Thoughts on The Human Centipede

Tuesday July 6th 2010


I was surprised to see the notorious Dutch horror movie The Human Centipede (First Sequence) receive a BBFC rating last week; there was so much fuss about it a few months back that I assumed it had already come and gone in UK cinemas. As it turns out, it’s due for a limited release by Bounty Films on the 20th August.

You’re probably already familiar with the basic premise of the film. It’s knowingly provocative central gimmick ensured that it was circulated far beyond the reaches of your average low-budget Dutch export, spawning numerous ‘LOOK HOW DARING WE ARE FOR WRITING ABOUT THIS FILM’-style posts on various US movie blogs, not to mention the outrage pieces in tabloids around the world.

And that was before the Facebook statuses starting piling up:

The distributors lapped it up, immediately releasing several million press releases full of quotes from disgusted critics, columnists and anyone else they could find over the age of forty five.

The latest press release even offers the bemusing fact that:

‘the film has the distinction of being 100% medically accurate’

Is that really a distinction? Surely the majority of films are medically accurate. Looking at a random sample of my DVD shelf, I don’t remember being particularly offended by the medical inaccuracies of Hidden, Mean Girls or One Hour Photo. (Yes, my alphabetisation has gone to shit.)

At the end of the day, writing about a movie I haven’t actually seen is a bit pointless, but from what I hear, The Human Centipede isn’t much more than your average formulaic horror movie once you get past the aren’t-we-disgusting sales pitch. In which case, it seems a shame that its trailer has 4 million views on YouTube and The House of the Devil has only just passed the 500,000 mark.