Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Film Review: The Human Centipede

There’s a buzz in town and it’s all about Dutch horror The Human Centipede which received a general UK release this August.  It’s directed by Tom Six, who says he got the idea from discussing what punishments should be meted out to paedophiles.  Worried yet?  You should be…

Dr Heiter is a man with a vision, a man with a dream.  ‘A cure for AIDS?’ I hear you cry.  Pah.  Our doctor has much more lofty heights to scale.  He’s going to create…O horrible! O horrible! Most horrible…the…er…well, the clue’s in the title.  And create it he does, out of two unsuspecting American gals who’ve clearly never watched a horror film and an unlucky Japanese guy.

The three segments never amount to much by themselves.  The acting is so hammy I thought I was watching a porn film for a minute.  But they get more interesting once they are, ahem, joined.  That’s joined mouth to anus in case you didn’t know.  The doctor is a demented blend of Bela Lugosi, Klaus Kinski and Sunset Beach.  I don’t know if making him German and calling him Josef Heiter was a deliberate ploy, but all I could think of was Josef Mengele and his twin studies.  The Japanese segment was also clearly thinking the same when it yells, ‘You crazy Nazi bastard!’ or some such sentiment.

But is it any good?  Well, it had a certain funny aspect to it.  Watching a human centipede being trained to fetch papers or whatever the doctor wanted it for is always going to elicit a few giggles.  But my overriding thoughts were for the segments.  Who’s got the best deal? I thought.  If I HAD to be a human centipede, which segment would I be?  Well, the front one’s got the best deal clearly.  It gets to lead the way, to eat food and it keeps its teeth.  But the middle or end?  Dr Heiter thinks the middle is the worst section and uses it as punishment.  I suppose you’d feel a trifle constricted.  But the end segment is last in everything, shuffling along behind, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.  So I guess I’d be the front segment.  If I absolutely HAD to be a human centipede.

But…is it any good?  Well I chuckled a few times, got grossed out by some scatology and mused on the life of a segment of a human centipede.

It’s a joke - right?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Film Review: Triangle

Imagine Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining mixed with Vigalondo’s Timecrimes at sea and you’ve essentially got British horror film, Triangle.  Of course, if you’re familiar with the hubbub about this film you’ll know that director Chris Smith says he came up with the idea two years before Timecrimes.  But hey, who cares?  It’s the chicken and the egg.

I can’t really say much else about the plot or I’ll give it all away, but the spoiler free basics are simple enough.  Jess (Melissa George, or Angel as I still like to call her) is a single mum with an autistic son.  She and a group of friends are caught in a freak storm while sailing and manage to board a ship that passes their capsized boat.

But there seems to be nobody aboard, apart from that sinister figure stalking them…cue lots of shots of a confused George looking over her shoulder, along long art deco style ship corridors.  She’s got deju-vu bad and there’s definitely a spooky atmosphere.

Fans of The Shining will love the references and there’s some great editing going on here, which comes to its fullest realisation in the final part of the movie.  That’s all I’m saying.  But there’s also some gaping plot holes and whilst George’s character is multi-layered, helped by a strong performance, the other characters are a bit stiff.  Try and remember all their names.  Bet you can’t.

Book Review: Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux

Theroux’s Strange Bodies is an immensely readable literary thriller which actually works quite well. It follows a strange but recognisabl...