Written by Michael Schutz-Ryan.
When I say “extreme horror,” I’m talking about all those bloody and disturbing movies from Hostel to Flowers of the Flesh and Blood, with all the vile bits of August Underground in between. Tom Six’s sequel to his original The Human Centipede definitely has enough blood and viscera to hold its own against any gore-fest you can think of. But it also features a strong story and a fully realized anti-hero that propels this movie far beyond most extreme horror.
Within the first ten minutes, we are introduced to Tom Six’s artistic elements that elevate this movie. His choice of black and white is a bold statement. It makes the film stark, both ugly and beautiful. And when the blood starts running, the gore is monochromatic black. It’s a bit more palatable that way, though I am sure it is not for the audience’s benefit. It is more a reflection of the unaffected view our protagonist Martin takes of his violence. And the colors remind us not to judge these characters, but rather to see them and their choices as all the shades of grey imaginable.
Martin is an odd, repulsive character that David Lynch himself would be terrified to run into. He’s a crowbar-wielding, goggle-eyed, asthmatic, sweaty, fat, undoubtedly ugly parking ramp attendant. And he never speaks in the film, expressing himself with escalating grunts and piggish squeals. He makes me wonder what the casting call asked for!
The third element that strikes the audience is that in this world, The Human Centipede actually exists as a film by Tom Six. Martin is obsessed with the movie, watching and re-watching on the laptop he takes to work. And at home, he assembles a scrapbook dedicated to the film. The affection he shows for this book is the only loving moments in the entire movie.
Throughout The Human Centipede 2, we are given glimpses and mentions of Martin’s past. His father sexually abused him and landed in jail. Martin’s mother blames him for her husband’s imprisonment and tries to murder her son. And Martin’s psychiatrist is handsy, confiding with a friend that he’d like to fuck Martin, whom he calls “that retarded boy.” These horrendous offenses enlighten Martin’s psychopathy but do not even attempt to excuse it. This film succeeds by neither empathizing nor sympathizing, but rather presenting a blunt portrayal of events.
All these offenses have converged and led Martin to his one ambition: to create his own human centipede. Gone is the static, medically-accurate procedure we saw in the original. There are no tidy sedative injections—Martin simply cracks his victims over the head with the aforementioned crowbar to stun them into submission. And just as would happen in real life, his efforts at centipede construction go horribly wrong. Cutting into a prisoner’s buttcheek produces an overwhelming gush of blood. Martin has no sutures or training, so madly staples his captives in the ass-to-mouth position. And Martin is most interested in the single digestive tract creation, force-feeding the head (Ashlynn Yennie of the original, playing herself) and when unsatisfied with his centipede’s bowel movement progress, injects laxative into the human segments.
The Human Centipede 2 is the most brutal, intense film I’ve ever seen. The gore comes about organically and doesn’t feel rushed or superfluous. It may not have the verisimilitude of Cannibal Holocaust or Grotesque, but its depravity is unrelenting. Once it gets going it never lets up. But most of all, I found it to be a solid film that ranks right up there with Martyrs with its originality, story, and characters.
Four Dweller Heads!