Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The Human Centipede 2 (2011)
I've avoided this one for awhile now for two reasons: 1. I wasn't all that thrilled with the first installment and 2. by most accounts, this was filmmaker Tom Six's middle finger to everyone who said he didn't go far enough in his initial feature and it's nothing more than shock for shock's sake. Curiosity is a bitch and as previously evidenced, I like the endurance test that some films present.While definitely shocking, it isn't just messed up for the sake of being so. There is an attempt here at style and more artistic elements are on display. But ultimately, like the first, it does absolutely nothing for me.
Meet Martin. He's the most physically repulsive character I've ever seen on film. I mean that literally. I can't remember the last time I had such a strong reaction to someone's physical appearance onscreen. Great casting choice and probably the biggest accomplishment I can pay to Six or whoever chose to cast him. Martin is a parking garage security guard who has a very unhealthy obsession with the first film. Yes kids, this is a film within a film. The story serves as a source of perverted pleasure as well as an instructional tool for Martin. From watching the film during work and grossly masturbating to it, to rewinding and rewinding again to watch particular scenes of interest, to putting together a scrapbook featuring step-by-step instructions on 'how-to', this is a man who has more than just an unusual fascination.
As you can imagine, it's only a matter of time before Martin's fantasy becomes reality. And that's just what happens as he incapacitates unsuspecting people walking back to their cars and takes them to a warehouse where he plans to construct his own incarnation of the notorious creature. Only this time he has bigger aspirations as he attempts to affix twelve unwilling subjects ass to mouth. The only problem? He has nowhere near the medical know-how that Dr. Heiter had which makes for some gruesome scenes as he awkwardly constructs this thing with everyday items such as duct tape and a staple gun.
In the midst of his work, we see Martin at home, interacting with his roommate: his emotionally abusive mother. She's mean, nasty, and degrading, but only a small piece of the puzzle that is Martin's horrific background. We get glimpses of more as flash backs fill in additional pieces and we hear his dad raping him as a young boy.
So the experiment continues on and it gets more and more gruesome (including a forced exchange of excrement between subjects). However, things begin to unravel when the chain starts to rip themselves apart at the seams. Martin is none too thrilled about this and deals with things in horrific fashion. As our film ends, we're left wondering: was it real or all just a dream? But quite frankly, I really don't care.
As mentioned there was more here than just shock value as Six displays some style albeit it's been done to death already. The black and white and stark imagery employed are reminiscent of Lynch. I know that's an easy cop out with a lot of critics but the feeling is unavoidable. But the main problem I had with the film, much like the first, is that there isn't a strong impetus behind Martin's actions. Yes there was an abusive mother and father but it was such a thinly painted motive that it felt hollow. There was a long gap in history (from early childhood to present day) not to mention zero dialogue from Martin to help us fill it in or make us understand how he was feeling. Maybe that was Six's intention (again, very Lynch-ian) but some internal monologue would have worked wonders.
Overall, the film isn't as bad as most would have you to believe. But just like the first there isn't enough here to justify repeat viewings. However, curiosity will most likely get the best of me again and I'll see part 3.
Cortez the Killer