(Special thanks goes to fellow critic and Village Voice contributor Lance Goldenberg for the premise of this piece).
At some point, The Human Centipede (new to DVD and Blu-ray from IFC Films) will be made into an opera. Not in the non-traditional sense, meaning someone will come along and covert the sadistically sick foreign horror film into some manner of mainstream US morality play. No, what we are talking about is a literal musicale, with acts and solos and a score (perhaps penned by someone like Philip Glass) which captures all the clinic cruelty of Tom Six’s sensational shock fest in all its harrowingly heightened dramatics. Imagine the singular moments: Dr. Heiter singing for his beloved 3-Hund; an American girls duet as they are lost in the woods. Another fabulous passage as our mad scientist explains the medical procedure; Katsuro’s glorification of the Asian male, and his shame when - as the lead in the centipede - he must defecate. Characters dying. The police arriving.
Ever since it hit the festival circuit last year, Six’s experiment in repugnance has been the stuff of heated discussion and dismissive scandal. It’s been called everything from a “masterpiece” to a “miscreant pile of self-indulgent garbage.” If it’s art, it’s the kind without any real redeeming social or political value (though a certain subtext can be read into it) and if its exploitation, it often fails to deliver the debauchery one expects from the genre. Landing somewhere solidly in the middle, this is an unforgettable cinematic experience that’s also unforgiveable, unfathomable, and unseemly as Hell. Movies aren’t supposed to make you feel this dirty, this polluted, this…disturbed.