Human Centipede II: Full Sequence~ 2011, Tom Six, USA, The Netherlands
Human Centipede II had some big, gross shoes to fill. It’s predecessor, Human Centipede: First Sequence had enjoyed an unexpected level of success. For the sequel, writer/director Tom Six has the intimidating task of trying to out do his wildly popular film, and he mostly fails.
On some levels, this film is incredibly daring, and at least a little bit brilliant. By far, the greatest thing about this film is how outside the box it is as a sequel; in Human Centipede II, the preceding film is only a movie. In other words, the two do not take place in the same fictional universe. Therefore, the implication is that while the first film was only a movie, this second installment takes place in the real world… Like, where you and I live. Well, where you live. This is a very abstract way to follow up a popular film, possibly borrowing from Wes Craven’s New Nightmare a little bit, but unlike New Nightmare, Human Centipede II is incredibly stylized, looking more like Eraserhead than the Human Centipede. The statement that “This is reality, and it’s infinitely more bleak and unnerving than fiction” is well captured, and in reality, this is the only thing about Human Centipede II that I really enjoyed. This concept is not limited only to the visual aesthetic, in fact every aspect of the film’s presentation is fuming with dark, nihilistic grief, filth, and misery, like the key party Edgar Allan Poe, Aleister Crowley and the dead members of Mayhem are probably throwing in Nifelheim right now. Human Centipede II is the ugliest movie I’ve ever seen, in every way. Our central character, Martin (somehow both protagonist and antagonist), is a squat, bug eyed mute who we are told is “retarded,” and is also obsessed with Human Centipede. He’s deeply motivated to create his own Human Centipede in real life, and that’s just what he does, much more successfully than the first film’s mad doctor, none the less. And he’s no highly functional smooth criminal, Martin is a bumbling piece of trash that does a terrible job every step of the way, but it doesn’t matter because he almost never comes up against any form of resistance. Almost anyone should have been able to put a swift end to his filthy machinations with little to no effort, but no one ever does. Martin is like some kind of cartoon sloth who is somehow able to carry out the most brutal atrocities known to Dutch culture, but couldn’t successfully purchase a pair of shoes if his life depended on it. It’s like the movie wants us all to know that horrible, terrible things are completely inevitable, and that every aspect of existence is hideous and dirty. Well, that’s what I got out of the film, at least.
I’m not sure that it’s fair to say that Human Centipede II is a bad movie just because it’s unpleasant to watch, but luckily that battle can be fought another day because the film suffers from enough unrelated detriments to render that discussion relatively unimportant. It’s clear that Six’s real intention here was to out do himself on shock value above all else, and to do this he mostly just makes the movie as gross as possible. Human Centipede II is poopier, rape-ier, pervier, and gorier than it’s predecessor by a long shot… And it’s just terrible. It just doesn’t add to the enjoyability of the film in any way, shape, or form, in fact, it’s a massive blow to the integrity of the piece. It’s beyond cheapened, and the filth doesn’t even feel artfully presented, it’s just gross for gross’ sake, and that’s all. Tom Six wanted to outdo himself. He wanted anyone who watched Human Centipede and shrugged it off as “not that hardcore” to quiver in shock at the terrible production he hath wrought. Well, we’ve seen it now, Mr. Six, and yeah, that was horrendously unpleasant. What of it?
There are lots of films out there right now pushing the bar for shock value, and some of them don’t actually suck. Why not watch them instead? Human Centipede II is a trip you really don’t need to take, so I would recommend that it be avoided.
According to IMDB, the third Human Centipede film has completed production. Hooray.