The Human Centipede: [First Sequence] + [Full Sequence] 4-Disc Special Edition: The Human Centipede: First Sequence Blu-ray Review
Written by Ilan Sheady
Blu-ray released by Monster Pictures
Written and directed by Tom Six
2009, 90 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 29th Oct 2012
Dieter Laser as Dr. Heiter
Ashley C. Williams as Lindsay
Ashlynn Yennie as Jenny
Akihiro Kitamura as Katsuro
Note: The Human Centipede: [First Sequence] + [Full Sequence] is a 4-disc special edition of Tom Six's first two Centipede films (The Human Centipede: First Sequence and The Human Centipede: Full Sequence). Due to the scope of the set, the review of it will be broken down per movie with Ilan Sheady tackling the first film and Sharon Davies the second. Please note, however, that at this time these particular releases are not sold separately.
There are only a handful of horror films that can proudly claim to be the symbol of a cinematic generation. Night of the Living Dead reformatted zombie movies but more importantly became the figure head for successful independent horror, Jaws made people reconsider the very definition of horror, The Blair Witch Project paved the way for the no-budget found footage film, The Ring (or Ringu) put J-horror on the map and Hostel was the poster child for contemporary torture porn. All these movies may have had predecessors but these films got the attention it needed to inspire hundreds of film makers and studios to follow in their footsteps. Tom Six's new franchise enters into the hall of horror fame and shoes in a new sub genre that, until I'm informed otherwise, I will call 'disturbingly messed up shit'.
The Human Centipede is the age old story of two holiday makers stranded in the rain after a car malfunction and the first house they go to for help appears to be the worst house they could have ever possibly chosen. The storyline is far from anything original, but it is the promise of the unique fate that will meet them that is the key to this film’s legendary status. Watch this film and you WILL see three people grafted together, ass-to-mouth, by a mad scientist attempting to create the film's name-sake and as being a viewer goes, that kind of thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Prior to its release on DVD, Human Centipede was an urban legend spoken about in offices and schools. Somebody would pass on a 'Chinese whisper' or the trailer was emailed around like some illicit secret found on an underground website (in my office building it was actually reviewer and HTTV hostess Sharon Davies who first spread the word of this sordid tale of forced body modification and this was way before I first met her). It then came down to the bravest of the brave and those with a strong stomach to dare to seek out and watch the film and I'll be honest with you, I wasn't one of them. My mind took in the possibilities this film was threatening to show me and I wasn't ready to see them on my TV screen quite yet.
But a job's a job, so I gotta suck it up and see it in all its gory Blu-ray detail.
Human Centipede has a natural ability to make you feel anxious and on edge way before the disc even gets in the player and it carries in way into the first third of the movie. The two beautiful, young victims Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) have 100% of your sympathy even before they speak their first lines and Dr. Heiter (Deiter Laser), the twisted Frankenstein, brings forth instant revulsion. The fear you feel knowing what will happen is so potent it's tangible and as the pieces of the film come together and the hope of walking (upright) out of this situation becomes more and more unlikely; the tension can be a little nauseating.
In hindsight, now that I've seen the film in crystal clear Blu-ray I can say that I'm a little disappointed. Not in the film though, it's a beautifully well made, creepily orchestrated and amazingly cast and acted movie. I'm disappointed in myself for having a brain that can conjure up images of such depravity when handed a film that promises to push boundaries and it appears I wasn't the only one who felt this.
Human Centipede's shortcomings are that it is impossible to live up to its expectations, mainly because it threatens you with the worst thing you can ever imagine. Furthermore the film is exceptionally well shot The lighting and the quality of the cinematography is so clean it's practically sterilised. It might have benefitted being a more dirty, grainy grotesque quality, but this flaw isn't enough to make Human Centipede anything less than a daring and vicious entree into the history books of horror.
Video and Audio:
The video is crisp 1.77:1 ratio and Tom Six has done this utmost to use the best clinical colours and lighting to really match the good Doctors world, the tone is also matched with stark contrasts between silences and piercing screams. These combined with a lack of parlour music interludes really aids the overall feel of his remote abode.
- Full length commentary with director Tom Six
- Q&A with director Tom Six and actor Dieter Laser
- Two interviews with director Tom Six (Both interviews cover how he came up with the original concept, his humour when approaching the material and directing the piece)
- Original theatrical trailer
- Behind the scenes (8 mins footage from behind the scenes plus small soundbites from the actors on set)
- Foley session (Which shows how the sound technicians created the noises used throughout the film)
- Casting session (Showing the casting process for the main actresses and the process went together for choosing which character suited which role better)
- Deleted scene (which shows the doctor rapturously celebrating his creation)
Click the "2" below for the The Human Centipede: Full Sequence review.