Let’s see…rape, murder, violence, sexual aberration, coprophagia, infanticide,
The uncut version, yes.
Well, read all about my thoughts on the first film here. I stand by that assessment – Part I is a dull film that exists solely because of its reputation, and it offers nothing up to balance its infamy, save for a gross premise.
Following the release and success of the first film, director Tom Six was able to get a sequel greenlit. Much of the film remained shrouded in mystery save for a statement from Six saying it would “make the first film look like My Little Pony.”
It then became a high profile film when the BBFC banned the film outright, handing down one of the most severe deliberations they’ve ever given – and given that this is the same nation responsible for the Video Nasty debacle in 1984, that’s saying something! They even stated they wouldn’t consider the film again, as “no amount of cuts would allow them to give it a certificate”
However, it did eventually get a release, with 32 cuts made to the film. Following this frenzy, and the film being cut for release in the US, it was quite surprising when the Classification Board passed the film uncut. It was extensively marketed as such, making its notoriety in other countries an absolute selling point for the film. Check the trailer below for an example.
This marketing of course brought about the attention of “concerned” groups who in reality are only concerned about having a political edge to the proceedings. I’ll go into this more later, but the film got brought before the review board after complaints from a group called Family Voice Australia, and also Collective Shout, the harridans responsible for the banning of A Serbian Film.
After the incredibly non-representative (three conservative middle-aged women does not a nation get fairly represented by!) review board banned the film in a unanimous decision, it was once again classified with an R18+ rating, with cuts made to the film as I’ve detailed below.
This censored version was released on DVD and BluRay on the 23rd of February this year.
The film opens with the end of the first film. It then goes on to show the credits of that film, and we quickly come to understand that in the universe of Part 2, the first film is actually fictional.
We’re then introduced to our lead character Martin, who is watching the film. Martin, it turns out, is a very, very disturbed young man – theories differ as to the level of his mental capacity, with many often lumping him under the “mentally retarded” umbrella term. For specifics, I think it’s most likely that he is a grown man with the maturity of a small child.
Martin works in a parking garage, and his little to do all day but watch The Human Centipede. For added fun, he’s also become sexually obsessed with the film, and rewinds it as soon as it finishes. He comes across a couple arguing in the garage, and after the male of the couple is needlessly rude and horrible to him, proceeds to hit them on the head with a crowbar. He also stashes them in the back of his car, along with another random person.
When he’s not at work he lives with his abusive mother – a woman who clearly states her hatred of him, and blames him for his father leaving her. For the record, his father is in prison for sexually abusing him, something the mother clearly knows. But yeah, we get that Martin has not been traditionally raised, and it certainly doesn’t help that his psychiatrist wants to rape him. We learn that within 5 minutes of seeing him on screen.
It’s about this point that you realise that everyone in this movie is a horrible character. Well, all the male characters anyway, as they’re the ones who are given one or two lines to attempt to establish some semblance of character. Martin’s mother aside, it seems like the women of the cast are meant to be 1% more likeable than their dickish counterparts.
…actually you know what, there’s no point going over the ins and outs of the plot. Quick Summary Time!
Martin grows so obsessed with the first film he decides to create a 12 person version of the centipede. He spends the first third of the movie coming across people to abduct and abducting them. He also kills his mother once she rips up his scrapbook of highlights from the first film, and shoots his psychiatrist in the junk, and then the head.
He also arranges to have Ashlyn Yennie, who played Jenny in the first film, arrive under the false pretence of an audition for Quentin Tarantino, and stitch her on as the front of his centipede. In addition to her, he creates his centipede out of the following characters: Candy, Karrie, Paul, Ian, Dick, Greg, Tim, Valerie, Kim, and Rachel. I’ll leave it up to you to assign those names to faces as the film gives you NO ability to know who is whom, with the exception of “Miss Yennie”.
Once he kidnaps his victims, he kills his mother before moving into his warehouse to complete his creation. Unlike the first film where a surgeon was able to create his centipede, here Martin has significantly less capability, and only a staple gun and gaffer tape. He creates his centipede, rapes the girl at the rear with barbed wire wrapped around his penis, and then loses it once the centipede becomes two halves and start wondering around separately. Also, one of his victims, a pregnant woman, escapes and run outside to a car – she gives birth in the driver’s seat, and once the car starts, proceeds to crush the baby’s head with the accelerator. She gets away, but Martin kills the rest of them all, but not before Ashlyn Yennie gets the chance to shove a funnel up his arse and drop his pet centipede in it (an actual one, not a human one).
The film closes on Martin, back at the parking garage, having apparently imagined it all.
I’m in a thousand different minds about this film. As much as possible I’ll try to talk about it as a film first, and then the controversy surrounding it.
It is a better film than the first. Stuff actually happens in this one. Furthermore, when people heard the premise of the first film and imagined some monstrosity of a film that couldn’t possibly exist – well that’s actually pretty much this film.
Also, in addition to the horrible premise, this film has a lot being said subtextually. First and foremost, it’s a pretty obvious satire on critics who have decried controversial films for fear of copycatting. The entire premise of this film is seeing someone decide to copy The Human Centipede and seeing just what a ludicrous and over the top notion that is. While I think the filmmakers want their audience to be shocked and disturbed, I don’t think for a moment they were trying to pass this off as realistic. It makes it even more hilarious that the BBFC banned the film for fear of people copying the second film.
I also think it’s making a statement about censorship, as this is a film that’s clearly trying as hard as it possibly can to be controversial. It’s a more controlled film than the first – one doesn’t get that immediate impression of Tom Six wanting you to run out and tell people about this film so that they’ll see it – I’m sure he wants that to happen, but it’s also a movie that actually bothers to tell a story.
There’s also a lot of black comedy in this flick, and there are some moments where I genuinely laughed out loud.
Now having said all that, do I think it’s a good film? Well, no, simply, I don’t. Laurence Harvey as Martin gives a very brave performance, and is certainly willing to forgo any dignity in creating the character, and I will say he is successful in this. Having a mute, socially blind, some-level-of-mentally-disabled character as your main character and still making him interesting to watch is quite a feat.
As for the rest of the cast…there’s no attempt to make actual characters out of the rest of them. I get why the film did that, and in that regard it kind of works (the audience ends up seeing them as objects and means to an end, the same way Martin does) but it also means we don’t care about any of them. We can feel bad for them but there’s no investment in them as characters.
And then having said all that, I have to acknowledge that this is very much a film with a niche audience, and I’m not a particular part of that niche. From a film like The Human Centipede Part 2, no one expects any artistry or cleverness. To find it there is quite refreshing, but at the end of the day, it’s a film designed to shock and disturb. It’s as much a stunt film as the first one, but it’s definitely a better film. Perhaps better is the wrong word. It’s less frustrating than the first, because its bite is just as bad as its bark.
Not really. I can see why it’s controversial, but I’m of the opinion that this film could be accommodated within the R18+ category uncut. The film is in black and white which serves to mitigate a lot of the violence (well, black and white and brown, but I’ll leave it up to you to discover where those splashes of colour enter the film). Furthermore it’s a black comedy, and that was good enough to mitigate The Loved Ones’ violence down to an MA15+, so it should’ve been taken into consideration here. But read on for more thoughts.
THE BANNING CONTROVERSY
For any Australians out there who are wondering just what it is we’re missing out on, I can tell you that I’ve watched both films side by side, and there’s not actually all that much!
At 28:20, a 2-second shot of Martin’s penis wrapped in sandpaper as he masturbates has been excised (though not the scene, or preliminary shots of him wrapping his penis up – just the shot of it in motion).
At 1:13:47 and 1:13:55 a total of 8 seconds has been removed (1 second, and a 7 second shot) showing Martin’s penis wrapped in barbed wire before the rape.
From 1:14:00 until 1:15:09 around 20 seconds has been removed at various points from the rape scene – I started making notes of each individual shot but lost the syncing of the two version of the film playing. From what I did note, the removed shots were mainly of Martin thrusting, with less emphasis added on the victims’ suffering.
Surprisingly, the shot of the baby being crushed under the accelerator remains completely intact – I’d expected to see that excised.
So all in all, only about 30 seconds removed. Again, I’m in two minds about this. Part of me wants to chalk it up as “it’s only 30 seconds.” It’s significantly less removed from the film than the British cut, which I’ve also seen. The censored Australian cut is still a brutal and harrowing experience, and while it’s not as “intact” as the uncut version, it’s a very similar experience. I can guarantee you that the censored British cut is a noticeably milder viewing experience.
Then part of me says, “Well what was the point of that? It’s only 30 seconds!” which brings me up to my rant point.
Family Voice Australia submitted their complaint on the film based solely off the BBFC report and word of mouth. They never saw the film. I find this unforgivable. It’s one thing to find a film so contentious you decry it until it’s banned, but it’s quite another if you’ve never seen the movie in question. Say what you will about Collective Shout (no really – say whatever you want) but at least they had the decency to actually see A Serbian Film before they campaigned against it.
As I see it, this is proof that these “concerned” groups are really using the successful banning of films as political stepping stones, to have as something under their belt for proof of their worth to conservative voters.
The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence was never a film made for families, and to suggest that it might inspire copycat crimes is utterly misguided and hilarious given that an actual viewing of the film makes that notion so obviously a part of its satire. FAVA had not seen the film, and clearly had no context about it before they called for its banning.
All they’ve accomplished, in addition to gaining another notch in their political belt, is the removal of 30 seconds of film that makes the viewing experience not that dissimilar from the uncut version, only at significant expense to Monster Pictures. It’s almost like FAVA saw the ads bragging about it being released uncut and thought “we’ll see about that!” It was a pointless waste of time that withholds money from Monster Pictures.
The clearly noticeable difference from the Australian cut and the uncut version is the length of the rape scene – for the record, the short shots of Martin’s barbed-wired penis don’t remove the barbed wire from the entire film – we still see him holding it and picking it up right before the act, so it’s not like removing those shots make us think this is a normal acceptable rape that’s safe for children to witness. Removing a handful of shots from the rape scene does shorten its length, but to no real avail – it’s still disturbing and the character at the rear is still clearly meant to be torn apart internally with each thrust so all it means is that her screams are silenced a little earlier than in the uncut version. As far as I see it, rape scenes should be left intact in film, as it means that we can hold the filmmakers accountable if they’re mishandled. There’s no grey area of a censor saying, “This is an acceptable amount of rape. We are satisfied,”, nor is there the capacity for an inexcusable rape scene to be defended with “Ah, but in the uncut version…”
But you know the greatest idiocy of all of this? Moreso than usual, banning the uncut version of the film has done nothing to stop it being made readily available to Australians.
Click the picture below, and you’ll find the access point to Bounty Film’s website, where the film is available in its uncut form without having to resort to torrenting. I’ll cover my arse here and say I’m not condoning the active violation of a pointless and condescending law, merely proving a point that it’s entirely possible to circumvent the censors for as little as $14.99. I’m definitely not suggesting that viewers who want to see the uncut version. should break the law by following the download link which will provide you access to a versatile .mp4 file with incredible ease. Definitely not.
One final thing and I’ll wrap this up:
It’s all well and good to sit here and bitch and moan about the state of things being banned in Australia, but 90% of the time, the reason they’re banned is because of vocal conservative groups making strong efforts to decry a film. It’s just as easy to become a vocal group against the banning of film.
So follow the link below to my absolute Mecca of censorship information, and the great access points to enable your protesting if you’re as passionate about it as I am.