Yesterday, I watched a 2009 Dutch thriller, The Human Centipede. I originally thought it was just another blockbuster film typically found on the Sci-Fi channel, not too different from “Crocodile,” “8-Legged Freaks,” “Piranhas,” “Mosquito,” or “Attack of the Killer Catepillar.” On the contrary, it was a scientifically relevant film that makes us wonder, “Could this be possible?” Call him a 21st century Dr. Frankenstein or crazy genius. As the cover phrase goes, “Their flesh is his fantasy.” Even sicker: “Shockingly controversial, 100% medically accurate.” Psh, yea right.
The title should give away the plot. A renowned, now retired, German doctor used to separate conjoined twins. As a healing doctor, he worked to fix and patch up nature’s aberrations; now he has become a mad scientist who makes it his mission to create life. That is, he wants to build a human centipede.
In the opening, we see him reminiscing over his dogs, which if we pay close attention, are connected. He kidnaps several people (a Japanese and two Americans), sedates them in his basement, and proceeds with his sick experiment. His idea is to connect the three unfortunate souls (A-B-C) from mouth to anus, thereby maintaining a single alimentary canal. The disgusting part, easily foreseen, is when A eats and eventually excrete his indigestible byproducts. You really do not want to be the middle B, since you consume what he excretes. The spunky, yet unlucky American girl gets that spot after she pisses the doctor off and fights for her freedom. And of course, there is no escape from his abode in the middle of the woods.
The surgery happens. They get knocked out with laughing gas. They get connected from mouth to anus. Their patellar ligaments are cut as well, and I understand why, courtesy of anatomy. Several ligaments protect the knee joint: anterior/posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL, PCL) and medial/lateral collateral ligaments (MCL, LCL). All prevent axial rotation. ACL and PCL prevent hyperextension and hyperflexion, respectively; MCL and LCL protect against inward (adduction) and outward (abduction) dislocation of the knee. Now, if the mad doctor removes the ligaments protecting the patella, then it’s easier to stay in the flexed form and walk on the knees without wearing away at the ligaments.
They get reduced down to dogs, not unlike his previous experimental centipede. They are naked, cold, and incapable of communication; they crawl, fetch, and get whiplashed if disobedient. All they can do is mumble and cry, which only excite the perverted doctor.
Well, the German medical community has wondered, “So, is this remotely possible?” Theoretically, there is one, long alimentary canal. The first guy can eat and pass on the food through his system and onto the next. That’s where I believe the possibilities end. His food is digested, and what’s left are the feces. While he has absorbed the nutrients, the next two people cannot eat, especially if it’s only poop. They will starve and die. The middle one has the worst position because poop is sure to be the only source of food; the last one may or may not get anything, and will surely starve. In addition, feces are consolidated in the large intestine, after all the food has been digested and the appropriate nutrients absorbed. Inside the colon live bacteria and other microorganisms that assist in the last part of digestion and water absorption. Needless to say, germ-infested feces will surely infect the ends of the centipede. So no, this monster idea is not something that can happen anytime soon.
After my sister and I watched this movie, she giggled to me, “See? I told you science people are a little weird.” Right.
And then we found this festive German decor…
What do I think is more ridiculous? A sequel, The Human Centipede: Full Sequence, due out in 2011. This time, it will be 12 people!!! Seriously, Tom Six, really? First he gets his inspiration for this blockbuster from a joke over punishing criminal child molesters. Then, he tricks his financial sponsors by neglecting to mention what ‘surgical procedure’ he was planning to draft. Now, a sequel? I’m baffled.