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Dispatch to Instant View Purgatory: The Human Centipede

Services like Netflix and YouTube have made the most recent films readily available to anyone. Can we find anything of value in the muck of b-movies, ambitious failures and exploitative crap-fests? We’re going to find out in Dispatches from Instant View Purgatory.

What’re we watching: “The Human Centipede: First Sequence,” the 2009, “medically accurate” horror film that prominently features a bunch of people being sewn butt-to-mouth. Yep.

What does it look like: It’s shot separately like Hitchock’s “Vertigo,” the Lindsay Lohan vehicle “I Know Who Killed Me” and Tarantino’s “Death Proof.” You probably won’t notice though with all the, y’know, butt-to-mouth stuff.

What’s going on: Two American tourists are captured by a crazed German scientist who surgically attaches them to a Japanese man from butt-to-mouth, so they look sort of like a centipede. It  might be because the doctor’s dog died. I don’t know. I was mostly holding my stomach in nausea and I’ve seen this damn thing before.

Why haven’t we heard of this: Actually, “The Human Centipede” was kind of a meme on the Internet for a couple months before everyone forgot about it. It’s still actually a real movie. You can really watch it. Seriously.

What works: It’s really well shot, the doctor is both horribly creepy and really funny in an intensely weird way and the whole thing doesn’t bow to a lot of horror clichés. It’s actually sort of interesting.

What doesn’t: That being said, this movie is just disgusting and filled with the sound of people moaning in pain, but really, did you see the butt and mouth stuff? There’s a lot of it. Also, things get worse and worse as the movie goes, particularly in one scene that I probably can’t describe in print.

Skip to: Most of the best scenes don’t involve the centipede at all. One of the girls’ escape attempts is unbelievably tense and a later scene when police show up is also nail biting. I have to mention it though. The scene where the centipede is revealed is really well done, despite it being horrifying but the doctor’s glee is glorious, despite it being, y’know, super gross.

The Verdict: If you’ve got the stomach for it, “The Human Centipede” isn’t bad. It’s creepy and atmospheric, horrifying and weird. It’s enjoyable but you have to be a cinematic masochist to get into it.

What’s coming up next: This is the end of Dispatch from Instant View Purgatory. I’ve had a lot of fun here and I hope you enjoyed my misery and occasional bursts of joy. Keep watching those relics!


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