Movie Review: The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence
Okay, so you’ve managed to get through the head of our three part review, now, like the creation itself, we’ve reached the middle and most uncomfortable position to be in.
Following the release of The Human Centipede: First Sequence, as I had previously mentioned, the concept took the internet by storm, society manage to cope with the disturbing idea in the only way it could, by making memes and jokes out of it. South Park did a parody episode on it, there was a videogame flash game made of it based on an arcade classic, hell, there was even a cat toy based on the surgical diagrams. However, just as much as the jokes came, so did the finger pointing. “What if some maniac actually did this to someone?” groups asked, nothing new for horror I’m sure you’re all aware of. Instead of backing down, Tom Six went with this idea, what would it be like if some maniac attempted to recreate the film for his/her own depraved pleasure? This ladies and gentlemen, leads us to The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence.
Billed as ‘100% medically inaccurate’, that should give you an idea of what angle the sequel is going to go for, but before I get into depth about that, let’s go over the plot…what little of it there is. If anything were to be described as a snuff film, this is it, well, it’s more like a crime scene than a handheld snuff film (imagine a Human Centipede found footage film though).
Martin Lomax (Lawrence R. Harvey) hasn’t had the easiest of lives, sexually abused by his father at a young age, overweight and mentally challenged; he works in the tollbooth of a multi-level carpark in London and often faces the cruelty of the general public, his own mother who wants to kill him and his psychiatrist who wants to have sex with him. He’s got it rough but he finds solace in a film called The Human Centipede: First Sequence. Yes, in this film, The Human Centipede: First Sequence exists as a film, Tom Six has taken the meta route with this and we are now in the ‘real world’. In fact, the opening of this film is the very last sequence of the previous film before panning back and revealing this, offering us a seamless, centipede-segment like transition into the middle piece of this series.
Anyway, I digress; Martin obsesses over the idea of The Human Centipede, finding himself aroused by it, covering his penis in barbed wire and masturbating while watching scenes in the film. His one mission in life is to create his own Human Centipede, however he has bigger plans than Dr. Heiter, Martin aims to create a twelve person Centipede instead of the three person one featured in the film. After watching the film numerous times on loop, he sets the plan in motion by acquiring an abandoned warehouse and abducting his victims in the parking garage by shooting them and knocking them out with a crowbar to the head. He manages to gather a number of victims before managing to lure actress Ashlynn Yennie with the promise of an audition for Quentin Tarantino’s new film. With twelve victims, including a pregnant woman, Martin uses various household tools and kitchen utensils to recreate the surgery procedure Dr. Heiter had perfected. All doesn’t go to plan however, Martin soon figures out that people aren’t immune to bleeding out or shock, believing two of his victims to have died, he improvises, using an industrial staple gun, he staples the lips of his victims to the anus of the segment in front of them to create his ten person Human Centipede.
As you can see, this film is significantly more blunt and brutal than its predecessor. This would be a good time to mention that the film is shot entirely in black and white, which is a shock to some people, however, this is absolutely the correct decision to make for this film. The filth that oozes out of the camera lens just from the shading alone is like something from a nightmare. I had mentioned David Lynch in the review prior to this and Full Sequence just screams Lynch in tone, even though it’s supposed to be set in reality, it has an otherworldly and, well, as I said, nightmarish feel to it, ‘Eraserhead’ immediately springs to mind. Despite how depraved and disgusting this film is, it’s beautiful in its own right in terms of cinematography alone, you can just feel the cold, harrowing existence of Martin Lomax and the filth seeping between your toes
Referring back to the tagline, ‘100% medically inaccurate’, where the first film left pretty much everything to the imagination, Tom Six does not shy away at this point, this film was actually banned in the UK upon release and as of this review, is still banned in New Zealand. It’s significantly difficult to find a fully uncut version of this film, I certainly don’t recommend any cut version of the film, not only because it reduces the running time to little over an hour but it makes the plot even more of an incomprehensible mess than it already is, sequences are barely glued together and shots just appear out of nowhere after heinous acts have taken place. If you’re going to go through with watching this film, which is absolutely NOT for the squeamish, then you go the full bravo delta and watch it fully uncut.
Some of the acts that Tom Six pulls in this film you ask? I’m not going to spoil it for you not just because I don’t like to spoil but I’m not even sure if Haddonfield Horror would let me submit this review if I went into depth what is shown here, this is some seriously sadistic and disturbing stuff folks. Let me paint a picture for you, this film parody’s ‘Schindler’s List’ by having the only moment of colour in the film appear as brown. I need not say more.
That being said, as dark and disturbing as this is, this is by far more comedic than the previous film. The ridiculous that builds and builds as Martin grows nearer to creating his Centipede and even then, afterwards, is something that can only be seen to be believed. For example, Martin caving in his abusive Mother’s head with a crowbar, propping up her grotesque corpse at the breakfast table and enjoying a full English fry up. Of course THAT forced feeding scene is back but with laxatives and explosive consequences.
One significant difference in this film however, which is a big drawback, is that you don’t care a single bit for any of these victims, maybe bar Ashlynn Yennie sheerly for the fact we have a recognisable face and even then, that’s pushing it. This is expected as the centipede grows but oddly, we sympathise more with Martin, especially considering each segment of the centipede maybe has two lines of dialogue max before getting stapled together, hell, we don’t even know most of their names! Again, a big drawback for this film is the writing and you really have to suspend your disbelief in order to go where it’s taking you, these people take way more crowbars to the head than humanly possible.
What I particularly admire about this film however, is how Six choose to roll with the ‘what if someone were to actually do this’ angle. This film is very Wes Craven’s New Nightmare with how self-referential it is and particularly shows how ridiculous of a concept a human centipede truly is. It feels like a much needed slap in the face to those critics who turn their nose to horror. Martin is essentially the most stereotypical horror villain ever, in the best possible way, with all due respect, he’s a repulsive and pathetic individual, the exact opposite to Dieter Laser which was just genius casting on Six’s part. Lawrence R. Harvey delivers an unbelievable performance, he’s absolutely unknown and this is his first feature film but he’s easily cemented himself into horror history as one of those character actors. Not a single word of dialogue is uttered by Martin but we go through a huge range of emotions with him just through body language and facial animation. Putting both of these actors in The Final Sequence is something I look forward to the most.
There’s really not much else to say about this film, if The Human Centipede: First Sequence was a sideshow freak, ‘The Full Sequence’ is its inbred, mutated cousin. It’s a grimy sick little piece of cinema and offers nothing but offensive imagery and exploitation of characters. I would barely consider it a film, it’s more like a sequence of events but in all honesty, it’s pretty entertaining as that, even if totally off the rails. You’re not coming here for a solid plot, acting or otherwise, you’re coming to endure. I’m not saying this film is good or bad, it just exists.
It’s one of those films that you pass onto a friend, much like J-Horror style curse, daring someone to make it all the way through, it’s really unbelievable what they get away with showing in this film, no sacred cow is particularly spared and whatever one miraculously is, I’m sure it’ll be slaughtered in ‘The Final Sequence’.
Images provided by the author