Film / The Human Centipede

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Human_Centipede_poster_7262.jpg
Gives the phrase "eat shit and die" (and the term "ass to mouth") a whole new meaning.
"Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars donít shine."

BRAIN BLEACH WARNING: Just reading about The Human Centipede could make you wish you hadn't. Those of a sensitive disposition should stop now before it's too late. We mean it; the "centipede" here doesn't just refer to a human with too many limbs. You Have Been Warned.

Still with us? Well, don't say we didn't warn you.

In 2010's The Human Centipede: First Sequence (directed by Tom Six), two young American tourists, Lindsay and Jenny, find themselves traveling through Germany when they get a flat tire. They stop for help at the house of Dr. Josef Heiter (Dieter Laser), a surgeon who specializes in separating conjoined twins — and a man with a vision. We'll let you get a cold drink and a comfy seat before we share his vision with you. If you like to drink alcohol, make your drink a stiff one.

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Ready? Here we go.

Heiter dreams of taking separate individuals and stitching them together to create a "human centipede" that shares a single digestive tract. Take a minute to let that sink in if you need to. For the sanity of our readers, we will not describe how he plans to accomplish his goal here, but to bottom line it: Lindsay, Jenny, and a Japanese Tourist named Katsuro have just become his first test subjects.

Billed as "100% medically accurate," The Human Centipede gained plenty of early attention from horror fans and sites due to its depraved premise. (Riding on a wave of graphic European horror films helped the film, too.) The film often receives a mixed reaction from horror fans who can stomach watching it: some believe it went to amazing lengths with its premise, while others feel it relied too heavily on Body Horror at the expense of scaring viewers.

The film found enough success at festivals around the world to warrant a sequel. 2011's The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), filmed and set in England — where the ratings board banned the uncut version until the filmmakers cut almost three minutes of footage — centers around a Psychopathic Manchild named Martin who becomes obsessed enough with the first film to try imitating it; however, this time the centipede is longer than three people. Tom Six says the sequel makes the original film look like My Little Pony; judging by people's reactions to the finished product, the sentiment comes off as legit. While the filmmakers billed the first film as "100% medically accurate", Six described the sequel as "100% medically inaccurate".

Six completed a third movie, The Final Sequence; despite reports of a falling out between Six and actor Dieter Laser, both Laser and Harvey return, but as different characters. It's set in a prison and Eric Roberts, of all people, plays the prison governor. The film was released May 22, 2015.

The films somehow spawned a light-hearted porn parody, The Human Sexipede, and inspired the Season 15 premiere of South Park ("HUMANCENTiPAD"). Someone also got the bright idea to make a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation in Human Centipede: The Musical.


The trilogy as a whole contains examples of:

First Sequence contains examples of:

  • All Animals Are Dogs: Heiter attempts to invoke this with the centipede by trying to get it to fetch the newspaper.
  • And I Must Scream: Lindsay's ultimate fate, with Heiter and the other two members of the "centipede" dead, she is left stuck between two dead bodies with nobody to help her.
  • Asshole Victim: Katsuro, right before he commits suicide, accuses himself of being this.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Heiter" is German for cheerful. Actually, an awful lot of the film is in German and Japanese. Unless you have the DVD subtitles on or know those languages, you're kind of screwed.
  • Body Horror: Heiter goes into graphic detail on what the procedure involves. The cheeks (of the mouth) are cut and grafted onto the cheeks (the other kind) of the person in front of them in such a way that the mouth is enclosed around it and that the person can't even breathe through it, and can't move their jaw without ripping the flesh. Some of the front teeth are also removed so as to facilitate the flow of feces between segments, as are the kneecaps so as to prevent each segment from standing up. Probably the only horror film where you don't even need to see it to be horrified.
  • Break the Cutie: Lindsay and Jenny.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: Roger Ebert refused to give the first film a rating. To be fair, he has done so in the past, for films like Pink Flamingos, where rating a movie would be pointless, as a director or prospective viewers couldn't possibly care about it.
  • Crack Fic: The Huemn Ceniped 2 The Humen Milipede. Perhaps the author went insane after watching the film.
  • Dangerous Key Fumble: Lindsay deliberately drops the keys (for some reason) after locking herself in the doctor's bedroom. She then realizes what a dumb idea this was, when the doctor then appears at the window with a tranquilizer rifle.
  • Daylight Horror: Once the operation is complete, the film gets very bright and sunny visually.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Katsuro finally crosses his after failing an escape attempt and being overcome with guilt, slitting his throat with a shard of glass.
    • Jenny's hysteria over her ordeal climaxes right before the operation as she's being sedated, with her devolving into terrified sobs and pleading for her mother. Once the operation is complete she is noticeably subdued in contrast to Lindsay and remains consigned to her fate up until her death.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The decoy protagonists that the film opens with are not only horribly written characters, but also horribly acted. Not that you wish the horrors they later endure on them, but they're very annoying and unsympathetic. At the very least, you're thankful when the surgery leaves them voiceless.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: An insane German scientist wishes to try a potentially-deadly and Body Horror-ridden experiment on live, human subjects. Whose first name is Josef. It doesn't help that his last name sounds almost like that other Josef's boss.
  • Driven to Suicide: Katsuro.
  • Fan Disservice: Lindsay has some lovely breasts, but the first time you get to see them is also the first time she feeds after the operation. Did I mention she's the middle segment? In general, you've never had less fun watching topless women on all fours.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Heiter has his moments. Especially when the power cuts out and he apologizes.
  • Final Girl: Lindsay survives, though it may have been better if she hadn't.
  • Herr Doctor, Mad Doctor and Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Heiter.
  • Hope Spot: Lindsay's escape attempt. The film goes as far as to literally have her standing in front of the open window contemplating running out before she makes the foolish decision to go back for Jenny.
  • Idiot Ball: Passed around many times, by both good and evil characters. Some examples:
    • Linsday, after freeing herself, dragging Jenny out of the house at a snail's pace instead of running to get help.
    • Katsuro not killing Heiter when he was down and had the chance.
    • Heiter flipping out about the police's accusations, taunting them about not having a search warrant, then jokes about having a torture den in his basement. The writer clearly left no room for guessing as to what was going to happen next.
  • Japanese Tourist: Katsuro.
  • Kill 'em All: Everybody but Lindsay dies.
  • Kill the Cutie: Jenny. May or may not be the case for Lindsay.
  • Left Hanging: Considering that there should have been some police backup the very same day (since two cops didn't report back from Creepy Guy's home), it's odd that there's no mention of Lindsay's fate.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Heiter is strongly implied to be getting off when Lindsay, as the middle segment of the centipede, is "fed" by Katsuro.
  • Obviously Evil: Heiter, good lord. Even Dieter Laser himself admits that he has an ideal "villain face".
  • Plot Hole: How did Heiter get the centipede out of the basement/OR if all he has is a spiral staircase? This becomes quite an issue when the centipede attempts to escape.
  • Recycled In Space: The film is Hostel Part II... with even more Squick!
  • Shown Their Work: The director brought in a surgeon to consult him on how a "human centipede" would function in real life (hence the "100% medically accurate" disclaimer), including suggesting that it would be able to survive for years with an IV drip to provide fluids and nutrients. This trope may also explain why the centipede doesn't last long — almost immediately, Jenny starts dying from blood poisoning.
  • Stock Parody: It's well on its way to this.
  • Tears of Joy: Heiter, once... oh dear god... once it's complete.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jenny & Lindsay, rather than staying on the road like any rational human being, decide to walk into the woods (at night) in the middle of nowhere Germany.
    • In his review, Brad Jones points out that given how Obviously Evil Heiter was, it was incredibly stupid of the women to accept drinks from an open container from him.
    • Or just driving on the flat tire since the car still ran. If they were smart, they would have paid for the insurance; so they could total it if they had to.
  • Villain Protagonist: Heiter, a crazy, Nazi-esque Mad Scientist.

Full Sequence contains examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: The ending seems to imply that Martin simply daydreamed it all...
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Martin's doctor theorizes that he is obsessed with centipedes because they are a violent phallic symbol and that he associates them with being sexually abused by his father.
  • As Himself: Ashlynn Yennie, who played Lindsay in First Sequence, appears as herself.
  • Ass Shove: Martin ends up on the receiving end of this when Yennie finally snaps.
  • Asshole Victim: A good portion of Martin's victims are people who have wronged him somehow: his mother, his psychiatrist, the rude couple at the beginning, the skinhead upstairs neighbor, etc.
  • Body Horror: Even worse than the previous film. Instead of actual medical instruments, things like staple guns and duct tape are used to graft each victim to the next. As if that wasn't bad enough, the villain forming the centipede ends up ripping out a girl's tongue to cease their screaming, and also ends up raping the person at the end with his genitals covered in barbed wire.
  • Creepy Centipedes: Besides the titular abomination, Martin also has an actual pet centipede that plays this trope straight.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The director felt it was scarier in monochrome.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Martin, especially in the scene with the rude boyfriend at the beginning and later on with his mother and their skinhead neighbor.
    • Then there's Yennie, who, in a fit of adrenaline-induced rage, grabs the funnel Martin used to force-feed her earlier, shoves it into his ass, before grabbing his pet centipede and inserting it into the funnel.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: A twisted version. Despite his obvious insanity and cruelty, Martin doesn't actually intend to kill his victims. When he does do it, or thinks he does, he becomes very upset, tries desperately to revive them, and actually cries when he fails (or thinks he did, in the case of the pregnant woman). Whether this is because, in his own twisted way, he feels bad for killing them, or is just upset they can't be used in his "centipede" is open to interpretation.
  • Fan Disservice: Martin strips all of his victim naked, including some fairly attractive men and women, though the setting and the context is utterly unsexy.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Sebring, Martin's psychiatrist, has a bit of this going on himself, considering he has sex with hookers and wants to rape Martin, his mentally disabled patient.
  • Jack the Ripoff: Martin's obsession with the first film inspires him to create his own Human Centipede.
  • Kill 'em All: Martin shoots everyone after the centipede splits in half.
  • Laxative Prank: Done to horrifying and nauseating effect, when Martin injects each of his victims with a laxative syringe, forcing each of them to have explosive bowel evacuations into the mouth of the unlucky person behind them.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Martin became sexually obsessed with the original film and resolved to create a Human Centipede of his own.
  • No Social Skills: Taken Up to Eleven by the mentally-handicapped Martin, who has poor hygiene, problems making eye contact, and is apparently nonverbal.
  • Sequel Escalation: If the first film was too much to stomach, do not watch the second film. Not only are the means of assembling much more rudimentary and unprofessional, but there are more people involved. Additionally, the villain does some horrific things to his victims for basically no reason. In the words of the director, it makes the original look like My Little Pony.
  • Silence Is Golden: Martin never speaks any actual words, and in the second half of the film dialogue is replaced by the cries and moans of the victims.
  • Silent Protagonist: Martin never says a word onscreen. He is intimated to have talked and makes phone calls offscreen (we only see him checking his messages on his phone), so he can speak, but aside from some grunts, he otherwise is completely silent.
  • Tongue Trauma: Martin rips out Ashlynn's tongue with pliers after he gets annoyed with her screaming.
  • Villain Protagonist: Martin, a mentally challenged pervert who is inspired by the original film to commit truly horrific crimes.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: To some extent, Martin is this. He was sexually abused by his father, who went to prison because of it. And his equally horrible mother actually blames Martin for her husband's arrest and treats him like garbage. His psychiatrist Dr. Sebring pretends to be his friend but actually wants to sexually take advantage of him. And most people's first reaction to him, even when he hasn't done anything, is to insult and belittle him. While there is no excuse for the actions Martin takes, it's nonetheless easy to see how all of this can combine to finally make Martin snap and lose himself in grotesque fantasy, and want to enact that fantasy on the people who've wronged him. By the time he actually sets to work, he's so deeply involved in his mania he also targets innocents.

Final Sequence contains examples of:

  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The theme song for the Japanese version is "Krazy" by Raychell feat. RICKY & RABBIE.
  • As Himself: Director Tom Six plays himself.
  • Ascended Meme: Deiter Laser's character again screams "swallow it bitch!" though this time he's ordering Bree Olson's character to swallow his semen.
  • Asshole Victim: The victims are all convicted criminals.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Deranged prison warden Bill Boss not only succeeds in making over 500 convicts into a human centipede, but he also convinces Governor Hughes that making prison inmates into a human centipede is "what America needs".
  • Body Horror: Toned down from the last film somewhat (though still worse than the original), simply stitching them from ass to mouth without grafting their skin to each other or removing their teeth and kneecaps. After all, prisoners have a finite sentence, and they eventually have to leave prison without disfigurement. The exception is for death row inmates and those serving life sentences, who get turned into a "Human Caterpillar" — not only are they given the full surgery described above, but they also have their arms and legs removed. Unrelated to the centipede are the imported dried clitorises.
  • Brand X: Bill Boss drinks Cirrhosis brand whiskey.
  • Butt Monkey: Daisy. She's regularly sexually harassed and forced to fellate Bill Boss in exchange for getting her father out of prison. During the riot, Boss instantly locks her out of his office, and she is brutally beaten into a coma by the inmates. While unconscious, Boss rapes her and then has her integrated into the centipede for no apparent reason.
  • Daylight Horror: The prison is located in a very sunny desert.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Dwight, who suggests the idea for the centipede in the first place, still objects to Boss's various additions such as removing the limbs of death row prisoners to form a "Human Caterpillar" and including an innocent Daisy in the centipede.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Bill Boss eats dried clitorises and medium rare testicles.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: There's one insane inmate who eats his own feces and actually wants to be part of the Centipede.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Bill Boss plans to make all of the prison inmates into a human centipede. He kills two inmates that can't be used in the procedure, one because he has a stoma and another because he is disabled. Boss also finds a mentally unstable inmate eating his own feces and wanting to be part of the human centipede, but Boss kills him because he doesn't want anyone to enjoy being part of the human centipede.
  • Sequel Escalation: Subverted. The third film is Lighter and Softer compared to the previous film. Not only are the victims unsympathetic prison inmates, there are way too many of them in the centipede to possibly take seriously, and the violence shown is so outrageously over the top that it becomes a farce. The actual surgical procedure is much closer to the original than the first sequel, as it is again performed by medical professionals. Furthermore, there's much more emphasis on Black Comedy then the previous films. Also, casting a prominent porn star in a main role and having "The Star Spangled Banner" playing over the end credits also tend to distract from any attempt at seriousness.
  • Shoutout: There are references the South Park episode "HUMANCENTiPAD" and the porn parody The Human Sexipede. Also, the inmate played by Akihiro Kitamura (who played Katsuro in the original) says that the film "occupies a world where the stars don't shine," which is a quote from Roger Ebert's scathing review of the first film.
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: There's one mentally unstable inmate who eats his own feces and wants to become part of the Centipede. Bill shoots him, as being part of the Centipede is meant to be a punishment, not something to be enjoyed
  • Villain Protagonist: Bill Boss, a racist and misogynistic prison warden who is inspired by the Human Centipede films to make all of his prisoners into a gigantic human centipede made of about 500 people.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Bill Boss. An unusual example in that he is also pathetic and the inmates do not fear him, despite his violent sociopathy.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TheHumanCentipede