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August 26th 2010

Human Centipede
Director: Tom Six | Run time: 92 min

Reviewed by Colin Dibben

Sometimes a horror film transcends genre and becomes a statement about life - and that's the only way I can think about the experience that is Tom Six's The Human Centipede (First Sequence).  Some misanthrope materialist like Louise Ferdinand Celine or Max Stirner once asked why we attend to utterances from the buccal sphincter while trying our outmost to disject matter issuing from the anal sphincter: for, reduce mobility, forget reproduction and humans are little more that digestive tracts topped and tailed by sphincters.

The Human Centipede’s main character – a retired surgeon – seems to believe something like that. Because he sets about creating a three person digestive tract by surgically stapling three people together, bumhole to mouth. After smashing out teeth and making other surgical alterations that his victims are talked through during the film.

The film and the treatment meted out to the characters constitute a perfect essay in human humiliation, filmed in a cold, clinical style. The film may mark the beginning of a new type of horror, as the more you think about the abject brilliance of the premise the more you wonder why no-one thought of it before. The end presents the viewer with a situation that is so truly horrific that once again we are reminded that this is more than a genre film – it’s a way of thinking about life.


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