T’is a sad day for British fans who were eagerly awaiting the home-viewing release of Tom Six’s THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II: FULL SEQUENCE (2010), as it was announced yesterday – Monday 6th June 2011 – that the film has been Rejected by the BBFC, due to 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”.
According to the BBFC Press Report on the film, the BBFC said that the 86 minute 50 second film…
“would risk potential harm within the terms of the VRA (Video Recordings Act, 1984, renewed 2011), and would be unacceptable to the public”
“may be in breach of the Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964 (OPA)”!
Even cuts could not be considered, because of the unacceptable content that runs throughout the movie, hence the only remaining decision was to Reject the film for certification, and thus effectively ban it! (It was never formally submitted for a theatrical release in Britain!)
Now, as much as I am against censorship for adults, I can understand why THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II: FULL SEQUENCE has been banned. If the film does contain “graphic images of sexual violence, forced defecation, and mutilation,” and the viewer is invited to witness events “from the perspective of the protagonist”, “the sexual arousal of the central character”, “the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims”, then I can see we may be getting into very dark cinematic territory, not unlike SRPSKI FILM / A SERBIAN FILM (2010, Srdjan Spasojevich) or even SNUFF 102 (2007, Mariano Peralto). Yet, even SRPSKI FILM managed to pass through the labyrinthine halls of the BBFC, with just over four minutes of cuts for both cinemas and DVD – and anyone who has seen that film can testify that it’s hardly a walk in the park!
Admittedly, the BBFC state there is an early scene in which the main protagonist masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original HUMAN CENTIPEDE (2008, Tom Six) 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’.
Now, I’m certain that there was a Channel 4 documentary shown on British television, back in the late 1980’s or early ’90’s, in which a similar scene was shown – that of a man masturbating himself with a cheese-grater of all things! The elderly gent was with a professional dominatrix, in her appartment, and this guy was really enjoying himself. Clearly, I’m not posting this as an advocate of such actions, though if that’s your thing then good luck, but simply because of the double standards that appear to be being applied here. The documentary was shown among much controversy, and the Independant Broadcasting Authority (now OFCom – Office of Communications) hauled Channel 4 over the proverbial hot-coals (no pun intended) for allowing this scene to be shown on national television.
If such a scene was shown over 20 years ago on TV, why is such a similar scene being restricted so that any adult is unable to view it? The scene is obviously going to be simulated. No one is going to be being hurt or jeopardised, and no right-thinking adult would ever condone this sequence to be considered acceptable behaviour. It merely depicts the lead character as being mightily unhinged.
I admit that the rape of the woman, with barbed-wire could be considered by the BBFC as dangerous or inimitable behaviour, and they may wish to cut or censor the scene for those reasons, but I don’t buy that the film is “obscene”! Anyhow, “obscenity” under English Law is defined as being
of material that has a tendency to deprave or corrupt the person who are likely to read, see or hear it
Bizarely, no one has ever challenged this definition, which in my view seems fatally flawed. If the very person or people who intend to view THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II are adults, and such adults define themselves as being individuals who aren’t likely to be offended, depraved or corrupted by the film, then surely the film cannot be “obscene” in the legal terms. Hence, it could not be a breach of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 to release it, within the UK. (However, it would be a breach of English Law to release the film without a BBFC Certificate! Something that is mandatory.) I’ve never been personally depraved, corrupted or offended by any of the numerous pieces of extreme cinema I’ve viewed over the past 20 years or so. And I’ve seen most of the worst titles, and even at least one scene of semi-snuff, albeit taken from a real-life legal case where the footage found wasn’t filmed to be sold, but was filmed for the murderers’ own sick enjoyment!
Just last month, the BBFC certificated a version of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, for legal home viewing release in the UK, with just 14 seconds of cuts. Despite all of the animal slaughter footage that it contains, only the killing of the coatimundi, (the creature that is knifed through the throat, and which everyone claims is a muskrat), has been censored for British audiences. The turtle, the monkey decapitation, and the various other animals that are mutilated on-screen are being allowed through for the first time in over 30 years!
However, yesterday’s banning of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II is almost a complete back-tracking of that progress. It’s almost as if the BBFC are saying that the slaughter of animals is acceptable, as long as they are eaten afterwards, but the simulation of masturbation with sandpaper, and rape with barbed-wire is somehow more offensive, more obscene, and illegal.
With the Centipede sequel having filmed in London, last Summer, British horror fans were eagerly looking forward to watching how Six was intending to progress the storyline, especially with the mad doctor, played so beautifully psychotically by Dieter Laser. What a huge disappointment it is, that we will now have to wait for another country, to release the film, so that we can see whether the ban was reasonable or not.
Tomorrow, after a long delay, I will be posting online Part 3 of my article on Pornography! For now though, I will leave you with the Teaser Trailer for THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II. For UK fans, this is as close as we’re going to get to seeing actual footage of it, for the time being.