The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009) - Part of the Terrorthon 10 horror festival at the Somerville Theater. REVISITED -Originally reviewed here on this blog in May 2010 it received a recommended but just barely. Viewing it for a second time I think I enjoyed it much more. My initial review focused on the idea of the human centipede, it is a shocking idea that I was mildly disgusted with. This second time with the idea not such a big new idea, watching the film was easier. The performance of Deiter Laser as Dr. Heiter was much more impressive. He was the mad scientist an egomaniac who wants to create something never done before. The idea of humans only comes to him after the three dog centipede he created died. I had not noticed in the first scene that he was looking at the dog version in snapshots before he shoots the truck driver. He is a man in grief trying to fill the hole left with their passing. What drives the movie is his performance and it is really well done. He has the look and the intense eyes and works the part to the max.
Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) are really underdeveloped but they do not need to be more complete than what we are given. They are victims and because of the downer ending their story arcs don't have to travel that far. Katsuro actually get to be more of a character and his outcome is a noble one, of course being the head is considerable more promising than being the tail, and poor Lindsay in the middle is really unfortunate.
The women are indeed foolish in their decision making to get into this position. They leave the road when they got a flat and although they can't have known the evil in Heiter's heart they did sense his strangeness but acted too slowly. There is also a bit of a logical flaw when they allow him to call the rental place for them since how would he know which rental place that was. Wouldn't they want to make that call? So they are captured and we get to see the cruelty of the doctor when the truck driver's tissue doesn't match that of the girls.
There are really a great scene after Heiter comes back with the trucker's replacement, the Japanese man Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura) who yells some very funny things in Japanese even though no one can understand him. The reaction of the three victims when the doctor explains with hand drawn slide what is in store for them is great. The mixture of WTF and then more WTF! and a sense that they are helpless, all actors pull this off but Katsuro in particular because he gets the idea of the operation just from the simple drawings. None of the three yet know where they are going to end up in this creation but it does not take long before that information comes out.
Lindsay gets free of her bonds and makes an escape. In a tense and well executed scene she looks like she is going to get away. Of course she doesn't get away and the punishment Lindsay suffers is because she failed in the number one rule when you escape an abductor. Never go back for your friend! You can get to help and than save your friend but going back always leads to bad things for you. In this case she earned the middle slot in the sequence.
After the operation we have less enjoyable scenes of the reaction of the victims as each wakes to realize the situation. Then of Heiter trying to train the human centipede as you would a dog. You see he is driven to replace his beloved dogapede and damn it if these humans are even more difficult to train. The rantings of our lead segment Katsuro, and the constant whimpering of the other two makes the doctor wish aloud that he had severed their vocal chords.
The squeamish should be wary of the effects of food on the human centipede. The first bowel movement is well acted but hard to watch. Then there is poor Jenny who does not do too well after the operation and seems to have an infection in her stapled face. As we move towards the climax of the film she is having a harder time staying upright.
When the cops come to the doctor about the missing girls he can not break his psychologically depraved desire to had to his creation and attempt the same drugging of the officers as he did the girls. It does not work out so well and in the end things get a bit crazy for the good doctor. Still trying to hold back the spoilers for this film no further information will be relayed here, other than the ending is not one of triumph of the human spirit over adversity. This film was much better on a second viewing.
Rating (6.6) 5.0 and up are recommended, on the Zombiegrrlz rating system I would say Rent it!