I’m sure we can all remember where we were the first time we saw The Human Centipede. Okay, so the film proved to be about as shocking and memorable as a John Mayer song, but I actually have a sort of cute story to accompany my first viewing of, (if director Tom Six had any balls) what should have cleverly been called, Anus-to-Mouth or Shitty Stitches. I went to a midnight screening at the Ritz East with a friend whom I’d had the giantest crush on for the better part of a decade (Smittenness cancels out proper grammar, in case you didn’t know.) It was her idea to see the movie, for the record. The story’s even funnier if you knew that the girl was the big sister of a Hollywood megastar who has made a career of starring in films that are… well, the opposite of movies involving people consuming feces. However, when we walked out of the theater, we had the same reactions as anyone else after first seeing the film: “That was it?”
Not only did the film lack any display of cinematic competence, but its ability to Get-Off-On-Grossness deserved a C- at best. There were Jenna-Jameson-sized holes in the plot and anyone that knows the phrase “Midnight Movie” or “European Art House” would find it about as disturbing as Michael Bay’s latest… actually Michael Bay films are pretty disturbing, but you know what I mean.
As soon as The Human Centipede (First Sequence) began garnering not-disgusted-but-simply-bored criticism, auteur Tom Six warned of the currently-in-production sequel (yeah, whatever, Mr. Lamesauce) that would make the original look like My Little Pony. Okay, so I have my doubts, but I’m a big fan of watching “individuals” (I guess a human centipede could be considered an “individual.”) choke on their own shit (Maybe Six and I have more in common than I would like to admit.), so I’m willing to check it out. Luckily for me, it is premiering stateside this week, on October 7th, and has 10PM screenings on 10/7 and 10/8 at Ritz at the Bourse.
Six is promising his latest work to be “The sickest movie of all-time.” Again, it’s hard to trust someone who recently produced such a vomit-tease, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Although, if he proves to be full of it once again, I vote that we make him the subject of a legit snuff film (I’ll volunteer my apt. for the setting), so at least he can die staying true to his word of being a part of “The Sickest Movie of All-Time.”
As my readers know, I’m not easily shocked or disturbed by that which is considered conventionally disturbing (and am shocked and disturbed by things that are intended for children living in the WASPiest of suburbs) and, according to friends and lovers, my tastes have a penchant for the disturbing. So below I have provided you with a list of five films that are not only abrasively beautiful but, are also likely to void the stomachs of any and all squares. These films are actually worth seeing (and likely have a heady thing or two to teach you).
5. Antichrist Lars von Trier (2009)
I really don’t see this film as having a place on this list but, one of my dearest friends and generally loveliest people on the entire planet (Alana), has said that watching a film has never put her in such pain… and I have heard other murmurings that lead me to believe she’s not an anomaly. Most of these murmurings, however, are in regards to the “ejaculation of blood” scene, the “fox eating its own entrails” scene, and the “clitoris severed by a pair of rusty scissors” scene. But the most gut-wrenching thing about this pic is the realization, upon watching it, that we do perpetuate a culture in which all things feminine and female are bashed, sliced, and incinerated before they can “harm” us… all in the name of “progress.”
4. Man Bites Dog Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel, and Benoit Poelvoorde (1992)
If there is a common thread between all of the films on this list, according to people like me, it is that they are all massively misunderstood. Yes, this film does encourage you to laugh at a seven-year-old boy being smothered to death and a couple being gang raped and then disemboweled. But, what you all seem to be missing is the comedy in someone who can so casually end the life of the average individual, but who has a firm grasp on the implications of “gentrification.” Yes, you should maybe be critical of a mass murderer who claims to have empathy for the masses. But, you should also be a bit critical of someone who boasts of donating to charity, yet regularly refers to “those people.”
3. Pink Flamingos John Waters (1972)
A chicken is fucked to death (IN REAL LIFE!!!), doggie diarrhea is sucked down like a Slurpee (IN REAL LIFE!!!), and children gladly bang their parents in the film that made John Waters a legend. You may have to dig deep to find the social commentary in this B-movie Absurdist farce but, if you can repress your gag reflex, it actually is there.
2. Sweet Movie Dusan Makavejev (1974)
Somehow, my students tend to find Marx to be a bit tedious. The “founding fathers” generally evoke an equally apathetic response. However, when both Communist and Capitalist rhetoric is critiqued through vaginal beauty pageants and the fetishising of vomit and golden showers, yawning seems to be the least likely response.
1. Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom Pier Paolo Pasolini (1976)
So I’m guessing it’s not a huge surprise to anyone that the film which I consider to be my favorite of all-time happens to be that which is regularly regarded as the most controversial ever made. However, the most shocking thing about the scenes of the sexual mutilation of children and the consumption of “waste” in Pasolini’s final film should be how closely they relate to your experiences purchasing fast food during your lunch break and punching ballots in November.