Yes, I admit that I find myself in a small quandary. The reason is the accompanying miniature of the poster for the film I am dithering about going to see: The Human Centipede. Now don’t get me wrong – I am not in the least bit squeamish about watching films like this, at least, not normally so. However, the film itself has been termed ‘torture-porn’ and there’s something vaguely unsavoury about that epithet that leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
I’ve seen a good proportion of the so-called ‘video nasties’ in my time, and very few of them left any impression on me or upset me in any way ( the only exception to that was Cannibal Holocaust and that was mostly for the scenes of animal cruelty in it, which just seemed totally pointless and completely unconscionable in its search for realism). Most of the nasties, to my eyes, seemed poorly made with all-too-obvious special effects and painfully amateurish rubber prosthetics. A few were genuinely nasty, and deserved their reputation. However, as I stated in a previous post (the one I wrote on Evil Dead recently), some of the choices that were blacklisted left me scratching my head as to why they had achieved their dubious status. Perhaps it was the subtexts rather than the actual gore that earned them their notoriety. Who knows…
The Human Centipede, however, strikes me as very different. It seems deliberately aimed at a sector of the market that likes to be grossed out just for the sake of it. Nothing wrong in that per se, but it seems that this particular examples straddles that fine line between providing genuine shocks for entertainment and just plain nastiness. There doesn’t seem to be any point to this film other than to be as violent and misanthropic as the film-makers are able to get away with, and to induce the viewer’s stomachs to churn endlessly.
You could argue that it’s a complete and utter fantasy, and I would agree with you up to a point, but only insofar as it’s hardly likely to ever be done in real-life. Even so, it begs the question, just how far do you take things in the search for that ultimate gore-thrill, before it becomes not only pointless, but fodder for those self-appointed guardians of culture or morals when they call for such ‘depravity’ to be banned outright, for instance? In reality, I doubt that it would ever get as far as a complete ban on horror and such, but it would certainly set back our claim that we’re just ordinary folk who get our kicks through the precarious thrill of being scared witless.
I guess the only way I can ever resolve the issue in my own mind is to actually go and see it. I certainly refuse to be counted amongst the numbers of those idiots who complain and protest against something without ever having either seen the film or read the book in question (an all-too favourite activity of certain ignorant types, sadly). Additionally, I would never presume to stop anyone from going to see the film (or read a particularly nasty horror book, for that matter) just on the shaky grounds that I find it objectionable, if that’s their thing. I will , however, admit to more then a smidgeon of curiosity and intrigue about The Human Centipede that is gently shoving me in the direction of the local cinema (if they ever show it, that is), plus I wonder if I can watch it without feeling total disgust. I can guarantee, though, that it’ll probably still leave me wondering….