Tom Six has offended the Brits. The sequel to his sensationalist gross-out horror flick, The Human Centipede
, was screened in front of the British Board of Film Classification and promptly banned
. Folks in the UK who crave more scatalogical horror from Six will have to pirate Full Sequence in order to, um, enjoy it.
What makes the sequel so much worse than the first? Apparently, it's rife with sexual depravity in a way that First Sequence never touched. You see, the first film was set up pretty much like a classic horror flick. One with a disgusting turn, no doubt, but structurally it followed the same path as hundreds of other movies. Pretty young American women enter a stranger's house, find out that the stranger is a devious villain who is going to do horrible things to them, and then try to escape their fate. The villain is clearly painted as a villain--he was even German!--and we're meant to relate to the victims.
In Full Sequence, the line between who we like and who we don't is less clear. The protagonist of the film is a guy who's sexually aroused by the idea of stitching people together by the digestive tract. He isn't the villain; he's the main dude. The film focuses so much on him and the disgusting things he does to get off that it becomes a rather uncomfortable watch. The victims aren't fleshed out enough for us to relate to them; they're just there to serve as objects of brutilization at the hands of our protagonist. The BBFC is concerned that people will enjoy watching the protagonist take pleasure at the horrific acts he commits. We're supposed to root for the victims in horror films, or at least relate to them, but Full Sequence doesn't allow that opportunity.
Tom Six was of course less than pleased
at the act of censorship. His film is only the 11th to be banned in the 98 years that the BBFC has been active. He defended the film by calling it "art" and insisting that viewers should be able to decide for themselves whether they watch it or not.
"Art" might be a stretch, but I agree with Six to some degree. The whole point of these movies is that they're depraved. You don't watch them for the same reasons you watch most movies--to get pleasure out of the experience of watching a good film, or at least an entertaining one. I've always considered Centipede to be something of a meta-horror flick--a movie that tests the boundaries of how ridiculous movies can get. It's gross, sure, but it's also funny as hell. It's the kind of humor that comes out of being made so uncomfortable that your only option is to laugh.
Then again, I haven't seen Full Sequence. Maybe it's lost the charm of the first film. Maybe it's so far beyond the parameters of what is acceptable cinema that no one should ever watch it. But I applaud Six for trolling the industry. After all, Hollywood sees fit to produce all sorts of things that really shouldn't be made. Torture porn, racist tripe, and brainless comedies get greenlit all the time. Throw some poop into the mix and suddenly everyone's outraged. I'd rather watch The Human Centipede than suffer through another Sandra Bullock performance any day. Luckily it still seems like we'll get the opportunity to see the sequel here in the US.