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Review: The Human Centipede

Unspeakably gross, yet oddly compelling
By SHAULA CLARK  |  May 4, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars


Just when you thought there could be nothing new under the horror-cinema sun, here comes Dutch director Tom Six with an astonishingly fiendish idea. Three tourists — two American girls and one Japanese man — blunder through Germany and wind up in the clutches of Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser), a mad surgeon obsessed with sewing persons together, mouth to anus, to create a “human centipede.”

I can’t speak to the claim that this depiction is somehow “100 percent medically accurate,” but I can guarantee that it’s unspeakably gross. For a film with such a lunatic premise, the plot is just a little too rote — regardless, it’s a stomach-turning joy to watch Laser put on his demented Mengele act, ripping out incisors, brandishing a riding crop, and ranting about his beloved “3-dog.”

Just like its doomed freak-show conga line, The Human Centipede runs out of places to go early on, preferring to wallow in moody atmospherics. But maybe this is just a warm-up. We’re told that in 2011, Six will bring us a sequel, complete with a 12-person centipede — which means that film should be four times as good, right?

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