April 30, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

There’s a certain breed of horror-film junkie who craves the extreme (I know, I’m one of them), and the dosage of awesome ickiness has to keep getting upped. It’s to my fellow depravity-heads — and to no one else — that I recommend The Human Centipede (First Sequence), a surgical-nightmare exploitation film that has no pretense to anything beyond making you go, ”My God, now that is gross.”

In Germany, a stalled car strands two tourists (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie), who take refuge in the woodsy home of a local resident. His name is Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser), and he’s a celebrity surgeon and secret psychopath who drugs the women and straps them into beds in his basement laboratory, where another victim already lies. He then explains that he plans to make all three of them part of a mad experiment in which he will surgically join them, mouth to rear end, to create a human centipede. Much of the film’s ”entertainment value” rests on the sadistically outlandish performance of Dieter Laser, who’s like Boris Karloff starring in a movie by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The film itself, as staged by Dutch director Tom Six, is a fairly crafty piece of over-the-top suspense. By showing exactly what it promises to show, it lets us peer into a B-movie abyss. But unlike its obvious influence, the 1999 Japanese shocker Audition, The Human Centipede has no real-world echoes. It’s an only-in-the-movies sick goof. B+

See all of this week’s reviews

type
Movie
Genre
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
90 minutes
director
Cast
Dieter Laser,
Ashley C. Williams

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