In probably the best piece of marketing “The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)” could receive, Empire reveals that the BBFC — British Board of Film Classification — has rejected the sequel to the cult film, effectively barring any screenings or DVD release for the film in the country.
In case you’re just playing catch up, director Tom Six unleashed “The Human Centipede” on the world last year and those who have seen it have certainly not forgotten. The film centered on a mad scientist who kidnapped and drugged his victims in order to create the titular centipede, connected mouth to anus in a diabolical surgical experiment. Yes, the movie is as gross at it sounds and the sequel seems to take it up a notch. In the board’s lengthy reasoning — which you can read in full below — they reveal the sequel centers on a new character who watches a DVD of the first film and is inspired to do the same. The sticking point for the BBFC however, is the line drawn between sexual arousal of the main character that runs parallel to the increasingly horrific acts he perpetrates on his victims (again, detailed below). It appears it’s the overall thematic arc that is the issue — and it’s graphic depiction — that is the cause of concern. While the filmmakers have six weeks to appeal the decision, it remains to be seen if they can (or will) edit the film in a manner that will cut muster with the censors.
While this writer certainly won’t be lining up to see “The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)” it’s always troubling when a government body starts making decisions about what films or other material adults can and cannot see. It’s the beginning of a slippery slope — and while the BBFC didn’t make this decision lightly — it’s always a hard line to decide what is truly harmful or illegal for the public (which is a totally subjective determination anyway) and what is distasteful to one or even a good handful of individuals.
Surely, there will be more to come about this decision, but read the BBFC’s full explanation below. IFC Midnight will open the film in North America later this year:
The first film dealt with a mad doctor who sews together three kidnapped people in order to produce the ‘human centipede’of the title. Although the concept of the film was undoubtedly tasteless and disgusting it was a relatively traditional and conventional horror film and the Board concluded that it was not in breach of our Guidelines at ‘18’. This new work, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), tells the story of a man who becomes sexually obsessed with a DVD recording of the first film and who imagines putting the ‘centipede’ idea into practice. Unlike the first film, the sequel presents graphic images of sexual violence, forced defecation, and mutilation, and the viewer is invited to witness events from the perspective of the protagonist. Whereas in the first film the ‘centipede’ idea is presented as a revolting medical experiment, with the focus on whether the victims will be able to escape, this sequel presents the ‘centipede’ idea as the object of the protagonist’s depraved sexual fantasy.
The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims. Examples of this include a scene early in the film in which he masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original Human Centipede film, with sandpaper wrapped around his penis, and a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the ‘centipede’ being forced to defecate into one another’s mouths, culminating in sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the ‘centipede’. There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film 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. There is a strong focus throughout on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure. It is the Board’s conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said: “It is the Board’s carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board’s Guidelines, would risk potential harm within the terms of the VRA, and would be unacceptable to the public.
“The Board also seeks to avoid classifying material that may be in breach of the Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964 (OPA) or any other relevant legislation. The OPA prohibits the publication of works that have a tendency to deprave or corrupt a significant proportion of those likely to see them. In order to avoid classifying potentially obscene material, the Board engages in regular discussions with the relevant enforcement agencies, including the CPS, the police, and the Ministry of Justice. It is the Board’s view that there is a genuine risk that this video work, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), may be considered obscene within the terms of the OPA, for the reasons given above.