Film / The Human Centipede
Gives the phrase "eat shit and die" (and the term "ass to mouth") a whole new meaning.
Randall: You've never gone ass-to-mouth?
Dante: You never go ass-to-mouth!

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.




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.

Provides Examples Of:

  • All Animals Are Dogs: Heiter attempts to invoke this with the centipede by trying to get it to fetch the newspaper.
  • All Just a Dream: The ending of the sequel seems to imply that Martin simply daydreamed it all.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The theme song for the Japanese version of The Final Sequence is "Krazy" by Raychell feat. RICKY & RABBIE.
  • And I Must Scream: Well, you can scream... it's just that you can only scream up someone's ass. This is also Lindsay's ultimate fate, with Heiter and the other two members of the "centipede" dead, leaving her stuck between two dead bodies with nobody to help her.
    • In the sequel, the same applies, with Miss Yennie being the only one in the centipede to scream clearly. Martin finds this annoying, so he resorts to pulling out her tongue with pliers.
  • As Herself: Ashlynn Yennie appears as "Miss Yennie" in the second film.
  • As Himself: Tom Six plays himself in Final Sequence.
  • Ass Shove: Martin ends up on the receiving end of this when Yennie finally snaps.
  • Asshole Victim: A good portion of Martin's victims in the sequel are people who have wronged him somehow: his mother, his psychiatrist, the rude couple at the beginning, the skinhead upstairs neighbor, etc.
    • Katsuro, right before he kills himself, accuses himself of being this
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: The actor playing Dr. Heiter is called Dieter Laser.
    • The actor playing Detective Voller is named Peter Blankenstein.
  • Ax-Crazy: Heiter. No explanation needed.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The third film has deranged prison warden Bill Boss not only succeed 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".
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Heiter" is German for cheerful.
    • An awful lot of the first film is in German and Japanese. Unless you have the DVD subtitles on or know those languages, you're kind of screwed.
  • Body Horror: Good lord. They even go 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.
    • Full Sequence is even worse. Instead of actual medical instruments, stuff 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.
    • Final Sequence tones it down somewhat, 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.
      • There's also the imported dried clitorises. Eugh.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Somewhat inverted in Final Sequence- the head of the 500 man centipede is a black inmate. In the event that this centipede ends as fatally as previous ones have, he will undoubtedly be the last man standing (or kneeling).
  • 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 such as this and Pink Flamingos, where rating a movie would be pointless, as a director or prospective viewers couldn't possibly care about it.
    • On the other hand, he gave the sequel zero stars, because it was "reprehensible, dismaying, ugly, artless and an affront to any notion, however remote, of human decency."
  • Chewing the Scenery: Dieter Laser in the first film. In the third one, he doesn't just chew it. He pulverises it and digests it.
  • Crack Fic: The Huemn Ceniped 2 The Humen Milipede. Perhaps the author went insane after watching the film.
  • Creepy Centipedes: Not the literal one but close enough....
    • Played straight with Martin's pet centipede in the sequel.
  • 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.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The second film, because the director felt it was scarier in monochrome.
    • Plus, if it was in color, it most likely would have been edited down more than it already was in monochrome.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Driven to Suicide: Katsuro.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: A twisted version in Full Sequence. 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.
    • Dwight from Final Sequence, 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 Millipede" and including an innocent Daisy in the centipede.
  • Evil Old Folks: Heiter.
  • 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: Yennie is implied to have survived the second film.
    • Lindsay in the original.
  • Flesh Golem: Technically, since the titular human centipede is constructed by sewing people together ass-to-mouth.
  • Force Feeding
  • For the Evulz
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Sort of. Both female segments are topless for most of the movie, though the camera never focuses on this.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Centipede...
  • Gorn
  • Herr Doctor, Mad Doctor and Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Heiter.
    • Dr. Sebring, Martin's psychiatrist in Full Sequence, has a bit of Morally Ambiguous Doctorate going on, himself, considering he wants to rape Martin.
  • 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.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Goes without saying, really.
  • 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.
  • Jack the Ripoff: In Full Sequence, the first film inspires Martin to create his own Human Centipede.
  • Japanese Tourist: Katsuro.
  • Kill 'em All
  • Kill the Cutie: Jenny. May or may not be the case for Lindsay.
  • Knee Capping
  • Large Ham: Dieter Laser is clearly having a lot of fun.
    YOU WANT BITE? YOU CAN BITE ZIS! (whilst gesturing to brand new combat boots)
  • Laxative Prank: Done to horrifying and nauseating effect in the second film, where 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.
  • 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.
  • Mad Doctor: Heiter. IN SPADES. Well, he is named Josef...
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • In the first film, Heiter is strongly implied to be getting off when Lindsay, as the "middle" part of the centipede, is "fed" by Katsuro.
    • Martin, the villain of Full Sequence, became sexually obsessed with the original film (which is a Film Within a Film in the sequel's universe), and resolved to create a Human Centipede of his own.
    • This Australian trailer for the film depicts several people's reactions to the film. Most of them are rightfully shocked... but one is shown to be masturbating.
    • Final Sequence has one insane inmate who eats his own feces and actually wants to be part of the Centipede.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Then again, considering the nature of the film, it's probably for the best.
  • No Social Skills: Heiter. "Are you alone? Are you relatives? I don't like human beings..."
  • Obviously Evil: Heiter, good lord. Even Dieter Laser himself admits that he has an ideal "villain face".
  • Parallel Porn Titles: A porn parody is in the works: The Human Sex-ipede. Though the director claims that it will be more slapstick than scat.
    • The script is actually quite funny, mostly due to the parody element.
  • 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.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In the third film, 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.
  • Recursive Reality: In third movie, the first movie becomes a movie within a movie within a movie.
  • Recycled In Space: It's Hostel Part II... with even more Squick!
  • Serial Escalation: The first movie has three people sewn together ass to mouth and the sequel has TWELVE PEOPLE. The third one is slated to have FIVE HUNDRED PEOPLE!!!!.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Show Within a Show: The first film to the second film. Both of the first two films for the third film.
  • Silence Is Golden: Martin, the second film's protagonist, 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 in the sequel. 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.
  • Stock Parody: It's well on its way to this (see the trope heading for details).
  • Stupid Evil: Heiter. See Idiot Ball.
  • Tag Line: Which doubles as a Running Gag:
    • First Sequence is "100% Medically Accurate".
    • Full Sequence is "100% Medically Inaccurate".
    • Final Sequence is "100% Politically Incorrect".
  • Take That, Critics!: At least one reviewer sees the sequel as a Take That towards the critics of the first film and those who took it too seriously.
  • Tears of Joy: Heiter, once... oh dear god... once it's complete.
  • Tongue Trauma: In the second film, Martin rips out Ashlynn's tongue with pliers after he gets annoyed with her screaming.
  • 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.
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: In Final Sequence, 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.
  • Torture Porn: One of the more profilic examples right before the genre went down the chute.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Complete inversion for the sequel. The trailer shows absolutely NO footage of the movie, or even say what it will be like. What's the point?
    • There's probably not enough showable movie. Let that sink in for a minute...
    • Actually, there was a second trailer released that did show clips from the film for two minutes.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Dieter Laser (Heiter, Boss) sports an impressive pair.
  • Villain Protagonist:
    • Heiter is the only character in the movie who gets, well, any kind of character. See Decoy Protagonist.
    • And then there's Martin from Full Sequence.
    • The third film stars Bill Boss, a racist and misogynist 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.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot
  • The Voiceless: Detective Voller in First Sequence.
    • Martin may never speak in Full Sequence, but he makes some... interesting noises.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Bill Boss.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: To some extent, Martin is this in Full Sequence. 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.
  • The Worm That Walks: Inverted.