecting the two American girls and a Japanese tourist he has tied up inside his ‘hospital’ theatre of cruelty. And once he has explained his horrifying plan to his bound captives, its time for the scalpels come out. ‘I want my mum!’ ‘Make it all go away’ scream the captors. But the demented fun has just begun.
After a scene that combines Marathon Man‘s harrowing dentist episode with Nip/Tuck‘s weekly dose of slice and sew, our human centipede is complete and you are left wondering, ‘What can happen next?’ Can this film get any sicker?
Well it does, turning into a S&M fantasy as the doctor gets out his riding crop to beat the six-legged creature into submission. This is followed by a disturbing scene that recalls Pasolini’s Salo – in all its coprophagia glory. Lucky for our poor trio Heiter puts the Japanese guy at the head of his human centipede. Had it been either of the two girls – especially the useless Lindsay – the surgically-enhanced trio would have no chance of fighting back. But they do… with terrifying results.
While The Human Centipede (First Sequence) isn’t as gory as you’d expect, it certainly left a nasty taste in my mouth thanks to its depraved concept. Stranger still, I left the screening humming, ‘I’m stuck in the middle with you’. Does that make me sick? Or was I just trying to mask the sickness of this movie?[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfo5CcqxgbU%5D