Category Archives: Weird / Brutal / Extreme Cinema

CINEMA OF DOOM: The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (2011)

Martin Lomax is a pathetic little heap of a man. He’s squat, fat, and asthmatic. Perhaps a bit retarded, definitely a bit insane. He lives with his hateful, hectoring mother in the home where, as a boy, he was raped repeatedly by his father (now in prison). Under his mattress, he keeps a scrapbook. In it are photos and stills from the first Human Centipede film, which he uses for masturbation fodder.

Surprisingly, Martin has a job. He works in an underground parking garage where he sits in a tiny office alone, and apparently spends his day watching the movie on his laptop and masturbating some more. In one scene, he uses sandpaper to do so. Presumably he doesn’t always use sandpaper, otherwise there would be nothing left to jerk, but that’s neither here nor there. Before long, he decides to create a human centipede of his own. A bigger and better one. To do this, he approaches people in the parking garage and beams them in the head with a tire iron, knocking them out and dragging them off to an old, empty warehouse. Once he has all of his victims collected, he gets down to business.

Unlike the first film’s Dr. Heiter, Martin is no surgeon, and when his initial attempts at mimicking the good doctor’s medically competent work fail, he resorts to simpler methods:  a staple gun and duct tape. So in the second half, with very little dialogue except doomed moans and shrieking, teeth are knocked out with a hammer, and a lot of people are stapled and taped mouth-to-ass, ass-to-mouth. Laxatives are administered…explosive diarrhea and vomiting ensue…Martin rapes his creation with barbed wire wrapped around his schlong…a baby is born and stomped on by its own desperate mother… Utter carnage. Everything but the kitchen sink, which, as an object associated with washing things, and one too large to stuff up someone’s ass, is of no use to a film like this anyway.

All in all, The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence is far more repugnant than its predecessor. A depraved collection of images that had me repeatedly laughing out loud at the lengths it was willing to go to shock the viewer. Where the first film left much to the imagination, this one takes it balls-to-the-wall and rubs your nose in the offal. And, in black & white, it even looks good doing it. The shit and the blood glistens black, the whites of eyes, wide with terror, pierce the darkness like high beams. Every curve of Martin’s sweaty, porcine face and body, every crevice and crack of the bloody, filth-caked warehouse is pronounced and enhanced, giving the film an almost comic book quality that both takes the edge off and adds to the bleak aura. It’s certainly well deserving of an honored place in the Cinema of Doom pantheon.


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The thoroughly creepy trailer for The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence has arrived

Intriguing. The…um…”hero”… is all kinds of creepy. Definitely creepier than the first flick’s mad Dr. Heiter (who was plenty awesome in his own right). And what’s this? Black and white? Is the whole movie in black & white? Interesting choice if so. Not a lot going on here, but it manages to up my anticipation nevertheless, so that’s a good sign. Hopefully this will be as it appears: a ridiculously over-the-top shockfest with ridiculous art-house pretensions.

And mouths sewn to buttholes.

See also: 

Human Centipede sequel rears its ugly head

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CINEMA OF DOOM: The Woman (2011)

One day, while old-fashioned country lawyer Chris Cleek is out hunting, he comes across a woman in the woods. She’s filthy, dressed in rags. He watches her catch a fish from a stream, which she proceeds to eat raw. A feral savage. Of course, as any red-blooded American male would do, Chris captures her, chains her up in a cellar, and announces to his wife and kids that they’re going to all work together to civilize her. Wait, most men wouldn’t do that at all! Underneath the family man facade, there’s something very, very wrong with this guy…

But the real star is the titular woman, played by Pollyanna Mcintosh. She’s ferocious. And while she’s used and abused through most of the film, we never doubt that she’s going to take great pleasure in a spectacularly brutal revenge.

This is a fairly low-budget flick, and some of the actor’s chops are a bit weak, but a good storyline, some fun surprises, and copious bloodletting keep it interesting throughout. There’s supposed to be a message about violence against women here, but I find it hard to believe any hardcore feminists will appreciate it in the face of all the violence against women. So yeah, it’s offensive. And sick. But those are perfectly good criteria for a Cinema of Doom recommendation. Watch it with The Woman you love.


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CINEMA OF DOOM: Brothers of the Head (2005)

In the early 1970s, at the dawn of punk, Tom and Barry Howe were conjoined twins attached at the chest, living in a remote, seaside corner of the UK. One day, a seedy impresario type came along and, seeing an opportunity, more or less bought them from their father (who in turn hoped he’d secured a future for his unusual sons). Tom and Barry were talented young men but they didn’t know much about music, so the impresario holed them up in a country estate with musicians, handlers, and hangers-on, and gave them a crash course in Rock Star 101. We witness this now through the lens of a filmmaker hired then to document the process. We watch as the twins—after careful grooming—lead their band, The Bang Bang, to a place in punk rock legend. But this was the 1970s. This was punk. Tragedy was never far behind the success. In the end, all that’s left is the music, the footage, and the memories.

None of it really happened of course, but that’s the story at the heart of this (mock) rock-doc dream. And though the film is swathed in hazy atmosphere, it feels more than plausible, and actually manages to generate the same sort of music geek thrills you get from real behind-the-scenes footage of your favorite classic bands. But even better is the film’s second level, which immerses us in the odd, symbiotic confidences and communications between twins. The connections the Howes share as conjoined brothers is alien to most of us, and the looks they give one another, the intimacy, the deep grudges, and the dynamics of dominance and submission add an eerie dimension that sets this one apart and plants it firmly in the realm of Weirdsville. Oh, and the music is great. So if you like your curious & creepy with a long, tall glass of rock & roll, Brothers of the Head should do a fine job of slaking your bizarro thirst.


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CINEMA OF DOOM: Sheitan (2006)

It’s around Christmas time. A group of young club-goers are out celebrating when they meet a strange girl who invites them to her place in the French countryside. They accept, but will soon regret it…

So far, so predictable, right? But when they arrive at the girl’s secluded farmhouse, you begin to see this is more than just another tired iteration of the old ‘partiers get picked-off by a sicko family in some backwater’ trope. Vincent Cassel throws himself into the roll of the housekeeper with such a feral and funny intensity, it becomes difficult to imagine he’s the same debonair guy who played the ballet director in Black Swan. His character, Joseph, is a doll maker and provincial freak with poor social skills. “He looks,” says one of the other characters, “like a dimwitted perv.” And he acts like one too. He’s overly friendly, says racist and inappropriate things, and smiles incessantly, eyes blazing. It’s played for laughs, but it’s also unnerving, and we’re never exactly sure what this guy’s deal is. By the time he gets roaring drunk and tells a satanic nativity story at the dinner table on Christmas Eve (about halfway through the film), the simmering menace is threatening to boil over, and there’s little doubt things are about to go horrifically sideways.

Sheitan is a superb, demented little mindbender from France. Check it out.

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CINEMA OF DOOM: Next Door (2005)

Next Door is a profoundly unsettling Norwegian flick that takes place inside of two apartments and the hallway between them. The protagonist, John, is down in the dumps because his girlfriend has left him. Two women who live next door need his help moving something in their apartment. They’re attractive in a trashy, Eastern European sort of way, and immediately there’s sexual tension, but also a sinister undercurrent we don’t fully grasp. The weirdness escalates quickly, and before we know it, we’re completely immersed in sadism, confusion and madness.

It’s claustrophobic. It’s violent.  And if it doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies, I can’t imagine what would. Just the thing if you’re in the mood for a tight, suspenseful little gem that’ll crawl under your skin and itch.


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Human Centipede sequel rears its ugly head

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) pulled a lot of bad reviews, but I think most of them missed the point. Critics complained it was just sick for sick’s sake and didn’t temper the gross-outs with anything of cinematic value. The acting was bad, some said, and its plot paper-thin, existing solely as something from which to hang the movie’s scatological grotesqueries.  And okay, some of that’s true, but so what? Did anyone walk into it expecting pathos and depth? It’s a fucking horror movie about a guy who sews people together ass-to-mouth. In that context, it’s pretty damn good. For one thing, it has a great villain in Dr. Heiter, played with steely, hateful panache by German actor Dieter Laser. For another, it’s a fucking horror movie about a guy who sews people together ass-to-mouth. It’s sick, it’s funny, the cinematography is inspired in places, and the choice of that labyrinthine house for the home of the doctor was a wise one. Antiseptic and disorienting, it does a lot to heighten the already high-pitched atmosphere of experimental surgery and madness.

The writer/director, Tom Six, pulled off something sort of remarkable with part one:  it garnered a reputation as one of the filthiest and most graphic flicks in recent memory without much filth and gore actually appearing in it. Its notoriety is due mostly to the strong reactions people have to the simple idea of having shit in their mouths. I don’t recall a single turd gracing the screen. The sequel, however, promises to be different in that respect. Six says it’ll make part one “look like My Little Pony” and the British Board of Film Classification banned it recently, saying the film is riddled so thoroughly with “unacceptable material” that no editing could make it acceptable. From their statement:

(Though) the first film…was undoubtedly tasteless and disgusting it was a relatively traditional and conventional horror film and the Board concluded that it was not in breach of our Guidelines at ‘18’. This new work…tells the story of a man who becomes sexually obsessed with a DVD recording of the first film and who imagines putting the ‘centipede’ idea into practice…

The principal focus… is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims. Examples of this include…a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the ‘centipede’ being forced to defecate into one another’s mouths, culminating in the sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the ‘centipede’. 

How disgusting! I’m in! Look for my review of Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) in a future installment of Cinema of Doom.


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