Hannah Shaw Williams writes for Bleeding Cool:
Yesterday Bleeding Cool was tasked with the sad job of announcing that Dutch director Tom Six‘s sequel to his stomach-churning horror The Human Centipede was ruled too horrifying for the eyes of the sensitive British public by the all-powerful British Board of Film Classification.* The BBFC refused to grant the film even an 18 certificate and ruled that it be denied a certificate, meaning that it cannot legally be shown in cinemas or sold in stores. They issued a statement in which they described some of the fun happenings in the film, spoiling a lot of the major scenes in the process, and concluded that The Human Centipede II “poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.”
I’ll confess a little confusion as to what they mean by “harm”, unless Six plans to organise screenings like a panto with sweets periodically being thrown at members of the audience; those Fruit Salads will have your eye out. Total Film were able to obtain a statement from the director in response to the decision.
“Thank you BBFC for putting spoilers of my movie on your website and thank you for banning my film in this exceptional way. Apparently I made an horrific horror-film, but shouldn’t a good horror film be horrific?
My dear people it is a fucking MOVIE. It is all fictional. Not real. It is all make-belief [sic]. It is art. Give people their own choice to watch it or not.
If people can’t handle or don’t like my movies they just don’t watch them. If people like my movies they have to be able to see it any time, anywhere, also in the UK.”
Now I’m not really looking forward to the film all that much, though I’ll probably download it when it is inevitably released on the internet (I’ll be sure to wear my protective goggles and gloves, however – I don’t take BBFC warnings lightly). The first film was surprisingly good considering the subject matter and nowhere near as graphic and disturbing as the South Park parody The Human CentiPad. It was dark, funny and had some great acting, particularly from Akihiro Kitamura who played the, uh, ‘mouth’ of the centipede. From what I’ve had spoiled for me through the BBFC’s statement, which reads more like a scathing review of the film in general than an objective analysis of the content, it sounds as if The Human Centipede II will lose a lot of the characterisation and subtext that made the first film so interesting and will instead be more concerned with shocking audiences as much as possible. The incredibly lame teaser trailer, which showed Tom Six walking through a parking garage looking smug whilst a voiceover told everyone how badass the second film was going to be, didn’t exactly fill me with confidence either.
However, Tom Six makes a fairly good point. The BBFC are the same idiots who banned films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Evil Dead, two of my favourite horror movies of all time, on the grounds that they would be harmful to audiences. All this despite the fact that Texas Chainsaw barely had any onscreen gore, and The Evil Dead‘s effects were mainly made from tomato ketchup and creamed corn. Thanks to the internet, it’s doubtful that the BBFC will hinder anyone in the UK from watching the film if they really want to, but this will make a large dent in the potential profits for the film and subsequently damage the chances of Tom Six being able to make another sequel.
All this talk about material that’s harmful to the viewers, yet The Only Way is Essex remains on the airwaves. There’s no justice.
*Brendon’s note: All powerful? We’ll see about that.