“Censorship is a cancer” – Maynard James Keenan.

Last month, one of the most controversial films of this year was widely released into the public’s squinting, disillusioned, unforgiving eye; Tom Six’s sequel to one of the most controversial (and most talked about) films of 2009 – The Human Centipede.

The film mainly featured British actors. It was filmed in Britain. Set in Britain. And banned in Britain.

Then the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification), in their wisdom – and perhaps in response to Six’s outcry in Empire magazine – decided to grant the film an 18 certificate after making 32 compulsory cuts. That’s two minutes and 27 seconds removed from the original.

Even Australia hasn’t gone to this length, and everyone knows they ban everything (well, just about). They passed the film with an R18+ rating. (Although now there has been a call for reclassification of this movie, set for later on this month)

In America, The Human Centipede 2 made its debut in Austin, Texas’s Fantastic Fest, with complimentary barf bags and an ambulance displayed outside. You know, just in case. (And it turned out this was actually warranted when one person became so sick they actually required the help of paramedics)

So, what’s all the fuss about? Why all this censorship? Can’t we handle it over it Britain?

The BBFC stated that the film showed “little attempt to portray any of the victims as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience”.

Deciding that this all sounded like a bit of a lark, I took the liberty of watching the uncut version.

The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) is based around the premise that an obese, mentally ill, bulbous-eyed, middle-aged man who lives with his depraved mother (despite the fact that she seems to hate him), has watched the original movie and has become obsessed with it.

He decides to try and recreate the first film, but with a horrendous 12 people (and one digestive tract). You’d think surely he wouldn’t be able to pull it off, that he’d be caught, maybe after three or four abductions, but no, he manages to get them all together (quite literally, as it turns out), on the floor, in a grimy warehouse, alive, despite brutally hitting each one over the head with a crowbar on numerous occasions.

This is where things start to turn bad. While in the first film, the centipede is constructed with cold, intelligent precision by a completely insane, sadistic, perverted German doctor, this film is as far away from that as it possibly can be; he reaches for a staple gun.

Scenes cut by the BBFC include; violent rape of a woman with the addition of barbed wire, a man masturbating with sandpaper, people’s mouths being stapled to other people’s anuses in a 12-person ‘centipede’ before feeding them laxatives (and the effects of the laxatives themselves – not nice), a newborn baby’s skull being crushed by its alarmed, possibly dying mother as she tries to escape the horror of it all, and graphic scenes of people inadvertently tearing their lips off in a similar attempt to get away from the looming, great, psychotic bulk of ‘Martin’ – who incidentally, does not so much as utter a single word throughout the entire film, instead mainly grunting and making various noises.

No wonder it’s shot in black and white.

So, you’d imagine this to be a pretty intense, seriously sick film; which it is. But the characters (including Martin, of course) are so odd, and react so strangely to situations, that at times it’s just a bit humorous; it’s something you really have to see for yourself.

Six has tried to explain Martin’s psychology with hints of sexual abuse as a child, a mother who resents him for it, a psychiatrist who secretly wants to rape him, and a fascination with a real centipede in a tank.

Some have been comparing this movie to ‘A Serbian Film’ for being ‘brave’ and ‘breaking boundaries’. I’d like to disagree, and point out that at least ‘A Serbian Film’ made the audience feel something for the characters, and had some real depth to the (more believable) story.

‘A Serbian Film’, incidentally, is another victim of the BBFC’s snipping tools, with four minutes 11 seconds cut from the original.

Which brings me back to the issue of censorship.

People are always going to continue to find ways around what is haphazardly shrouded by red tape, despite the limits that are put on what we pass as entertainment these days; it’s all down to personal taste. Whether we choose to censor Showgirls (banned in Morocco), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (banned in China), King Kong (banned in Finland), The King and I (banned in Thailand), or such gorefest torture porn as The Human Centipede 2… It doesn’t matter. The outcome’s the same, and in the age of the internet… ultimately it’s pointless.

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