Whatever happened to the days when the two words "euro horror" put together meant both intensity and quality? They passed us by a few years ago, I'm afraid. Gone are the days of "Them", "High Tension" and "Frontiers". What we're left with today are festival hits like "The Human Centipede."
And why "The Human Centipede" made such tremendous waves on the festival circuit is beyond me. It isn't a good horror movie. It has moments. But in the end, the film is basically torture porn -- and I hate to use that term, because it has been thrown around so much. But that's all this movie is.
The concept of "The Human Centipede" at this point is pretty well known. But if you don't want spoilers stop reading and cut to the last paragraph.
If you don't care about spoilers, and want to know the best thing that this movie spawned, check out this hilarious videogame that basically sums up the concept.
A mad scientist (played by creepy looking Dieter Laser, who was clearly born for this kind of role) kidnaps a few tourists in the German countryside, among them two ditzy American college students (Ashley Williams and Ashlynn Yennie), unlucky enough to have gotten a flat tire near his home in the woods.
Of course, they just happen to be out of cel range, so they stumble to his front door and beg for him to call the German equivalent of AAA. Ignoring the fact that he's an abusive louse that admits he "doesn't like human beings," they trust him enough to let him call the German equivalent of AAA for them. Naturally, he simply drugs them and help doesn't arrive.
They wake up in hospital beds next to a kidnapped Japanese fellow (Akihiro Kitamura) and are given a lecture by the evil doctor on his plans for them. Turns out, he was the preeminent surgeon for separating siamese twins. Now, he wants to create a new kind of human: A three-person entity with one digestive tract -- a human centipede connected via the gastric system. After a bad attempt at some Hitchockian suspense when one of the girl tries to escape, he is able to get the three patients together for the gruesome operation.
End the first act of the story.
The second act of the tale is basically torture porn stuff, with the human centipede struggling to function as the doctor treats it like a dog in his front yard, then cages it as night. Where the trio struggles to get along -- especially when it's time for the head of the centipede (the Japanese guy) to go to the bathroom.
Finally, the third act has a couple of gun-toting cops arriving in search of the missing girls, for a predictibly gory climax.
The film deserves some points for being sickening and over the top. But, aside from that, it's a pretty boring affair. The fact that it was such a hit at film festivals goes to show how weak the indie horror slate was in 2010 when it came to indie titles, especially when you compare it to the middle of the decade.