Dutch director Tom Six’s 2011 film, Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), is one of the most repellent exercises in sexual sadism that I have ever witnessed in a cinema.
Its 2009 predecessor, The Human Centipede, was an amazingly unpleasant horror film about a mad scientist joining three people together surgically.
Evidently, Mr Six thought this hadn’t gone far enough, for last year he came up with the sequel, which is roughly ten times more extreme, filthy and psychopathic than the original.
The sadistic anti-hero Martin (played with slobbering relish by Laurence R Harvey) is a huge fan of the first Human Centipede movie.
An obese, inarticulate, retarded man who lives with his mother, Martin gets his kicks by abducting motorists from a multi-storey car park and taking them to a disused warehouse, where he attempts to join 12 of them together as a human centipede with one digestive system.
To this end, he maims, cuts, slices off pieces of anatomy, indulges in sadistic, unskilled dentistry, rapes them and forces them into other vile acts.
Sadly, The Human Centipede II is not an isolated example, and one movie – A Serbian Film – is even more disgusting in its celebration of sexual torture.
Since it approved Crash, another exercise in sexual sadism, in 1996, the BBFC has reportedly allowed 18 certificates for films that wallow in sexual degradation, rape and torture.
Mostly these were abstruse foreign-language films. More recently, however, a new genre of mainstream, English-language films has sprung up, often called ‘torture porn’, in which Eli Roth and other directors have wallowed in the erotic degradation of both sexes.
Many of these have had ‘Hostel’ or ‘Saw’ in the title, but there are dozens of them, and as a film critic I have had the misfortune to see them all.
If, at long last, the authorities are starting to see sense and realize that films like this do influence people in real life, it’s not before time.
Several questions need to be answered much more honestly than they have been.
Should the opportunists responsible for films like this be ashamed of themselves? Yes.
Do films like this help to brutalize some of those who see them? Of course.
Do we all have to live with the social and criminal consequences? Yes.
Also read: Torture Porn Era Officially Dead