Monday, May 17, 2010

The Human Centipede or "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing"

Anyone will tell you that film violence, and in particular that which pops up in horror movies is deeply rooted in some sort of Freudian eros/thanatos complex; it all taps into some deep-seated subconscious deathwish we have. Violence is titilating and that's why audiences have been turning up in droves to scary movies for the better part of a century. Being scared is one of those things that one would really think people would do their best to steer clear of at all costs but people will still shell out nine dollars to spend an hour and a half in abject terror on weekends throughout the calender year.

You've probably also heard the old simile "It's like a trainwreck: I don't want to look but I can't turn away." I'm not sure if this or the former best describes the newest cult horror sensation the Human Centipede. I hope it's the latter for the sake of my sanity. If there's some part of my psyche buried deep in my brain that secretly wants to have my digestive system surgically attached to two other human beings...God, I just don't want to think about it.

This weekend now past I went to go and see Dutch director Tom Six's Human Centipede at a late night show. It had made the midnight rounds in Minneapolis the weekend previous and I had made some sort of mild resolution to see it. After all, I'm Charge Shot!!!'s resident horror movie expert and have a great love for and abiding fascination with cult cinema. But even after weeks of psyching myself up, I couldn't pull the mental trigger to go and see it; it just sounded too horrifying. I thankfully had obligations to go to a wedding that weekend and was thus unable to attend the showing. I breathed a sigh of relief; I was spared a terrifying ordeal not through my own cowardice but through social obligations. I was not a coward and a fink, just a responsible adult.

But then they scheduled an encore. Human Centipede was so successful in its cross-country midnight premiere over the past month that popular demand forced more showings. And thus was I driven to sack up and experience the gross-out horror of the Human Centipede.

For those of you mercifully unaware of what the Human Centipede is, it's a movie that sounds like it was dreamt up by Method Man and Raekwon after they had smoked a few bowels. A couple of cute American coeds (who else?) get a flat tire on a sexy European vacation (a "Eurotrip" if you will) in Germany and stumble upon the isolated home of the creepy Dr. Josef Heiter (played by Dieter Laser, who has the best name ever and will now take up the mantle of the Udo Kier of the 2010's) a Mengelesque surgeon specializing in the separation of siamese twins. Unfortuately for the girls, Heiter has an obsession with not just splitting siamese twins, but with attaching people to form the titular creature. He will remove their and a Japanese captive's kneecaps so they are forced to walk around on all fours and attach them anus-to-mouth-anus-to-mouth in the unholy guise of that most disgusting of arthropods.

Yes, I saw a movie that had the premise of how fucked up it would be if your mouth was sewed onto somebody's ass.

Human Centipede is a movie that is high on gross-outs and dread, you know what's coming and you feel sick to your stomach the whole time. And yet, you watch it anyway, just to say you did. It's like eating a hundred of the hottest wings at your local bar: you don't really like the taste of overly-buffaloed buffalo wings, even if you do enjoy normal buffalo wings, but you really want your sauce-tainted picture on the wall wearing a t-shirt that says "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing."

I can't say I enjoyed Human Centipede in the traditional sense: I just felt terrible the entire time and the occasional forays into dark humor, while welcome, weren't enough to stave off the disgust I felt running over every inch of my very being during this thing. I'm sort of perversely proud of myself for seeing this thing, just like that gigantic pile of buffalo wings. I may be a revolting slob, but I'm the revolting slob with his picture on the wall at Pokey's Tavern.

If the Human Centipede crawls through your town any time soon, give it a look. It's also available on demand so you can experience it in the comfort of your own home. Well, relative comfort.