A few years ago, writer Chuck Palahniuk came up with the short story "Guts" which was reputed to cause mass blackouts and vomiting at public readings. I managed to remain conscious myself but it is certainly a disquieting read - cleverly written, using imagery to trigger a particular gut response (pun intended.)
If Chuck Palahniuk had written the script for The Rocky Horror Show, the result might have been Tom Six's film Human Centipede: First Sequence. The set-up is similar: on a dark and stormy night, two naive youngsters en route to a party are trapped in the middle of nowhere by a flat tyre, finding themselves at a mysterious house in the woods to be offered "help" by a sinister stranger. As with Frank'n'Furter, Dr. Heiter (a graduate of the Evil Medical School, played creepily by Dieter Laser) is also obsessed with creating the perfect human being - it's just that his obsession has less to do with muscles and blonde hair, and more to do with sewing three people together nose to tail to create a single being sharing one long alimentary tract.
If you have seen the film or are planning to, you probably know all of the above. This film is CONTRIVED CONTRIVED CONTRIVED from start to finish - it's raison d'etre is to bring you to the creation of this unnatural being and, as with Palahniuk's story, to induce emotions through visceral reaction.
To this end, Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie play their roles perfectly - ditzy, airheaded American party girls, lost, terrified. They give really strong performances and are perfect for the film, which hints at the uncomfortable theme of punishing those who are not worthy, as practised by Dr. Hannibal Lecter or the Jigsaw Killer - although in the end it's more about transplant compatibility.
Akihiro Kitamura, playing a Japanese tourist captured by Heiter, is also great but seems to be present purely because swearing sounds so much ruder in Japanese.
The film delivers pretty much what it says on the tin. It's slightly easier to stomach than expected. The style is more Hitchcock than Tarantino and the more horrific aspects take place in the viewer's mind rather than on-screen. For the most part it is effective horror, although there are certainly some scenes that elicited peals of laughter from the whole cinema audience. The "100% medically accurate" claim seems reasonable - at least, it compares well to certain nameless hospital TV dramas. However I noticed that while that nice Dr. Heiter does take his three subjects through the details of the operation using some nifty diagrams before putting them to sleep, he fails to obtain written consent - a surprising error for such an experienced surgeon.
This is a shamefully enjoyable little film. It would also make a great road safety video detailing what will undoubtedly happen to you if you don't learn how to change a tyre.