Graphically Speaking: A reaction to “The Human Centipede”

It’s hard to be a horror fan these days.  I feel like I have to apologize for a lot of films, even those I find unique and compelling.  Despite my wide palette for gore and terror, people are always surprised to hear my reaction to writer/director Tom Six’s “Human Centipede” movies.

There’s no way in Clive Barker’s Hell I will ever watch either one of them.

Like I said, I let a lot side.  I’m a cinematic optimist, always looking for the positive aspects of each film I watch (Hey, I don’t like to waste time).  But if I sat down to watch this film, what would I get out of it?  A stronger gag reflex?  Well the “Saw” and “Hostel” films have plenty of visceral, lingering kills, right?  It’s not like Jigsaw WANTED anyone to die.  He just wanted to teach people to enjoy life, in his own messed-up way. And the “Hostel” films were actually shrewd commentaries on xenophobia laced with blood and gallows humor.  Still, most people write these films off as “torture porn,” the worst pop culture handle since “The Brat Pack.” It’s also a phrase nobody really likes, especially the filmmakers behind such films…except Tom Six, who recently admitted he likes the term. Maverick or Lunatic?  I’m going with the latter here.

Six gives us 2 films, each with a psycho who wants to stitch people together…so? What could this possibly accomplish?  Sadism is a common trait of cinematic serial killers, but what happens when you actually create the centipede? I mean, do you treat it like a pet?  Do you use it to get funding for other experiments?  Do you just use it as a footrest?  Martin, the protagonist of the sequel, wants it to fulfill his sexual desire of…watching people poop in each other’s mouths. Are you sure we’re not in a “Harold & Kumar” movie here? Some have claimed Martin is Six’s commentary on the popularity of the first film, which he also directed. Well, Wes Craven made New Nightmare with much more intelligence and forethought.

OK, you’re probably wondering how I can be so snide when I haven’t actually sat down to watch either film.  How could I judge something so harshly without experiencing it firsthand?  Well, I can’t argue with that.  What I can argue is that there is nothing scary about watching someone swallow feces.  Not under any circumstance does that belong in a scary movie, unless it’s an entry in the “Scary Movie” series.

I’m sure there are horror fans who would love to prove me wrong. Please do!  I’m open to a debate.  But  the next time someone asks me what horror films I’m currently into, I’ll point them to France.  There are several French horror films released in recent years that test the limits of gore and brutality. They are disturbing, yet also well-shot and beautiful to look at.  I implore you to check out Martyrs, Inside, and Frontier(s). If you’re not into subtitles, check out Insidious or Hatchet.  And if you’re wondering which remakes you should subject yourself to, check out The Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left, My Bloody Valentine, or Piranha 3D.

If Jigsaw has taught us anything, it’s that life is too short to watch this crap.  Or to watch people eating it.

Posted on October 13, 2011 at 16:20 by Lowell Greenblatt · Permalink
In: Uncategorized

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  1. Written by Rick Evans
    on 2011-10-18 at 02:12

    I prefer the term “gore-nography” to “torture porn” ;)

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