Dear Tom Six: An Open Letter to the Human Behind the 'Centipede'

Dear Tom Six,

     Stop it. Seriously, knock it off.

     Genre fans got very excited about The Human Centipede: The First Sequence, as we were promised something shocking and brand new. And indeed, it was. It was shocking and brand new like the swine flu – and just as unwanted and overblown. What we actually got was an over-inflated, self-indulgent concept. Three people stitched ass-to-mouth, okay, you hooked me. But that is where the idea tap evidently ran dry. The narrative is dull and clichéd; there are no scares anywhere; even the gore is incredibly tame. The Human Centipede was advertised as “100% medically accurate” to get horror fans all wet. And it worked - even I was intrigued at first. But I have come to realize that the tagline is as cheap and hollow as “based on a true story.” Anything to sell a movie, right?

     And that is what this budding franchise is all about – making the most talked-about, nausea-inducing piece of celluloid you possibly can to lure in the masses. Who needs a real script when you can write excerpts from Nazi experiment diaries and “Two Girls, One Cup” on scraps of paper, stick them to a wall, and throw darts at random? Or better yet, why not make a Mad Libs book so everyone can participate? “The doctor fed _____ to her, making her vomit _____ into the man’s ____. He got so sick he shit _____ all over the _____.”

     Some critics say The Human Centipede and its recently-released sequel are intended and enjoyed only by lovers of “bad B-movies.” Well, I disagree. I love bad B-movies. In those films, there is often something worth laughing at. That is not the case with this one. It is bleak, dull and without purpose. Any “black humor” this movie claims to be shooting for is as bold a lie as Tommy Wiseau claiming The Room was meant to be a comedy. Others defend Centipede as disturbing in its shock value. Those people should watch more films like À l'intérieur (Inside), which can disturb you to your very core without forgetting about storytelling, characters, scares, and gore.

    And worst of all are the people who compare Centipede to the works of David Cronenberg. That comparison makes me want to puke far more than this movie does. The movie has no subtext of any kind and is content only to shock and appall. Cronenberg did not toy with body horror for the sake of making his audience gasp and gag but rather to evoke fear in light of real-life horrors (STDs, addiction, media control, insanity, etc.).

     So far, the sequel, The Full Sequence, sounds even worse. No, I have not seen it – and will not see it - as I am not idiotic enough to pay money for that. But from what I hear about it, you have truly outdone yourself, Tom. Your cocky smugness has taken on new heights as you have evidently written a protagonist who not only idolizes your first movie but has been physiologically damaged by it. Is your ego so great to think that anyone was so affected by The Human Centipede? At most, it might have made a few people vomit. Personally, if I wanted to vomit, I’d shove my index finger down my throat – it’d be more fun that way. And wait, this sequel is in black and white? How very artsy of you.

     I hope that before anyone considers seeing The Full Sequence this month, they remember the zoo. Why? Well, for just a few dollars more, you can watch the monkeys throw feces at a blank wall and create the intellectual equal of The Human Centipede and its brood. This franchise-in-progress is a disgrace to the horror genre and represents everything I hate about “shock-for-shocks-sake” cinema (I use that last word loosely). If you insist on continuing this attempt at a filmmaking career, at least flush this steaming pile already and start anew. That is, if you can manage to pull your head out of your ass (can’t blame Dr. Heiter for this one).

Viewer Discretion Advised

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