The BBFC turned Tom Six’s horror fantasy sequel into The Human Centipede 2: [Full Palava] over the summer when they effectively stopped its planned (and eagerly anticipated) release. The UK distributor, Bounty Films, have now re-submitted a new version with two minutes and thirty seconds worth of cuts. The censors deem this okay for the masses, who can now see it (hopefully without being perverted and turned into sadists) from 4th November.
Watching The Human Centipede II: [Full Sequence], one does wonder what all the fuss is about. It’s grotesque, violent and hideous from start to finish but horror flicks are meant to make your skin crawl and unnerve you. Call it the power of cinema. In some ways Six has played right into the BBFC’s hands by presenting us with a character directly influenced by a piece of media. This is the organisation’s major fear. Yet ridding the world of horror films or challenging cinema won’t make it a less troubled place.
Perhaps what the BBFC really didn’t like is the mysterious final shot which may well suggest what we’ve seen is a warped reverie conjured by the lead character. We’ve been inside his head all along, and it’s a very ugly place. This is problematic anyway given the very nature of cinema as a medium. However there was clear distinction in scenario and emotional connection in the first picture. It was something to grab on to. Here there’s nothing but the bleak mindscape of a total loon. The BBFC definitely took issue with Six’s toying of perspective.
Martin (Laurence R. Harvey) is a weirdo loner who spends his waking life watching Six’s cult classic. He’s an ‘avid fan’ and car park security guard, but seems to like kidnapping anybody who sets foot in the place. His evil scheme is to recreate the human centipede in a warehouse somewhere in London.
Much like last year’s film, the concept and horridness on display mask much of the sly humour. The jokes are obvious but underlying satire (of horror film and its conventions) is there too. Six has an absolute riot playing up to audience expectation and trying to out-do Pasolini’s Salò for sheer disgust. There’s even a direct reference this time around during a scene in which the original star Ashlynn Yennie has her tongue pulled out.
David Meadows’ crisp digital photography is excellent and drenches the picture and frame with serious atmosphere. The blood is jet black and so too the London rain. The excrement is deep brown (a blast of colour?) and in one shot splatters the camera. Why not? It’s been done with fake bloody plenty of times. Six takes things up a notch.
The gags (in between the gagging) come thick and fast along with lurid set pieces. One or two will definitely leave you stunned. The sound design by Eilam Hoffman also deserves special mention: it’s fantastic. Here we get drones, low rumbles and high-pitched screeches which recall Alan Splet’s fine work for David Lynch – especially Eraserhead.
The structure and narrative is much less interesting than the original mad scientist conceit. However it more than makes up for this with creepy ambience and out-there visions. One moment in the third act features what can best be described as an orchestra made up purely of ‘wind instruments’. Capiche?
The film may have gone down like a lead balloon in the US and there’s been plenty of debate (mostly negative) about Six’s films but they are exemplary nightmare shows you’ll never forget. Horror isn’t meant to be toothless, pre-packaged stuff with routine scares. The Human Centipede 2 is hardcore horror madness and a truly macabre comedy.
UK Release Date: 4th November, 2011
Bounty Films official website: www.bountyfilms.com