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 has completed principal photography on a third movie, and despite reports of a falling out between Six and actor Dieter Laser, both Laser and Harvey will return, but as different characters. It will be set in a prison and Eric Roberts, of all people, is to play the prison governor. The film is currently in post-production in Amsterdam and is due for release in 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.
  • 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 sequel.
  • 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.
  • 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 teeth are also removed. 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 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Evil Old Folks: Heiter.
  • Expy: Full Sequence will feature a mad doctor with a cardboard box, punctured with one eye-hole, on his head.
  • 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.
  • Flesh Golem
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!!!!.
  • 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.
  • 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: See And I Must Scream.
  • 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.
  • Torture Porn
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot
  • The Voiceless: Detective Voller in First Sequence.
    • Martin may never speak in Full Sequence, but he makes some... interesting noises.
  • 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.