Dir: Tom Six, 2011
This review is of the uncut version
Tom Six’s sequel to his hugely original The Human Centipede, is a work of pure grossness and not much else.
Laurence R. Harvey is Martin, a security guard in a car park with the mentality of a child.
Mute, diminutive and overweight, Martin is obsessed with Six’s seminal horror.
Sat in his security booth, he watches The Human Centipede on a constant loop, even going so far as to make a scrapbook of it with diagrams on how it could be made possible.
Living with his mother in a dingy flat, she hates him for getting his father arrested and put in prison for sexually abusing him.
Martin is under the supervision of a psychiatrist who has intentions of more than just professional help.
The neighbour upstairs is a thug who plays his music at ear bleeding levels and physically abuses Martin when his mother complains about the noise.
The childlike security guard has ideas of making a real human centipede.
With a gun and a hammer, Martin takes the people who have wronged him and sets to work making his human centipede.
However, the centipede isn’t complete without the star of the original, Ashlynn Yennie.
Luring her to England under the pretence of making a film with Quentin Tarantino, Yennie is the final piece he needs.
So, with a hammer, stapler, duct tape and any other tools he can get his hands on, Martin makes his dream come true complete with laxatives and a new way to employ barbed wire.
When Six’s first film was released, it caused shockwaves around the world because of its unpleasant premise and humiliation forced upon its cast.
Naturally, with Tom Six being a showman, he decided to up the ante and make it as vile as he could possibly imagine.
This detracts from what could have been a serious cult film. You focus too much on the depravity of it all rather than the insanity of Martin and the films commentary on copycat violence.
The Dutch director throws everything into the pan regardless of whether it belongs or not and makes no effort to explain its inclusion.
A lot of scrutiny was paid to a particular scene where Martin is watching the aforementioned horror and masturbating with sandpaper.
Rather than just imply the scenario, the production goes as far to fit Harvey with a prosthetic penis and have him physically wank it, all in close up view of the lens.
But Six doesn’t explain why Martin does this. We know that he has issues of a mental nature but this whole pain/pleasure thing isn’t explored or explained. We’re just left to make up our own minds or, to be more precise, guess.
The theme of the film is sexual obsession. Martin isn’t just obsessed with the film or its star, to him, the film is sexually alluring.
This goes a long way to explaining why the protagonist rapes his creation. The only thing that isn’t explained is why he does it with barbed wire around his penis!
Obviously, these moments are only to put in to shock and appal.
As a gross out horror film, it does its job. It’s exploitation. The Human Centipede 2 is not the debut of such atrocities on film and it won’t be the last.
Its notoriety stems from it being a sequel to a famous and much talked about mainstream film instead of an underground one.
Filmed in colour and then drained, the black and white look of the film is designed to take away some of the explicit violence but it kind of fails.
In monochrome, blood shows up as black and darks are accentuated giving the movie an even more sleazier and revolting feel.
It really should have sunk without trace but, as usual, censorship has the opposite effect.
Presented to the BBFC in the UK, the British censors immediately rejected it citing the film as being obscene and disgusting.
The tone of the film was so putrid, they felt, that cutting the film wouldn’t be possible because the underlying problem will always be there.
Distributors Monster Pictures straightaway lodged an appeal to the Video Appeals Committee.
While preparing the case, the news became public about the BBFC banning the film and came under intense fire for their heavy-handed treatment of the film.
Mocked, beaten and bruised, the censors relented and did pass the film but only after two and a half minutes of cuts had been made.
In a way, the board won because Monster Pictures is not in the same league as the other big distributors and an appeal would have been costly. It was imperative that the film was released to have any chance of making any money.
The bully boys at Soho Square knew this, and their only reason for relenting on the ban was the public drubbing they were getting for being over censorial. It was purely PR.They broke their own policy of adults being to watch what they wish as long as it wasn’t illegal but, hey, it’s their playground, their rules.
Knowing full well that the distributors needed to have the film available, the board had Monster by the balls and wouldn’t let go.
The distributors were prepared to make any cuts asked just to get the film unbanned so the censors threw a multitude of scenes at them and demanded anything they liked.
Some of the stuff removed was ludicrous as much stronger material than this had been allowed through and, regularly, still is. You’ve only got to look at the Hostel or Saw films.
This was purely the authorities pushing the little people around and nothing more.
Not surprisingly, the sand paper wrapped around Martin’s penis was cut as was the barbed wire. It’s here where we can see the bullies really picking on the little guy, though.
The scenes removed were a victim having his teeth knocked out with a hammer, lips stapled to buttocks, a man having his lips torn off after freeing himself, forcing the “human centipede” to empty its bowels and sight of excrement around the mouths and, finally, a newborn baby being accidentally stamped upon by its mother.
It sounds worse than it actually is. Yes, it’s graphic but it’s no different to Peter Jackson’s Braindead or a Ruggero Deodato cannibal film.
Anyway, with these cuts made The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) was passed ’18’ on DVD and for a cinema release.
The Australian censors actually passed it totally uncut and it, briefly, even played there.
But, a review of the OFLC’s decision led to a temporary banning and they were forced to conduct another review where it was deemed that cuts WOULD be needed, after all.
Luckily, the Australian censors took a more liberal view than our lot and only insisted on the sandpaper scene being cut.
Ultimately, the banning and censorship proved fruitless as a slightly less censored version was released to Video On Demand services.
Eventually, even Tom Six released the full uncut version on the internet for everybody to watch and there was nothing that the BBFC or OFLC could do about it.
I think it’s safe to say that the majority of people have seen the uncut version, instead of the cut one proving that censorship just doesn’t work.
To be honest, it’s not a bad film in its own little deliberately coarse way.
It’s meant to be crass and offensive.
Accept it for that and you might enjoy it.