It has been stated by the BBFC that The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence, has been refused a certification and thus cannot be legally released in the UK. The sequel to the recent horror hit is stylistically different from the first, in that it uses the first film as a piece of fiction rather than actual events. In it, the main character becomes “sexually obsessed” with the film and replicating the onscreen horrors.
The full press release from the BBFC can be found on the BBFC website (and is VERY SPOILER HEAVY, but some key quotes are posted below.
“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.”
The press release goes on to focus on the sexual influence of much of the film’s contents;
“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.”
While The Human Centipede was, at its core, a somewhat traditional mad Scientist horror film, this second film takes the franchise into an altogether more meta place. It is that breaking of the fourth wall, and the use of that particular technique in this context, that has caused the BBFC to refuse the film a certificate.
What interests me with this case is the fact that the BBFC seem to have closely considered this particular issue, and as much as I love horror (and as much as I am against censorship), I can understand their decision. Violence and gore onscreen is one thing, but perhaps that dalliance with attempting to put a real-world spin on this story has pushed things too far. A later comment, in which they state that the film cannot be released as no amount of cuts will make it acceptable, is also understandable.
This case evokes the dark days of the 1980s Video Nasties controversy that swept across the UK, in that this film is being banned as there is a genuine fear that its contents could corrupt its viewers.
On the other hand, if someone is going to watch a film called Human Centipede 2, with full knowledge of what to expect (either from seeing the first film or word of mouth), then how far can those people truly be corrupted by it? I am playing Devil’s Advocate here. I’m a diehard horror fan, but when a case like this comes along (which is all-to-rare these days), it is important that we take a look at why such a strong decision has been made.
Right now, ever more violent, graphic and bloody films are being passed with a certificate, and they are a million times nastier than the titles of yore. Maybe when a film such as this is banned outright, it’s time to think about just how far it is possible to go before crossing over into senseless bad taste. When a film delights in the atrocities onscreen rather than seeks to show how awful they are, it stops being a movie and just becomes violent p*rn. For the future of the genre and indeed low budget moviemaking, is this really a direction we should be taking?