Directed by: Tom Six
All right! I change my initial verdict. The one I had before watching the movie was wrong. The Human Centipede II falls right into the same mould as I found Eli Roth’s Hostel versus Hostel 2 to fall into. The initial movies didn’t do much for me, I found them lacking, insulting and not worth the extensive hype that they came with… They where pretty poor genre pieces in my eyes, and complete disappointments… But then Roth seemed to have taken everything I didn’t like with the initial movie and dumped it when he made the second, which came off a much better film. This is exactly the same way I feel about The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence). Everything I didn’t like with the initial instalment is gone, and instead Tom Six came out with a movie that definitely is a much more provocative film, a much more character invested film, and undoubtedly a much more disturbing film. The Human Centipede II is a much better film than it's predecessor!
Martin Lomax [Laurence R. Harvey] is a sad sod indeed. He’s a mentally challenged, short grown man who spends his nights as a night watchman in a parking lot. He’s completely obsessed with Tom Six The Human Centipede and has decided that he’s gong to out centipede Six, with a human centipede of his own consisting of a dozen people.
Ok, so how do you create a monster? Well, you can go stereotype as Six did in his first part, but that would leave you with a pretty shallow beast – The Evil Ex Nazi doctor. But when it comes to Martin, there’s no holds barred. Martin is as mentioned mentally challenged, asthmatic, obese, and suffering from an obvious gland problem as he’s always sweating profusely. He’s the victim of child abuse, and still victimized by his Mother [Vivien Bridson] and her friend Doctor Sebring [Bill Hutchens]. His mother is manically depressed as she holds Martin responsible for her beloved husbands incarceration in prison. She keeps Martin in an evil and abusive grip as she constantly threatens to take his and her lives, and tries to make this happen on several occasions… There’s no doubt about it, Martin is a scarred man, and his only two pleasures in life are his pet centipede and that damned movie he’s totally obsessed with. With Martin, Tom Six has created a fascinating genre character. When Martin get’s overexcited - whilst watching the movie for the umpteenth time - I feel pity for him as he solis his pants in excitement, and when he shoots the lurid Doctor in the genitals, I cheer him on. That’s the power of creating a fiend with dimension.
After his Mother destroys his totem-like scrapbook of The Human Centipede, it’s crowbar to the head all around. Mom, the abusive neighbour [, and the creepy Doctor, are all taken care of, and with this detachment from his “ordinary world” it’s time to set the plan in motion – A twelve piece human centipede.
The Meta aspect of The Human Centipede II works really well. Martin being obsessed, no I’d rather say, possessed with Six film. Repeatedly watching it. Using it as an assembly manual, and also his budding nervosity with meeting Ahslynn Yennie – who he via her agent tricks into believing she’s going to an audition for a Tarantino flick, only to put her as the head of his creation. I really like what the soundtrack does for the film. It’s an industrial groaning throughout the movie – much like David Lynch’s Eraserhead – and without a rhythm to the noise, it becomes part of the world Martin lives in. It’s quite possible it’s the sound Martin hears in his head… something that may be closer to the truth than you imagined.
The stuff we didn’t see in part one is all shown here. As soon as Martin cuts the clothes off his first female victim and leaves her writhing naked on the cold wet floor of the abandoned warehouse, it’s apparent Six isn’t going to hide anything from us this time around. Teeth are hammered out, knives slice through flesh, tongues are ripped out with pliers, genitalia is mutilated for pleasure – and this time there’s no, sterile home hospital with anesthesia, anywhere to be seen.
Where the first movie really didn’t generate much engagement – The Human Centipede II works in a baleful kind of way that reminds me of Laugier’s diabolical Martyrs, where I find myself wanting the cult to succeed in killing Anna [Morjana Alajoui] so that I can find out what actually happens when she reaches the state of martyrdom. The same kind of manipulative narrative grabs me here, and I really become engaged in Martin’s macabre and perverse project. I want to see him succeed… even if Martins motivation to create the medical monstrosity is merely to satisfy his faecal fetish.
As Martin reaches his goal he looses all of the emotional recognition that has been built up for the character, and Six can push the movie right into a baleful nightmare. It reaches a climactic orgasm of depravity and atrocity, which Six delivers in the most shocking ways. All the pity we’ve felt for and Martin makes the last act a devastating one, and the impact is immense something I found the first instalment never even being close to. The old rules of tell then show, can be applied if you look at the two films together. Where he first told, he really shows it all in the sequel.
Laurence R. Harvey gives one hell of a show, and it really is a stand out performance. If I hadn’t seen the Making of material and seen him conversing with Six and other cast members, I would have taken him for a real mentally challenged person. That’s how convincing his performance is. I also like when movies have the balls to dig right in there and just let story develop on it’s own. The movie has no opening titles, no initial attack, no wasting time. When Coppola opted against opening credits on Apocalypse Now, he was looking for a more documentary tone to his film. I’d say the same goes for The Human Centipede II which with it’s black and white cinematography (only faeces is shown in colour), hand held camera and quick start into the mind of Martin works in the same way.
You could call the “fictional movie” to be the initial attack if you want one, and you could also call it the inciting incident – it’s what makes Martin take up his quest. The point of no return is when he frees himself of the chains that keep him from putting his plan in motion. There’s character development, the movie relies heavily on a degradation plot, and the last act will scar you – and make your ass itch.
The last scene is a somewhat ambiguous one that leaves the audience with confusion as to what they just witnessed. It works in a cunning and subtle way, and leaves questions with the audience that they have to answer themselves. Answers that will reflect how you have invested in the narrative and how you value the acts you just witnessed. It could be interpreted as a quickfix to wrap up the movie, and I’m sure someone’s yapped about that in their reviews. But I really like movies that challenge their audience – i.e. making me want bad things to happen – and with the closing images, I find that Tom Six justifies Martin and brings everything back down to earth. Knowing that Martin’s character will return in the proposed The Human Centipede III, I find myself looking forward to where Six will take Martin, and the evolution of the Centipede.
I stand corrected! Despite not finding much shocking about the original movie, this sequel shines a completely new light on Tom Six as far as I’m concerned. This movie is a well-conducted exercise that proves he does know how to creep the fuck out of an audience, and The Human Centipede II is unquestionably an unsanitary melting pot of insanity and provocative genre.