Tom Six is back and this time he’s playing for real. His HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE) came on the scene and really made a name for itself as being the most extreme, hardcore, disturbing film ever made. The only problem; it wasn’t. Not by a long shot. The hype machine certainly did its job. I disliked the first HUMAN CENTIPEDE (see my review here) and am still baffled by people who say it was a difficult film to watch (the only good thing about it was Dieter Laser’s performance as Dr. Heiter). Whatever. So when Six announced he was ready to start shooting THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II (FULL SEQUENCE), I rolled my eyes thinking, “Here we go again!!” Thankfully I wasn’t as disappointed with this one as the original. Let’s see what Six did differently.
We begin HUMAN CENTIPEDE II with Martin (Laurence R. Harvey) watching HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE). Martin is obsessed with Six’s film and as soon as the film is over he starts it all over again. He also has a journal he’s put together in which he’s been taking notes on how to create a human centipede. He also has detailed notes on the three actors who were part of the human centipede in the first film. He treats Dr. Heiter like a personal tutor giving him lessons of how to achieve his goal. Yeah, if ya haven’t guessed, Martin isn’t all there in the sanity department. He’s got one and only one goal in life: He wants to create a 12-person human centipede.
Right off the bat I loved how self-referential this sequel is and how hyper-aware it is of itself and the first film. I really liked this approach Six took towards the sequel. Instead of trying to write Dr, Heiter back from the dead, Six goes a completely different and original route. I only wish Six explored this aspect of the film more. He uses this to set the film up but then never takes the self-reference further. And in light of the UK banning and then lifting the ban on HUMAN CENTIPEDE II, this is more relevant than Six could’ve imagined!!
I also really liked Harvey (the actor who plays Martin). We get subtle hints to Martin’s background as explanation as to why he is the way he is. There’s some hints that he’s suffered sexual abuse as a child and may be a little bit retarded. Six also does a nice job at creating more than a one-dimensional villain. Dr. Heiter from the first film was arrogant and pretty much hated humanity. He was a tough character to relate to. But Martin is more ‘human’ in that there’s exterior causes that put him onto this deranged path. Martin is also a pathetic man. He looks meek and innocent and beaten down by life and has the physique of an elephant who ate a beach ball. He doesn’t look threatening at all. Just the opposite; he looks like a sad, pathetic man and you almost feel sorry for him.
And then you see the horrible things he wants to do and does. Wow!!
Martin rents an old, dirty, rundown warehouse where he stockpiles all his bound up victims (wait until you see how he gathers up his victims). The warehouse is both his holding cell for his victim as well as his “operating room” where he conducts all his ‘procedures.’ I think Six did a terrific job with the character of Martin. Martin will divide audiences, but I thought he was a well written and different kind of character, and Harvey does an excellent job in the role … and he never speaks one word of dialogue the entire film!! Really great performance.
And then we get to the assembly part of the film. HUMAN CENTIPEDE II is exactly what I thought the first film should’ve been!! We get graphic, up close views of Martin putting together his 12-person human centipede. He uses the notes he’s taken from Dr. Heiter’s “lectures” to put together his own monstrosity. And the fact that HUMAN CENTIPEDE II is filmed completely in black and white adds a whole gritty and depraved dimension to the film. It almost seems as though Six wrote FULL SEQUENCE specifically for critics and fans like me who thought the first film was unbearably tame. And the tagline from the first film, “100% Medically Accurate,” is completely thrown out the window in favor of “100% Medically INaccurate.” Part II is in direct contrast to the first film. The first film has an accomplished, world-renowned surgeon putting together 3 people mouth to ass in a sterile operating room with all the latest equipment. In Part II we have a functionally retarded half-wit using his dad’s old rusty tools to literally staple together 12 people mouth to ass in a filthy, damp warehouse floor littered with broken bottles, dirt, and god knows what else. And whereas FIRST SEQUENCE was shot in big bold colors that gave everything a kind of hyper-reality, FULL SEQUENCE is in black and white, accenting the filth and decay of both Martin’s environment and his mind.
Maybe I was wrong about Tom Six. The way he juxtaposed these two films together is pretty damn clever. FULL SEQUENCE at times plays out like a black comedy making fun of the first film. I like that. Six also manages to write in one of the original actresses into Part II. Ashlynn Yennie, who played Jenny in the first film, gets involved in this film as herself. And she thought she had it bad in the original one!!
And don’t worry about the content of HUMAN CENTIPEDE II. This one has all the scenes that the first one should’ve had. We get to see Martin perform every step of the procedure on the various victims who make up the human centipede. We get to see how he delicately removes the teeth (ah-hem), how he gently removes the ligaments from their knees (AH-hem), and how he expertly fastens the people together mouth to ass (AH-HEM). And just wait till the scene where Martin tests to see if the digestive tract of his human centipede functions correctly (blech). There’s also a pregnant woman who … oh hell; you have to see it for yourself to believe it.
HUMAN CENTIPEDE II (FULL SEQUENCE) is everything the first film wasn’t. But mainly part two is fun. I could tell Six was having fun and it sure as hell looked like the actor playing Martin was having fun too. HUMAN CENTIPEDE II is bound to piss off the diehard fans of the first film who thought that one was extreme because part two definitely has some stomach-turning, jaw dropping, gag-inducing moments in it. Six also gets some really stylish shots and uses the black and white palette to capture some beautifully, disturbing shots. I’m looking forward to seeing where Six takes the third installment, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE III (FINAL SEQUENCE), slated for a 2013 release. I enjoyed HUMAN CENTIPEDE II and recommend it especially to those who hated the first one.
Director: Tom Six (& writer & producer)
Plot: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 8.5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer