In the 1980s when the VCR was King, a new type of film was popularised. The British press referred to them as the "video nasty", typically a schlocky and mysoginistic flick packed with gore and shit actors. Fully half of such films were made in Italy and re-dubbed by just three people. Some others, like Halloween or Texas Chain Saw, have become cult classics, probably because they were wrongly lumped in with the dross at the time. Many more have vanished from the public conscience and become merely collectible oddities for sweaty film nerds. Ahem.
I grew up in the 80's so the idea of someone handing me a pirated video tape and saying "do you like nasty films?" is not a new experience. The modern equivalent would be someone urging you to torrent it. Naturally, as an upstanding citizen, I rented a copy of The Human Centipede and prepared to be groooosssssed out.
I hate plot synopses that last longer than a few sentences so this is terse: a pair of appalling American girls are tourists in Europe who get abducted by a German scientist and end up being used in his grisly basement experiment. Actually you know what? That covers it anyway. The plot in this film has an atomic weight somewhere between Helium and Hydrogen. The girls motivation? They're tourists! The German's? He's a German scientist! The Japanese guy that gets dropped into the film from nowhere about half-way through? He's...incomprehensible.
Unfortunately my "rental copy" didn't have subtitles so unless the two American girls were talking or the German was talking to them, I had no idea what was going on. Somehow I was still able to follow this dumb story anyway. Incredible skills. This also made the film a bit more interesting for about 2 second because I was able to understand as much as the two quasi-protagonists. So when the Japanese man whose bumhole Girl A is grafted onto starts screaming I...oh...did I give something away?
OK here's the deal. The mad scientist fondly remembers his triple-rottweiler (which we see in a hilarious photoshopped photo at the start of the film) and wants to recreate this operation with human beings. He used to be the leading expert in seperating conjoined twins, but his true dream is to create a triplet of humans joined via the gastric system.
So he connects the mouth of a girl onto the Japanese guy's butt, then the second girl onto the middle girl's butt. If this idea is too gross for you, don't watch the film. Or, if you want to know more, watch the film. That's the summary. You really don't see much because everyone's butt and mouth is conveniently covered in bandages, although there's still room for some gross-out sequences, most of which are implied. "Ahhh but sometimes the IMPLIED horror is even worse than the real deal!" you cry, but you'd be wrong because in this case the implied horror is implied in the most clumsy and laughable way imaginable. The line "Yes! Yes! Feeeed her! Feeed her! Swallow it you BITCH!" will be forever skin-grafted into my memory.
There are a few positives. The German is played by Dieter Laser, and he's pretty good truth be told. He buys into the character more than we ever could so at the very least you have to admire him. The "unveiling" scene is the most surreal moment in the film and if the film was more like that and less genre-typical, I think the director could have had a cult classic on his hands (which is so clearly his desire it's actually a turn-off) instead of this really quite boring and simply unpleasant film.
There are tons of plot holes as you might imagine, but I can live with those if there's anything here worth saving. Essentially we have three characters we know nothing about joined together in a ghastly way. Our motivation to feel anything for them is simply that we wouldn't wish this on anyone (except [insert cultural reference] of course!) so when we have to sit through half an hour of them trying to escape his bachelor pad, it's just tedious.
There is no exploration of the weird burgeoning relationship between the three. And why not introduce us to three people in the first place? They could all know each other, maybe the middle one has cuckolded the head of the 'pede? Or the rear? Maybe something as simple as that would inject a teensy-weensy bit of humanity into the poor patients?
But no. The director clearly realises that Dieter Laser is the only actor in the fiml worth giving lines to, so we just get him monologuing from time to time. Hilariously, the director has said in interviews that the first half of the film is MEANT to be shit (I always love these) because it lulls you into a false sense of security, like you're watching a typical horror movie and then BAM, shocks your face off dawg. Well, that would be fine if there was anything other than the single blip of the unveiling scene at the film's midpoint. Instead he lulls you into thinking it's a typical piece-of-crap cheap horror and then BAM! Delivers just that.