Tom Six‘s film The Human Centipede (First Sequence) became almost immediately notorious for featuring a mad scientist surgeon who kidnaps people and sews them together, end to end, to create a ‘human centipede.’ The film is fairly nasty, although in the end perhaps not quite as insane as the general concept led us all to believe.
The director has been working on a sequel, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), which he promised would be far more of an endurance test. And now we seem to have proof that he wasn’t putting up a front. The film has gone before the UK film board, which denied it any possibility of release, based on “a strong focus throughout on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure.”
The info delivered from the UK film board will probably be taken in different ways by different audiences. The ban might be the film’s best possible marketing for audiences that thought the first movie was too tame. For everyone else, however, it could stand as an explicit warning that this film might not be for you.
Here’s what the British Board of Film Classification has to say about the film, as reported by Empire. Note that the next couple paragraphs are severely spoilerish. The plot revealed below suggests that there is some attempt in the plot of the second film to talk about the possibility of violent content impacting viewers, but whether or not the conversation works in the context of the film is something we can’t determine without seeing it.
This new work, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), tells the story of a man who becomes sexually obsessed with a DVD recording of the first film and who imagines putting the ‘centipede’ idea into practice. Unlike the first film, the sequel presents graphic images of sexual violence, forced defecation, and mutilation, and the viewer is invited to witness events from the perspective of the protagonist. Whereas in the first film the ‘centipede’ idea is presented as a revolting medical experiment, with the focus on whether the victims will be able to escape, this sequel presents the ‘centipede’ idea as the object of the protagonist’s depraved sexual fantasy.
The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims. Examples of this include a scene early in the film in which he masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original Human Centipede film, with sandpaper wrapped around his penis, and a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the ‘centipede’ being forced to defecate into one another’s mouths, culminating in sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the ‘centipede’. There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience. There is a strong focus throughout on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure. It is the Board’s conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.
The producers have six weeks to appeal this decision, but whether they’ll take the ban as supreme marketing or try to severely change the film remains to be seen. That may not even be possible. David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said, “The Board considered whether its concerns could be dealt with through cuts. However, given that the unacceptable content runs throughout the work, cuts are not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.”
And then there is the question of banning the movie outright. With film piracy being as easy as clicking a couple of links, anyone in the UK who really wants to see the film will be able to. Will the ban only make it more appealing to people who might otherwise have ignored the project? Might the film board have been better off just saying “this movie has barbed-wire rape, so you might not actually want to watch it”?
IFC Midnight will be releasing The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) in the US later this year. Whether it will appear without cuts is another question.
-Joey's Two Cents: Well, the first film was far tamer than most expected, but as one of the few who bothered to sit through it, I don't know that I have any desire to see the sequel...thoughts?