The Human Centipede (Full Sequence) is presented 1.78:1 and in black-and-white via AVC, barring a sudden shower of turgid brown during one particular sequence. How very droll.
The “Monster Pictures” logo at the start is awash with banding, which isn't all that unusual for a logo … but, sadly, this banding becomes prevalent throughout the film too. Now, I know that my copy is just a PR disc, but I can't really imagine that the retail copy will look any different. But, you never know. I found the banding that flutters about in the greys to be quite distracting at times.
The transfer is stark yet squalid. Contrast is deliberately heavy and oppressive, and the image feels thick and sweaty, rather than crisp and clear. Blacks are oozing and muddy. They don't engulf the film, but they do occupy large swathes of it with an appropriate grunge. Whites are not blown-out, and the grey scale is smooth. Depth is not very good, however, which means that the image is mostly flat and uninvolving. Scenes down in the underground car park refuse to lend any three-dimensionality, and the majority of the film is set in the confines of the warehouse, where a peculiar attention to close-ups dominates the action.
If grain is present then it is very fine indeed. But this is not DNR'd and the image, itself, is certainly very detailed. In fact, you may not, in this case, appreciate the level of detail on offer … but you'll certainly be happy that it is predominantly monochromatic. We have facial texture, and there is clinical severity to the variety of wounds and mutilations, such as the tooth-pulling, knee-slicing, the mangled head on the old girl back home that has been repeatedly squished, the occasional bullet-holes through noggins, and let's not forget the splashy excreta. We can clearly see the sweat beading on Martin's fat face; the intricate and wiry fuzz that festoons the psychologist's chin (he looks like a super-hairy Tom Noonan); the smears of blood and crap across backsides, faces, walls, the floor and even the gobbets splashed on the camera lens. Yes, detail is very good. That splash of brown, though, doesn't actually look all that authentic. It actually looks like CG.
I had no problem with edge enhancement or smearing of the, um, digital variety. I detected no shimmering or aliasing either. But the banding is certainly cause for some concern.
There's not much to say about the audio at all. It comes via DTS-HD MA stereo surround and doesn't pump all that much activity about. We get some thunder that filters back, and the brief moments of ominous score that resonant across the soundscape. The thumping music that Martin's thuggish upstairs neighbour plays comes through loud and clear, but is also convincingly muffled in the mix by that ceiling. You do feel like banging on the ceiling yourself, to be honest.
Dialogue is subdued. There isn't much of it anyway, most of the track is filled with moaning and groaning, and Martin's weird whimpers and cackles. There's no problem understanding any of it, however. It is just dialled low in the mix – a prime example would be when the thug from upstairs comes down and hurls abuse at Martin and his mother. His obscenities and threats are dulled and muted although he is clearly ranting at the pair of them.
We have gunshots and the sound of impacts – most usually from heads getting bashed-in. Once again, these are dialled-lower in the mix than you might expect, but given the lack of bombast elsewhere, still come through with an agreeable enough wallop and clarity.
So, unlike the film, which sets out to shock, the audio is actually very restrained.
Well, I suppose this is where the surprise comes in. Considering the turmoil and controversy that surrounds the film, there is precious little here to examine it in any detail.
One poxy Deleted Scene that has Martin barking at a dog, a rather inept and unwanted Foley Session, in which we hear how one gruelling scene was given sound, nine minutes of Behind the Scenes footage that reveals the bizarre on-set techniques of a group of performers all going ass-to-mouth, and pays particular attention to showing us the fabrication of those prosthetic derrières and chew-on butt-plugs (all in black-and-white), and then just one 12-minute interview with the Sixer, himself … and his dog.
Trust me, you'll learn nothing worthwhile from any of this, least of all from Six. I wonder what the other Five were like.
A poor selection, overall.
Human Centipede 2? You can kiss my … and eat ...
The BBFC backtrack their own arguments, put their mouth to Tom Six's ass by releasing The Human Centipede 2 on to home video, courtesy of Eureka, and pucker-up. Outrageous concept aside, I have nothing against this film other than the fact that it is complete rubbish and absolutely lacking in tension, suspense or “genuine”style. Its squalid nature is utterly contrived and most of its cast perform in an utter void of talent. Gore and shock fans will be drawn to it, like I was, but I can assure them that they will be immensely disappointed even if they wait for the full uncut version to surface. No amount of convincing prosthetic make-up FX or relentless torture and abuse is going to constitute entertainment when the film is so irredeemably boring and thrill-less. I have seen the fullest version that is currently “obtainable” and this cut down variant is a pure abomination on a fundamental level. When the very reasons that the film was made, and the things that you expected to see, have been removed … what the hell is the point of watching it?
An reasonably good transfer notwithstanding, I cannot possibly recommend this film to anyone. I am not personally troubled by the subject matter, it is too blatantly ridiculous to and over-the-top to be upsetting in any way, but I abhor pretentious filmmaking by people who are just out to make a name for themselves, and I totally do not advocate censorial cuts to films that have been made for adults to watch. So, I can find no merits in this release at all.
If you want to be properly shocked by something, go see Simon Rumley's devastating revenger Red, White & Blue instead, which is an amazingly powerful movie, or even A Serbian Film if you want to stick with the wilfully controversial. Both are marvellously well-made and acted, and actually wrestle with genuine concerns amidst the carnage. This is best seen as a grotesque comedy, but it is Tom Six who is having the last laugh. He is prepping the third instalment, or segment, right now – which will probably be in 3D smell-o-vision or, hey, how about Celebrity Human Centipede !!!!! Wow, bet you'd all watch that though, wouldn't you?
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