Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) Dutch Horror Film

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is a 2010 Dutch horror film written and directed by Tom Six. The film tells the story of a German doctor who kidnaps three tourists and joins them surgically, mouth to anus, forming a "human centipede". It stars Dieter Laser as the antagonist Dr. Heiter, with Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, and Akihiro Kitamura as the doctor's victims. According to Six, the concept of the film arose from a joke he made with friends about punishing child molesters by stitching their mouths to the anus of a "fat truck driver". Six has also stated that inspiration for the film came from Nazi medical experiments carried out during World War II, such as the actions of Josef Mengele at Auschwitz concentration camp.

When approaching investors prior to filming, Six did not mention the mouth-to-anus aspect of the plot, fearing it would put off potential backers. The financiers of The Human Centipede did not discover the full nature of the film until it was complete. The Human Centipede received mixed reviews from mainstream film critics, but it won several accolades at international film festivals. The film was released in the United States on Video on Demand on April 28, 2010, and on limited release theatrically on April 30. Tom Six began working on a sequel, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), which is scheduled to be released in 2011.  Read More

Dutch Horror Films
The Dutch film industry is tiny compared to those of other countries, and almost all movies rely on government funding to get made. But despite this fact, documentaries from the Netherlands have long been prized, and a number of performers–including Rutger Hauer and Famke Janssen–have made a successful transition to Hollywood.

Only a smattering of horror films have been made in the country over the years, but the following list details some of the best. If you can’t afford a trip to Amsterdam (the country’s capital), then these Dutch horror films may be the next best thing to a plate of marijuana brownies.
  • The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2010) – Maverick Dutch filmmaker Tom Six directed this film that was bound to piss off critics and reduce numerous viewers to bouts of dry heaving. Set in Germany, the movie follows deranged surgeon Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) as he attempts to fulfill his dream of making a human centipede. This is accomplished by kidnapping a number of tourists–include two pretty American gals and a Japanese male–and joining them mouth to anus. The rest of the film details the frustrated doctor’s attempts to train his new pet, as well as ward off the pesky investigations of a pair of cops. Inspired by the works of David Cronenberg, Six’s outrageous offering drew plenty of controversy upon its release. Film critic Roger Ebert refused to give it any stars, writing, “It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don’t shine.” Imagine the surprise of the film’s investors–who weren’t told the full details of the plot–when they saw it for the first time. The film’s sequel, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), is scheduled for a 2011 release.
  • Amsterdamned (1988) – Dutch director Dick Mass makes the first of three appearances on our list, this time with a tense film about a serial killer using the canal system of Amsterdam as his hunting ground. A single-parent police detective is assigned to the case, and he soon teams up with an old pal who happens to be a member of the river police. Meanwhile, the bodies continue to pile up thanks to series of gruesome murders. The plot doesn’t always make the most sense, but there are a number of high-quality action sequences to enjoy.
  • The Elevator (1983) – Known as De Lift in the Netherlands, this film about a killer elevator was helmed by Dick Maas. When the elevator attacks prove fatal, a snoopy reporter and an elevator repairman team up to take matters into their own hands. This leads to an investigation regarding experimental microchips, as well as additional attacks on anyone without the sense to take the stairs. Maas would also direct a 2001 remake known as Down (The Shaft on the American DVD market) which starred Naomi Watts, James Marshall, Ron Perlman, and Michael Ironside.
  • Sint (2010) – Horror veteran Dick Maas directed this comedy/horror film about Sinterklaas, a popular figure in the Netherlands who’s comparable to Santa Claus. But unlike the jolly old fat man from the North Pole, Saint Niklas is a ghostly madman who returns with his gang of henchmen each year that his holiday (December 5th) coincides with a full moon. Hundreds die during the rampage, and even non-Dutch residents will get a kick out of Sinterklaas and his murderous ways. It’s also nice to see Maas return to the horror genre, his first such movie in nine years.
  • The Vanishing (1988) – While some might label this film a thriller, I maintain that it’s quite horrifying in its own way. Rex (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia (Johanna ter Steege) are a Dutch couple enjoying a cycling holiday through France. Then Saskia goes into a convenience store for drinks and never returns. Consumed with a desire to know what happened to his girlfriend, Rex spends the next three years conducting his own investigations. This draws the attention of her abductor (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu), and a series of flashbacks show us his methodical plan to commit the “ultimate evil.” Even though the antagonist is revealed early on, you’ll be guessing right up until the end credits. Skip the lackluster American remake starring Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Nancy Travis, and Kiefer Sutherland.
  • Slaughter Night (2006) – Also known by the confusing title Sl8n8, this co-production between the Netherlands and Belgium stars scream queen Victoria Koblenko as Kristel, an 18-year-old woman who’s recently lost her father in a car crash. It seems that daddy was doing research on serial killers, and Kristel decides to take on his work by convincing her pals to help her investigate an abandoned mine where child murderer Andries Martins met his end. But when they become trapped in the underground maze, it becomes obvious that the spirit of Martins is still hanging around and looking for fresh victims. While it’s generic in spots, the claustrophobic nature of the setting and Koblenko’s performance help elevate the overall product.
  • Two Eyes Staring (2010) – Touted as “the scariest Dutch horror film since The Vanishing,” Two Eyes Staring follows Lisa (Isabelle Stokkel), a nine-year-old with a vivid imagination who lives in a creepy mansion. While constantly reminding her mother of demons from the past, the thoughtful Lisa makes a new friend during playtime in the spooky home‘s darkened corridors. But it turns out her new pal is a ghost, one with a close tie to Lisa’s family. The plotline is nothing new, but the style and execution make this one a recommended rental.  Read More 

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