The Human Centipede (the first sequence)

Director: Tom Six (2009)
Starring: Deiter Laser, Ashley C Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura
Find it online: IMDB

Well well well, it's probably a good thing that I didn't watch The Human Centipede before my gap year two shitty weeks in Europe. As if unwary travellers didn't have enough to worry about with torture hostels (Hostel/Frontiers) and crazy yokels (Every Urbanoia Movie Ever Made) Tom Six's already-infamous little movie posits a Germany full of perverts, annoying American travellers and, crucially, mad scientists.

And not just any Frankenstein/Moreau scientist either. Dr Heiter (Laser) has ambitions to create the world's first Human Centipede - essentially, three idiot humans sewn together ass-to mouth, with one shared gastric system. American tourist girls Lindsay (Williams) and Jenny (Yennie) stumble across Doc Heiter's lair after their car breaks down in rural Germany. He drugs them both and introduces them to poor Katsuro (Kitamura) - the head of Heiter's centipede. Ladies, say hello. You'll be swallowing his poop for the remainder of the flick. Well, not swallowing as such; sharing.

Yes. The Human Centipede is a movie in which two out of three protagonists spend over half of the running time with their mouths and noses buried up a butthole/arse-crack. Yummmy. As concepts go, it's as dirty as you can get. In fact, I've seen it advertised elsewhere as an actual porno. 2 GIRLS GO ASS-TO-MOUTH. All you coprophilia fetishists out there will have a great time with The Human Centipede. It's like 2 Girls, 1 Cup or a Dirty Sanchez segment dragged out to feature length.

Unfortunately, that concept is pretty much all you do get. Aside from an excellent performance from Deiter Laser, the first half hour is pretty much all but ruined by the trailer or the opening paragraphs of this review. Like Takashi Miike's Audition, this is a movie best seen with an open mind and no prior knowledge whatsoever. But you've seen the trailer, haven't you? You've probably even seen the Rick Astley remix. There's no tension to any of the stalk and chase scenes, because you know full well what's about to happen. At first, it feels like a faux-Grindhouse trailer dragged out to feature length - great in theory, let down by obviousness and a lack of anything else.

Until you get to the movie's second half, that is. No amount of trailer can prepare you for the actual Human Centipede in its full glory. Just the muffled groans of Jenny and Lindsay is enough to make your stomach churn. To be fair, I think Katsuro gets the best deal of the three, all things considered. And poor poor Lindsay, with a mouthful of ass and an assful of face. The potty scenes might just be the most disgusting thing I've seen since August Underground. For the love of mercy, if you value your appetite, watch it with the volume off.

That's a pretty good assessment for most of the movie, actually. Even when not chewing ass or swallowing shit, the girls are ear-blisteringly horrible. Bad acting is no unusal thing in horror movies, but Williams and Yennie are amongst the worst I've seen in a while. It's hard to bear any hard feelings towards them though. After all, they spend most of the running time sucking bum-cheeks. As the Centipede's voice, Kitamura fares a little better. Even aside from owning a supremely badass name and an awesome pair of sunglasses, Deiter Laser is the movie's trump card. He's scary, imposing and even a bit camp as Doc Heiter, and is easily the best non-Centipede thing in it.

Make no mistake, The Human Centipede is a movie that deserves watching. It's funny, gruesome and a little bit scary, but it's nowhere near the game-changer that the hype might proclaim it to be. Hopefully Six's forthcoming Second Sequence might have a few more tricks up its sleeve. Maybe even a Millipede.


  1. Okay, I didn't actually read your review because I'm seeing this movie in the next couple of days. What I want to comment on is that first picture. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is one of my favourite childhood books. And, um, yeah. Thanks.

  2. Good review. I came to the same conclusion as well. Bad Hostel like premise in the beginning but seeing this human freak show of a human centipede made it a visual WTF.

    It should have went over the edge and thus gained elite cult status. But then again Six is from the Netherlands and I guess he was smoking too much pot.

    Check out my review here:

  3. Ewwwwwww. Ewwwww Ewwwww Ewwwww. This looks nasty beyond words. I hope to never see it...but I know if I ever start watching it, I won't be able to stop. Ewwwwwwwwwww.

  4. Hey, I came here expecting some kind of review hole and I am greatly disappointed. This is much more of a hovel, really. ;)

    But thankfully your review was quite funny. Thanks!