By Jerome Reuter
If you browse any top ten list of the most shocking films on the Internet, Tom Six’s Human Centipede will most likely pop up. For the life of me, I can’t understand why. These films are not only bad horror, they’re bad movies. They don’t even reside in the ‘so bad they’re good’ category, they fall into the ‘what the fuck did I just watch?’ category.
It’s absolutely astounding that they’re so popular among horror fans. I wish I could give the excuse that they’re self aware, or that it’s exploitation, but it’s much lower than that. Six’s trilogy is nothing more than a giant mass of gross-out masturbation. If I were to match a phrase to his trilogy, I’d say he’s ‘trying too hard.’ This is the horror equivalent of dangling keys in front of a baby.
The element that makes body horror resonate with your audience is familiarity. The knife piercing the flesh reminds us of getting cut. We’ve all experienced that at one time, accidental or otherwise. Here, sewing people together to make a human-insect hybrid is one of the dumbest concepts I’ve ever heard. Not only is it completely laughable, it’s just pure idiocy. As the trilogy progresses, the size of this hybrid grows, as does the gross-out factor. It becomes so over the top and excessive, that it just enters the realm of ridiculousness. Six tries so very hard to create a landscape and a collage of disturbing imagery, only to fail every time.
To understand the directors’ motivations, we have to look at his influences. In an interview conducted a few years back, he described Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo as the ‘Sickest film he had ever seen.’ That statement shows what kind of filmmaker he is. It proves that he’s someone who lacks the ability to look beneath the surface of a film, and take the image at face value. The key rule to narrative story telling is ‘feel it first, think about it second.’ Six was obviously absent on the day that lecture was given. I’m sure Pasolini would be ecstatic in knowing his works influenced one of the worst film series if al time.
In short, these films are terrible. They’re not worth sitting down with. The only saving grace is the on screen presence of Austrian actor Dieter Laser. He plays the perfect over the top charismatic villain, but not even he could salvage this massive shit storm. This is horror we don’t need, and have absolutely no use for.