If you haven’t yet heard about the twisted premise underlying Dutch director Tom Six’s “thriller” The Human Centipede, take a moment to imagine what it might entail. Now imagine something a little bit worse. And then probably a little worse than that. Got an image in your mind? “But wait,” you think, “that’s much too depraved to be put on film… and even if you somehow managed it, how would you make an entire feature film on that image alone?” First, you’re right, it is indeed depraved, and second, if nothing else, Six adequately fills 92 minutes with a standard horror plotline to augment his disturbingly grisly central imagery.

Okay, let me stop for a second, on the off chance that you don’t know what The Human Centipede is and that you can’t imagine it. Picture this: a diabolical (in the true sense of the word) retired doctor, once famous for separating Siamese twins, gets it into his head that what he’d really like to do is not to separate but to JOIN human beings. But he wouldn’t like to join them side to side – no, no no,  he’d like to join them via their digestive systems. In essence, he’d like to line three humans up ass to mouth to ass to mouth. If this doesn’t create a clear enough picture for you, the devilish doctor shows plenty of medical sketches early on to make sure you understand the procedure. And if the medical sketches aren’t clear enough… well, let’s just say you’ll have enough visuals by the end of the film to be more than clear on what’s happening.

The story starts with two American tourists in Germany. They’re on their way to a party when their car gets a flat tire and they find themselves stranded on a deserted road in a storm. And unfortunately for them the nearest house, when they go looking for help – in typical horror movie fashion – is the home of the disturbed doctor. But the trouble that besets the girls – following the drinking of some Rohipnol-laced water – is beyond anything even Eli Roth or Quentin Tarantino have yet punished their characters with.

There’s plenty of gore here (for those that like that kind of thing) but there’s no tongue-in-cheek pleasure to be had from the over-the-top torture that the girls (along with a Japanese businessman) suffer through (for those who enjoy THAT kind of thing). This is torture porn that takes itself seriously. And if you don’t find yourself feeling a bit queasy, then you’re probably not paying attention. Even without the obviously disturbing imagery, each painfully sniffled breath, each muffled cry of despair is stomach churning.

The catchphrase for The Human Centipede is “100% Medically Accurate.” And a sequel is already in the works – a sequel in which Six claims 12 people will be chained together, a sequel that will make The Human Centipede seem like “My Little Pony,” a sequel that will be “100% Medically Inaccurate.” While I will unabashedly admit to enjoying The Human Centipede – though no more or less than other horror movies of the same caliber – I can’t say that I’m anticipating a sequel that’s ostensibly more stomach churning. Tom Six says in the director interview included on this DVD that he’s not interested in making movies that maintain the status quo – a movie that people walk out of and forget, asking “what’s for dinner?” immediately afterward. Believe me, you won’t be asking what’s for dinner after The Human Centipede.

German actor Dieter Laser is captivating as the villain.

Zach’s Rating: B-
Perfect For: Horror fans who want to know what the fuss is all about
Stay Away if: You have any qualms about witnessing physical pain

To purchase The Human Centipede, visit Amazon

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