The trailer for “The Human Centipede” has stirred a conflict within me.
On one hand, there is the raging film critic who would rather sit through “Transformers 2” again then have to watch another torture porn film in which a male villain maims a hapless female victim. In the case of “The Human Centipede,” it’s two female tourists who get stranded in a German forest when their car breaks down. They head to the only nearby house, where Dr. Heiter (Deiter Laser) has been waiting for two people to complete his bizarre experiment. “The Human Centipede” belongs with films like “Hostel” and the “Saw” series that take pleasure in inventive ways of torturing their victims who, with few exceptions, are usually flirty young women. And personally, I’ve had about enough of filmmakers getting their kicks out of victimizing women, or minorities, or whatever it is that they decide would be fun this week.
Worse still, “The Human Centipede” doesn’t even look like an inventive horror flick. The raging film critic almost laughed out loud at all the horror movie clichés that pop up in the trailer. Stranded hot chicks running through the rain? Check. Evil dude with a vaguely European accent? Check. Crazed sado-masochistic plan that would make Hannibal Lecter blush? Check and check. The entire horror film formula is laid out on the screen right down to the victims idiotically trusting the person who is going to kill them, and the film critic in me is rolling her eyes. If you’re going to be outrageous, at least be original at the same time.
But then there is the film fan in me. The film fan in me loves watching a solid horror flick, cheers like crazy when Ash pulls out the chainsaw in “Evil Dead II” and yells out things like “Girl, don’t go in that room!” in the middle of a tense scene. And the fan in me knows that “The Human Centipede,” as disgusting and cliché and as sexist as it likely is, will be the kind of film that elicits laughs and cheers from its audience. The evil doctor is sewing people together BUTT TO MOUTH. It is so outrageous a concept that whole audiences will have to groan together in mutual disgust. And as a film fan, that kind of viewing experience is one that is worthwhile even if the movie itself is nothing remarkable. So, there is a small part of me that is pulling for this film to live up to its controversial premise.
So, which one will it be? Crap horror film (no pun intended) that the critic in me hates or destined-to-be-cult-classic that will spawn midnight screenings for me to attend for years to come? At the end of April we will all find out.
“The Human Centipede” will be in limited theatrical release starting April 30.
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