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The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence(2011)
Inspired by the fictional Dr. Heiter, disturbed loner Martin dreams of creating a 12-person centipede and sets out to realize his sick fantasy.
For more about The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence and the The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Blu-ray release, see the The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on February 13, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 1.5 out of 5.
Starring: Ashlynn Yennie, Vivien Bridson, Maddi Black, Laurence R. Harvey
Director: Tom Six
» See full cast & crew
The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Blu-ray Review
Happy Valentine's Day
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, February 13, 2012
Dutch horror filmmaker Tom Six is fond of pointing out in interviews that his debut feature, 2010's The Human Centipede (First Sequence), has gotten a reputation as "the sickest film ever made." It does indeed have a gag reflex-triggering premise--a crazed German doctor sews three people together, mouth to anus--but sickest film ever? I think not. The Human Centipede wasn't even the most depraved movie of 2010. That dubious honor should go to the truly revolting A Serbian Film, which grimly portrays necrophilia and--in one particularly horrific turn--the rape-to-death of a newborn child. (I don't blame you if you flat out stop reading this review after that sentence. It's a gross understatement to say these sorts of films aren't for everyone.) With ante-upping in mind, Six quickly promised that his in-the-works sequel, Full Sequence, would make the first Human Centipede look like "My Little Pony." Mission accomplished? Sure, but so what? While part two is darker, filthier, and more revolting by far, it soon reaches a point of diminishing shock value returns, a point where extremity for the sake of debauched, dehumanizing extremity becomes dull. It's like that episode of Southpark where Matt Stone and Trey Parker had their characters say "shit" every few seconds; after a while, it completely loses its potency.
For Full Sequence, Six has forgone the usual horror sequel storyline--the killer strikes again!--and instead ventures into look-how-clever-I-am meta-movie territory. He opens with the final shot of the first film, but when the credits roll, the camera pulls back to reveal that the movie is being watched on a laptop by Martin Lomax (Laurence R. Harvey), a gnomish night security guard at an almost entirely abandoned underground parking garage somewhere in England. Short, sweaty, and with a face so bug-eyed and squashed it makes Peter Lorre look like Ryan Gosling in comparison, Martin is one of the most unfortunate-looking screen villains since, well, Human Centipede's evil, uber-Teutonic Dr. Heiter, played by Dieter Laser. If Six is good at one thing, it's casting iconically ugly and genuinely terrifying baddies.
It's implied that Martin is developmentally retarded, and we also come to learn he was sexually and emotionally abused as a child, a thinly-sketched backstory meant to explain his fanatical obsession with Dr. Heiter's ass-to-mouth medical experiments. At home, where he lives with his pet centipede and crazed, overbearing mother (Vivien Bridson), he keeps a scrapbook devoted to the First Sequence under his mattress, like a porn mag he doesn't want anyone to find. Six makes the sexual subtext even more explicit--incredibly explicit--when he shows Martin violently masturbating with a strip of sandpaper while watching the film's infamous poop-swallowing scene. Still with me? Like I said before; don't be ashamed to bow out of this one early. There's no dishonor in not wanting to watch a guy mutilate his junk with a sheet of 80-grit.
We never once hear Martin speak during the film--Harvey's performance is built out of maniacal grunts and giggles and screams--but his mother mentions to his impressively bearded psychologist (Bill Hutchens) that her Faulknerian idiot son has been babbling on about a "twelve-person centipede." She doesn't know what that means, but we do. And we know what's coming. Targeting the late-night patrons of the parking garage--whom he beats over the head with a crowbar--Martin amasses his victims, taking them bound and gagged to a grungy, out-of-the-way warehouse where he can work undisturbed. In what can only be described as a casting coup, he also manages to lure the lead actress of the first film into the warehouse- -Ashlynn Yennie, playing herself--by convincing her manager that she'll be auditioning for a new Quentin Tarantino film. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.
Once the "links" in Martin's centipede-to-be are gathered together--it takes about an hour for the film to get here--the next thirty minutes are a non-stop onslaught of violence and debasement. Teeth are chipped out with a hammer. Knee tendons are severed. A tongue is ripped out with a rusty pair of pliers. Martin doesn't have the surgical know-how of Dr. Heiter, so he simply staples his victim, ass to face, forming one long digestive tract. Surprise, surprise! For his next barbarity he injects them all with a laxative! I'll spare you the fetid description of what happens afterward, except to say that the noticeably brown feces in the otherwise monochromatic film is--according to Six's audio commentary--a half-smirking homage to Spielberg's sparse use of color in the black and white Schindler's List. So, yeah, classy stuff. Did I mention that a baby gets its skull crushed under the gas peddle of a car? Or that Martin rapes the tail-end of the "centipede" with his penis wrapped in barbed wire?
Obviously, there can be value in pushing the boundaries of taste to test just how elastic they are--John Waters, for instance, made a career out of this--but without much real substance, Tom Six's movies are stretched awfully thin. Full Sequence hints at the influence of much better films--like David Lynch's Eraserhead and Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salò--films that are disturbing but also emotionally layered and intellectually stimulating. There's no such complexity here; Six's approach is blunter than the tools Martin uses to torture the individual legs of his human centipede.
Yesterday, I stumbled across the decidedly NSFW website devoted to Six's artwork, paintfartsbytomsix.com, and in his crude, simplistic paintings--with adolescent titles like Worms in Stool, Used Tampon, and Sperm Lunch--you get a boiled-down version of his filmmaking aesthetic. He's out to shock, (im)pure and simple, presenting the vile in all its explicit disgustingness and challenging us to stare at it straight-on. That would be all well and good as a thematic starting point, but Six doesn't take it any further. Sure, you can easily read into what his gross-out art might mean in a broad sense--as a reaction to social norms, a reflection on increased desensitization due to the influence of the internet, a response to his critics, whatever--but that would be your creative act and not his. After reading several interviews with Six, I honestly don't think he's put that much thought into it. And he doesn't need to for literal shit like this. Being offensive is far easier than being profound.
The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Blu-ray, Video Quality
The first Human Centipede had a surprisingly bright, almost sterile aesthetic--which fits well with Dr. Heiter's surgical background--but the sequel takes the complete opposite approach to mirror the squalor of Martin's existence. It's dark, dingy, and handheld, shot digitally in color and then converted in post to a punchy black and white. IFC's 1080p/AVC-encoded Blu-ray presentation does the best that it can with the source material, which has some of the problems you normally associate with low-budget shot-on-video productions. The biggest offender is that there's aliasing all over this film. Seriously, you'll notice jaggies in just about every scene. Anytime there are close parallel lines in the shot--the grill of a car, the frames of Martin's glasses, the walls of the warehouse--you'll notice a wavering stair-step effect. A similar moire pattern shows up often in some of the characters' clothing. It's unavoidably distracting. The density of the black and white color grading is also somewhat inconsistent. Some sequences have a very "pushed" high contrast look, comprised mostly of blacks and whites, while others have a muddled grayish appearance. (Oh, and look out for the really obvious digitally-inserted rain.) As for clarity, it's mixed too. There are shots that are fantastically sharp and detailed, and others that look soft and muddled. The film's Blu- ray producers probably didn't have much to do with any of this--I chalk up any deficiencies to the way the film was shot--but be aware that this isn't exactly a pristine high definition experience.
The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Blu-ray, Audio Quality
I have no qualms, though, with the film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, which is clean and dynamically solid and appropriately gruesome. The first film only had a stereo mix, but Full Sequence's 5.1 sound design means the grisly sounds of torture can come at you from all directions. And they often do. Most of the last third of the film consists of muffled, face-buried-in-buttocks screaming, potent gun shots, diarrhetic gurgles, and other similarly horrific noises, and you can tell the foley artists had fun with this one. (There's a brief featurette in the bonus features that shows the sound designers at work.) There's no score, per se, but there is a sort of unsettling ambient drone that fills in most scenes. Dialogue--what little of it there is--is always clear and easily understood. The disc includes optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
More gore? Yes. More feces-eating? Sure. More depraved sex? Absolutely. If that's all you're after, The Human Centipede II delivers. But that's all it delivers. In director Tom Six's films, people are reduced to fleshy bags of blood and shit--to put it as bluntly as he does--and as true as that may be on some fundamental level, his shock-auteur approach is too dim-witted to be of much interest. Torture-pornoholics may get a brief thrill out how sick Full Sequence is, but more mainstream horror fans are advised to proceed with caution. I just don't see what the fuss is all about.
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The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Blu-ray - January 19, 2012
On Valentine's Day, IFC Films will bring The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence to Blu-ray. Director Tom Six's sequel to his Human Centipede focuses on a disturbed, near-mute security guard (screen newcomer Laurence R. Harvey) who decides to create a "human centipede" ...
The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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