The Thing

Year: 2011   Company: Universal Pictures   Runtime: 103′
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.   Writer: Eric Heisserer    Cinematography: Michel Abramowicz
Music: Marco Beltrami   Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen
Out Now in wide release.
In the interest of fair play, blah blah blah SPOILERS blah blah.

It’s heading towards 12:30 in the morning here as I start to write this, and it’s been roughly half an hour since the credits rolled on my late night screening of The Thing - the new Universal production based upon events hinted at, but never fully revealed, in the 1982 John Carpenter film of the same name.  Living in the city I have no car, and thus enjoyed a leisurely walk back from the theater with two friends, sharing a few social cigarettes and taking measure of what we had just witnessed as we went.  We had all been bright-eyed and hopeful as we shuffled into the theater, but we had emerged beaten, heart broken.  As I said my goodbyes and entered my apartment lobby I knew I had to start writing, and soon.  What’s more, I knew this was to be no ordinary review piece.  It was to be an exorcism.

John C. Campbell’s serialized 1938 novella Who Goes There?, a frightfully original tale of alien paranoia in the cold wastes of Antarctica, has led a charmed life with regards to its cinematic legacy – one that rivals that of Jack Finney’s 1955 novel The Body Snatchers, itself adapted successfully, and numerous times to boot.  Famed Hollywood producer and director Howard Hawks did his friend and sometimes editor Christopher Nyby a favor in granting him the role of director on Who Goes There?‘s first screen adaptation, 1951′s The Thing From Another World.  One of the most successful genre productions of its time in terms of craftsmanship and entertainment value, The Thing From Another World nevertheless altered much of the substance of the source story and, frankly, bares little direct relation Universal’s newest iteration.  It’s still a fantastic film, and anyone reading this article owes it to themselves to track it down.

Tenuous as its relationship to the 2011 film may be, The Thing From Another World cements its place in the paternal heritage of it by virtue of its influence on one man – John Carpenter, who for his first major Hollywood production was given the green light to craft Who Goes There?‘s second cinematic interpretation.  Rather than source from the 1951 screenplay, though several of its points are homaged, Carpenter’s screenwriter Bill Lancaster sought inspiration directly from the Campbell novella.  The results were phenomenal in their own right, a gruesome exercise in paranoia and body horror whose disgustingly imaginative creature effects put Rob Bottin on the map.  Carpenter’s The Thing replicates Campbell’s original shape-shifting alien menace with genuinely disturbing results, horrifying its audience through a palpable sense of isolation and by concealing its terrors beneath ordinary human skin.  Who can the audience trust when the cast of the film can’t trust itself, and anyone might be a “thing”?

It may seem strange to spend such a goodly part of an article purportedly devoted to a new release by praising its predecessors, but this new The Thing positively demands such comparison by virtue of its existence alone.  Directed by feature newcomer Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and penned by Eric Heisserer (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 and Final Destination 5) this new The Thing foregoes any attempts at further adapting the Campbell story (though it is credited) and instead takes the Carpenter film as its jumping off point, choosing to relate events that occurred prior to that film’s narrative start but whose aftermath is shown therein.  As such The Thing 2011 exists as a willful companion piece to the 1982 film, even going so far as to repeat some of the footage from that film in its final reel, and doesn’t so much invite as necessitate comparisons between itself and its selfsame predecessor / successor.

Things become more complicated when one tries to classify just what this The Thing actually is.  In terms of its timeline it is clearly a prequel, a film that takes place before the narrative of an earlier film.  Simple enough, right?  Unfortunately screenwriter Heisserer lacked the imagination necessary to craft any sort of original story from the key points of the 1982 The Thing - a creepy cremated inhuman corpse, a helicopter chasing a dog, an unearthed spaceship and a shack full of dead Norwegians – that it insists upon following.  The result is a prequel that repurposes so much of the narrative arc of the film that it purportedly precedes, going so far as to replicate not just events but whole groups of characters,  that it actually becomes a remake of it as well.  And so this The Thing comes full circle, becoming an allegory for itself – a hollow cinematic monstrosity that tries very hard to convince audiences it’s something that it isn’t.

To anyone at all familiar with the 1982 The Thing a relation of the plot here is mostly pointless, as only the trappings are different.  Paleontologist Mary Elizabeth Winstead and her disposable mop-haired associate are contracted by a Norwegian scientist to travel to an isolated Antarctic geological research site and dig up the thing of the title.  Along the way they meet up with two American helicopter pilots – one channeling Keith David, the other Kurt Russel.  Once there the thing, the survivor of a gigantic crashed flying saucer, is quickly dug out of the ice and moved to a Norwegian camp full of disposable bearded men of dubious purpose.  A bit of brazen stupidity on the part of the team’s resident baddie, an egotistical scientist of something or other who wants to ride his discovery all the way to a Nobel prize, results in the thing getting loose, leading to the expected monster antics but little else.  Winstead eventually discovers the thing’s devilish shape-shifting secret and quickly sets about checking the fillings in everyone’s teeth (the thing is evidently incapable of growing and too stupid to fake inorganic features), though she needn’t have bothered – it takes every opportunity to spoil the fun and pop out of its warm and people-y hiding places.

On that note let’s talk special effects, and why the “anything is possible” promise of computer animation has let this particular vehicle down so badly.  Contrary to what many unflinching adherents to the old ways may think, my problem here is not one of methods, and as such I’ll not argue that Rob Bottin’s traditional latex and karo syrup techniques are any more acceptable than the CGI that gluts the market today.  The problem here is with frequency, and the “anything is possible” tendency to whip up any batshit idea that comes to mind regardless of whether or not it serves the story.  Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing is a certifiable gross-out affair, but a sparing one, and its limited number of outrageous effects set-pieces are both appropriate for the titular menace (which only emerges in defense of itself or in secret) and allow the film to build and at times subvert audience expectations.  In one famous bit the head of a human impostor, in a show of mad self preservation, creeps off a medical table and propels itself about a room by its tongue before sprouting a set of slender insectine legs and skittering towards freedom.  It’s an effect that still prompts an ick reaction from this jaded viewer.

There are attempts at similar occurrences in The Thing 2011, with a multitude of people’s arms sloughing off (I’m honestly not sure where all the arms come from) and becoming skittery lobster monsters, but the film insists upon repeating them until they are devoid of even the minimal impact they had to start with.  The joy of the 1982 The Thing is that the creature’s form is all together unpredictable – each appearance is different from the last, with the beast’s true nature, if any, remaining obscure.  What’s more, the creature’s more monstrous forms are granted a purpose - self preservation in the face of certain annihilation.  The Thing 2011 can’t be bothered with such silliness as that and instead shows its monsters early and often and with little rhyme or reason.  Muscular and be-tentacled torsos and heads careen from one end of the Norwegian camp to the other with much growling and gnashing of teeth, but it’s all so obvious.  Of what possible evolutionary benefit is shape-shifting if the creature keeps exposing itself to that from which it is attempting to hide?  Don’t ask The Thing 2011, as it doesn’t have a clue.

Similarly clueless are The Thing 2011′s multitude of under-developed sub-characters, who wander off alone and in pairs even after the alien’s penchant for hiding in people skins is made abundantly clear (if you know a shape-shifting alien is afoot and someone asks you to wander off with them for some dubious purpose, don’t do it – you will be killed).  Heisserer’s scripting seems mostly to blame, though one might well ask how such bunk was ever green lit in the first place.  It’s difficult to gauge the level of proficiency of the cast, as even Winstead is given little to do but state the obvious and look stern.  The various Norwegians grumble a lot and shout a bit, but mostly just die.   Of some note is Heisserer’s odd fixation on birth-related horrors, which is reflected in the special effects production – an autopsy of an alien creature reveals a “womb”, and man after man is engulfed by toothy vaginal whatsits.  It’s the sort of thing that might make for an interesting article if The Thing 2011 could be bothered to make the viewer care.  As such it’s just so much trapping.

The Thing 2011 eventually devolves into a standard chase scenario, with Winstead pursuing the last inhuman holdout across the ice and into the alien ship for an action sequence of inept proportions.  I was hoping for one last gasp of originality, perhaps a whole ship-load of anomolous alien monstrosities, but no dice.  As the credits cranked up the beginning of the 1982 film began to roll, complete with Ennio Morricone’s sparse and haunting score – their tarnished memories were a final insult.  For Heijningen, Heisserer, and all of the producers who had a say in this The Thing coming to pass I had but a single parting thought:

Zombie Rival – The Super Ninja Master

a.k.a. Zombie vs. Ninja / Zombie Rivals / Zombie Rival / Zombie Rival – The Super Master
Year:
1988   Company: IFD Films and Arts Limited   Runtime: 88′
Director: Godfrey Ho   Writers: AAV Creative Center, Godfrey Ho    Cinematography: Raymond Chang
Music: Stephen Tsang   Cast: Pierre Kirby, Dewey Bosworth, Thomas Hartham, Patrick Frzebar, Elton Chong,
Mike Wong-Lung, Jin Nu-Ri, Guk Ching-Woon, Kim Wuk, Cheung Chit, Kim Wong-Cheol, Park Wan-Su
Order the OOP VHS edition from Amazon.com

First things first – I’ve absolutely no idea what this little nugget of white-ninja mayhem is supposed to be called, and a quick Google search reveals that it has no fewer than five titles in English alone!  Even the IFD Films and Arts-produced English trailer appears confused, showing one title while the narrator reads another.  It seems pertinent to note that none of the five titles I found are terribly accurate, from the relatively straight-forward Zombie vs. Ninja on up.  As such I’ll be referring to the film by my favorite of the five, which also happens to be the most convoluted and nonsensical: Zombie Rival – The Super Ninja Master.

Never let it be said that Joseph Lai and Godfrey Ho couldn’t come up with a good title (or five) when pressed for them.  Good films, however, seem to have been another matter entirely…

Zombie Rival – The Super Ninja Master follows squarely in the footsteps of other Lai and Ho spectacles, and presents viewers with a more or less passable import feature that’s been cut to match a new story (in this case one written by the dubbing company!) and framed with all-new Ho-directed material starring an all-white cast.  In this case the results are particularly dubious but no less enjoyable for the trouble, with ‘stars’ Pierre Kirby and Dewey Bosworth (of Thunder of Gigantic Serpent fame) looking well out of place in their shiny off-the-shelf fighting regalia and matching ninja head bands.  Remember kids, real ninjas wear head gear that says ninja.

"I think his name is Duncan... something..."

At its heart Zombie Rival – The Super Ninja Master is actually a fanciful South Korean martial arts comedy from 1983, The Undertaker From Sohwa Province, a film that unfortunately appears unavailable in its original condition (VHS and DVD releases under the title Gravedigger are reportedly sourced from the ZRTSNM edit, and lose the hilarious white-guys but retain the awful English dialogue track that refers to them).  The story for Undertaker follows a predictable arc, with an impetuous youngster witnessing the deaths of his parents at the hands of kung-fu baddies, then hooking up with a secret martial arts master so that he might learn the tricks of the trade and seek glorious kung-fu vengeance.

Though the story of The Undertaker From Sohwa Province will sound broadly familiar, the difference is really in the details.  The requisite kung-fu master is the eponymous undertaker, a scabby buck-toothed parody who raises the dead just for kicks and relishes nothing more than tormenting his young underling Ethan (that’s IFD Film and Arts’ name for him, not mine – he’s played affably by South Korean genre star Elton Chong).  Through the undertaker’s bizarre tactics Ethan somehow learns a fighting style that looks like the martial arts equivalent of dancing the robot.  If that’s what digging holes and carrying around coffins full of rocks all day can net you, then count me in!  It is in this source film that the only supernatural elements of Zombie Rival – The Super Ninja Master are found, as the undertaker’s underling does practice combat with a variety of living corpses.  Peripheral characters also display unnatural abilities, as in the case of a female baddie who seems capable of disappearing at will.

There’s a lot of legitimate bemusement to be had with Undertaker‘s light-hearted material, which features Ethan sledding through a wintry forest on a coffin among other things.  The same cannot be said of the frequently profane post-dubbing applied by Lai associate ADDA Audio and Visual limited (who helped Joseph Lai bring knock-off pan-Asian animations like Raiders of Galaxy to English audiences), which is heaps of fun for all the wrong reasons.  I can’t imagine that there were more than a handful of personnel working the voice side of Zombie Rival – The Super Ninja Master, but they get away with a range of improbable characterizations, from the shrill, squeaky undertaker to the arch and dramatic father of his pupil.  Adding to the hilarity are the highly inappropriate English names forced upon the characters – in addition to Ethan there are Bobby, Bert, Ira, Mason, Duncan and so on.

  
  
  

The competent (if incompetently presented) Undertaker is interrupted early and often by the new white-centric dramatics of Godfrey Ho.  The writing for these sequences fairs about as well as for the other dubbed material, often beginning mid-conversation (“…so that’s the plan”) and continuing on into dull and ambiguous pontificating about stolen gold and positions of power.  All of it would be quite drab and forgettable were it not being performed with such earnest by middle-aged white men running around the woods in cheap Halloween costumes.  Ho attempts, if only lazily, to intersect his new story with that of the appropriated footage, but the results are awful at best, with Pierre Kirby and Dewey Bosworth speaking to characters obviously in other locations entirely.

When it comes to action Ho is a bit better equipped, even if the results are less than stellar.  Ho coaxes Kirby, Bosworth, and a larger cast of unrecognizable Caucasians into a slew of lightning-paced action sequences that have katanas clashing and men leaping about with maddening frequency.  It reminded fondly of the psychotic action direction seen in the Turkish exploitation of old, trampolines and all, and I wasn’t bothered in the least when Kirby was replaced mid-shot by a foot-shorter stunt double in an awful floppy wig.

Truth be told, I was at a complete loss for what to say about Zombie Rival – The Super Ninja Master until just this point, and now I think I’ve said more than enough.  There’s no arguing that it’s an immensely stupid, terrible film, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoyed every minute of it.  Between this and the indescribable Robo Vampire I feel I’m quickly becoming one of the Ho faithful, and open to whatever dreadful implications that might imply.  Your mileage may vary, but if you only see one “bad white actors pretending to be ninjas” film this year it may as well be this one.

This review needed more Pierre Kirby. I make no apologies.

in conclusion
Film: Yeah, about that…
Final Thoughts: This is another martial arts pastiche of remarkable stupidity, but with Godfrey Ho involved we should expect nothing less.  I loved it, but may not be of sound mind.

Contamination .7

a.k.a. Creepers / The Crawlers / Troll III
Year: 1990   Company: Filmirage   Runtime: 91′
Director: Joe D’Amato, Fabrizio Laurenti   Writers: Daniele Stoppa, Fabrizio Laurenti, Albert Lawrence, Rosella Drudi   Cinematography: Francisco J. Madurga   Music: Carlo Maria Cordio   Cast: Mary Sellers, Jason Saucier, Bubba Reeves, Chelsi Stahr, Vince O’Neil, Billy Buttler, Lord Chester, Patrick Collins, Edy Eby
Available on OOP VHS from Epic Home Video, or as streaming video vis Netflix Instant Viewing.

It’s never a good sign when a film is most popularly known for being a member of the dubious Troll franchise, particularly when the film in question has nothing to do with tiny mythical monsters or their wily ways.  Such is the case with Contamination .7, a cheapo Filmirage sci-fi horror whose only connection to the Troll empire are a few crew members and a penchant for being immeasurably dreadful.  Never mind that I could find no corroborating evidence for Contamination .7 ever actually being released as Troll III (a title also bestowed upon D’Amato’s confoundedly inept Ator sequel Quest for the Mighty Sword- the name has stuck with the online community and, for this film, that’s good enough.

A tasteless mix of inert drama, The China Syndrom-style conspiracy claptrap, and limp mutant monster mayhem, Contamination .7 (or whatever you want to call it) concerns an ill-defined and unnamed small town in the American West whose very existence is threatened when illegal toxic waste dumping by a nuclear plant causes local trees to sprout evil carnivorous roots.  That’s right. Evil… carnivorous… roots.

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Robo Vampire

Year: 1988   Company: Filmark International Ltd.   Runtime: 90′
Director: Joe Livingstone  Writers: William Palmer   Cinematography: Anthony Mang
Music: Alan Wilson   Cast: Robin Mackay, Nian Watts, Harry Miles, Joe Browne, Nick Norman,
George Tripos, David Borg, Diana Byrne, Alan Drury, Ernst Mausser, Sorapong Chatree
Available on OOP DVD from BCI / Eclipse. Product link: Amazon.com

Confession time.  I’ve been slacking off on my Wtf-Film duties as of late, content with letting the movies come to me by way of screeners or the odd pre-order.  That’s not to say that I haven’t covered some good stuff, with Phenomena and The Beyond arriving from Arrow Video or Shout! Factory’s latest MST3K box, but all of those properties fell right into my lap (or mailbox, rather).  The simple sad fact of the matter is that I’ve been lazy, satisfied to bask in the relative comfort of review discs while this site’s purpose fades into the ether.

Well no more, I say!  I long for that elusive high, the blissful intoxication of chancing upon a film of mind-altering strangeness.  It’s high time that the hunt was on again, and I’ll be damned if today’s find didn’t get the dopamine a-flowing.

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Flesheater

a.k.a.: Flesh Eater: Return of the Living Dead / Return of the Living Zombies / Zombie Nosh
Year: 1988   Company: H & G Films Ltd., Hinzman   Runtime: 88′
Director: Bill Hinzman   Writers: Bill Hinzman, Bill Randolph   Cinematography: Simon Manses
Music: Erica Portnoy   Cast: Bill Hinzman, John Mowod, Leslie Ann Wick, Kevin Kindlin,
Charis Kirkpatrick Acuff, James J. Rutan, Lisa Smith, Denise Morrone, Mark Strycula
Disc company: Media Blasters / Shriek Show   Video: 1080p 1.78:1    Audio: DTS-HD MA 2.0 English
Subtitles: None   Disc: BD25 (Region A)   Release Date: 08/31/2010   Product link: Amazon.com

A bunch of drunk college jerks, hillbillies and innocent bystanders become embroiled in a zombie epidemic when a farmer unwittingly releases the eponymous Flesh Eater (guess who?) from his woodland tomb.  A local posse loosely organized by the police heads out to stop the crisis before the entire state of Pennsylvania is infested with walking un-dead.

Sometime in the ’80s Bill Hinzman, the cemetery ghoul from Romero’s 1968 opus Night of the Living Dead, walked into a horror convention and realized that, for whatever reason, he and his zombie alter-ego had developed a cult following.  Looking to capitalize on his middling fame and give his fans more of what they admired him for, Hinzman (who had made a comfortable living for himself in industrial films) set about developing a zombie vanity project in which he would take credit as producer, writer, director, editor, and star.  The result is 1988′s Flesh Eater (released straight-to-video by Magnum Entertainment as Revenge of the Living Zombies), a shoestring horror steeped to the gills in gore, sleaze, and unimaginable stupidity.

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The Terror Within / Dead Space

The Terror Within: Year: 1989   Company: Concorde Pictures   Runtime: 88′
Director: Thierry Notz   Writer: Thomas M. Cleaver   Cinematography: Ronn Schmidt
Music: Rick Conrad  Cast: George Kennedy, Andrew Stevens, Starr Andreff, Terri Treas
Dead Space: Year: 1991   Company: Califilm   Runtime: 72′
Director: Fred Gallo   Writer: Catherine Cyran   Cinematography: Mark Parry
Music: Daniel May    Cast: Marc Singer, Bryan Cranston, Judith Chapman, Laura Tate
Disc company: Shout! Factory   Video: Progressive, 1.85:1 (16:9) / 4:3    Audio: DD 2.0 English
Subtitles: None   Disc: Dual Layer DVD9   Release Date: 11/02/2010   Product link: Amazon.com

Isolated bands of post-apocalyptic survivors and scientists are threatened by mutant terrors courtesy of this double feature from Shout! Factory’s continuing Roger Corman’s Cult Classics line.  Corman was never one to let a success pass him by, but even he was pushing it in plundering Alien for inspiration a decade after the fact.  Neither of these films would have registered as more than a blip on the box office radar of their time, but I suspect that wasn’t the point.  With the drive-in generation drawing to a close and independents being pushed to the very edge, Corman was banking on a new cultural storm to earn him his cherished buck – the age of the video store.

The Terror Within plays as a more-or-less straight forward rip-off of Ridley Scott’s iconic horror opus, bookended by apocalyptic motifs Corman himself had been working with since the ’50s.  Sometime in the future an anonymous plague, brought on by no-good biological warfare research, has left the world a de-populated wasteland crawling with near-invincible mutants dubbed ‘gargoyles’.  George Kennedy and his band of government-employed survivors must fight to survive when the monsters, who reproduce by raping human women, invade their underground research compound in the Mojave Desert.

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Slumber Party Massacre III

film rating:
disc rating:
company: New Concorde
year: 1990
runtime: 87′
director: Sally Mattison
cast: Yan Birch, Brandi Burckett,
Hope Marie Carlton, Keely Christian,
Maria Claire, Alexander Falk
writer: Catherine Cyran
cinematography: Jurgen Baum
music: Jamie Sheriff
Reviewed from a screener provided
by Shout! Factory, LLC.
Pre-order this film from Amazon.com

The Slumber Party Massacre Collection double disc DVD set is due out from Shout! Factory on October 5th, in plenty of time for Halloween get togethers, and can currently be pre-ordered through Amazon.com and other online retailers.

After being pleasantly surprised, thrilled even, with The Slumber Party Massacre and Slumber Party Massacre II, it’s perhaps best to say as little about Slumber Party Massacre III as possible. The period of Corman productions that began with the formation of New Concorde isn’t one I look upon with much fondness, being the time when his method of producing low-budget knock-offs of others’ (not to mention his own) successes was falling flat more and more. I may be a biased supporter of Corman and his place as a visionary independent producer, but even my admiration has its limits.

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King of Snake

film rating:
a.k.a. Daai Yi Wong, Daai Se Wong
(lit. Big Snake King)
company: ??
year: 1982
runtime: 88′
director: Chui Yuk-Lung
cast: Tarcy Su, Leung Sau-Geun,
Ng Fung, Danny Lee,
Paul Chang Chung, Chow Shui-Fong,
David Tong Wai, Unknown Taiwanese Actor (1)
writers: Yiu Hing-Hong
and Ng Man-Leung
special effects director: Chujio Shintaro
cinematographer: Liao Wan-Wen
Not available on home video

Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more.  Next week things will be different – honest! But every misguided quest must have an end, and the finale to my impromptu monster-palooza is a real snooze.

1982’s grammatically impaired King of Snake is perhaps best known for being purchased by Joseph Lai’s IFD Film and Arts and manipulated by Hong Kong schlock extraordinaire Godfrey Ho into the 1988 oddity Thunder of Gigantic Serpent. That film follows French super-soldier Ted Fast as he hunts down balding white villain Solomon while a girl’s giant pet snake runs amok. King of Snake doesn’t gain much from the exclusion of Ho’s material, and instead offers viewers twice the boring story stuff and half the absurd fun.

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The Second Atlantis


company:
Ace Books, Inc.
number: F-335
year: 1965
length: 123 p.
writer: Robert Moore Williams
cover art: Gray Morrow
Order this book from Amazon.com

It shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with my taste in film to learn that I have something of a soft spot for the garbage literature peddled by publishers like Monarch and Ace Books in the early half of the ’60s, particularly the science fiction potboilers that earned them so much of their keep.  With its stilted prose, paper-thin plot and utter lack of literary aspiration, Robert Moore Williams’ (The Day They H-Bombed Los Angeles) The Second Atlantis comfortably dwells in bona fide guilty pleasure territory, fighting the good fight for cultural degradation and brain damage right with the best (worst?) of them.

Offering up very, very little in the way of plot (basically it’s ‘a bad thing happens and people walk away from it’ for 120 pages), The Second Atlantis presents readers with a singular horrific event and then bombards them with unnecessary characters until the feeble, New Age-y conclusion is within sight.  At least the event in this case is a good one, a massive chart-topping earthquake that just keeps rolling, turning the greater Los Angeles area into a crumbling, fiery ruin before unceremoniously burying it under the Pacific.  The improbable catastrophe is of Emmerich-ian magnitude, baring no small resemblance to that director’s destruction of L.A. in the recent mega-budget mega-disaster flick 2012.  It’s not particularly well conveyed, with Williams’ awkward nested metaphors proving more distracting than illustrative (see the example below), but it offers up enough in the way of trashy thrills to keep the page turning.

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The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

rating:
company:
Six Entertainment
year: 2009
runtime: 90′
director: Tom Six
cast: Dieter Laser, Arthur C. Williams,
Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura,
Andreas Leupold, Peter Blankenstein
writer: Tom Six
cinematography: Goof de Koning
music: Patrick Savage
and Holeg Spies
out in limited release and
on demand from IFC Films

It’s safe to say that expectations for The Human Centipede (First Sequence), Dutch director Tom Six’s foray into gross-out surgical horror, have been set unreasonably high in advance of its US theatrical and On Demand release through IFC Films.  Its twisted premise has been described as disturbing, disgusting, controversial and just plain creepy, and understandably so.  I mean, who wouldn’t be grossed out by the sight of a trio of helpless people connected, end to end, to create one long ass-to-mouth digestive tract?  Well, me I guess.

That The Human Centipede has won numerous genre festival awards and received no end of accolades in the horror press is of little consequence, as once one pierces through the layers of obfuscating hype to see the film itself the sad truth of it becomes obvious.  This movie sucks ass.

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