(Note: Skip this update if you haven't yet read our article on the HUMAN CENTIPEDE hoopla, you'll find the full story underneath. For everybody else, read on...)
Well this story certainly opened a can of worms!!! Seems the UK distributors of HUMAN CENTIPEDE II (FULL SEQUENCE) aren't going down without a fight, recently announcing their intention to appeal the BBFC's decision. Now read their newly-released press statement in full:
"Within the last week, the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) announced that it had rejected and was unable to classify for release on DVD, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence).
Bounty Films, and its UK distribution partner Eureka Entertainment Ltd., are disappointed by the decision of the BBFC to deny the film a classification certificate. While both companies respect the authority of the board, we strongly disagree with their decision.
In support of their decision, the BBFC issued a press release that gave an unprecedented level of detail regarding certain scenes contained within the film. Whilst it appears customary for the BBFC to issue press releases in support of its decision making, the level of detail provided therein does seem inconsistent with previous releases where the statements have been more concise. We are concerned this may be prejudicial to our forthcoming appeal.
The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is adult entertainment for fans of horror films. If a film of this nature does not seek to push boundaries, to challenge people and their value systems or to shock, then it is not horror. The subject matter of this film is in line with not only the genre, but other challenging entertainment choices for adult consumers.
We respect those who have different opinions about both the film and the genre, and whose opinions may differ to our own, but we hope that the opinions of the adults for whom this product is intended will also be considered. The adult consumers who would watch this film fully understand that it is fictional entertainment and nothing more.
Classifying and rating product allows the public to make an informed choice about the art and media they wish to consume. Censoring or preventing the public from obtaining material that has not been proven to be harmful or obscene, is indefensible in principle and is often counterproductive in practice. Through their chosen course of action, the BBFC have ensured that the awareness of this film is now greater than it would otherwise have been.
Having taken advice on these matters, and in accordance with BBFC guidelines, we will be submitting our appeal to the Video Appeals Committee in due course."
Update end. Here's our previous piece in full...
Writer/director/mental Tom Six is none too pleased his sequel HUMAN CENTIPEDE II (FULL SEQUENCE) has been denied a certificate from the British Board Of Classification. But is anybody else?
Before the debate on censorship starts to rage, it’s worth noting that the once notoriously overzealous BBFC has remained levelheaded in their approach to classification since 1999 when chairman James Ferman stepped down. Ferman was responsible for the Video Nasty hoopla of the ‘80s - making it impossible to see such horror classics as THE EVIL DEAD and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE until the early 90’s. He also famously denied the home video release of RESERVOIR DOGS for 5 years – meaning it played in UK cinemas for unprecedented runs, something Tarantino himself attributes partially for his early success. Even family fare such as TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES were not spared his wrath – poor Michelangelo only got to wield his weapon of choice for the first time in 2005 when it was released on DVD (lord knows why, but Ferman just plain ol’ hated nunchucks, removing all scenes featuring them, regardless of rating.)
So it’s actually been a while since The British Board Of Classification has reacted in such a manner - even last year's notorious A SERBIAN FILM was granted an 18 after they advised 4 minutes and 12 seconds of material be removed (and if you're familiar or have witnessed the scenes they found objectionable, it’s hard to argue with their decision.)
So why are they picking on poor Mr. Six? After all, his last feature HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE) got a free pass with zero cuts requested. Is it the fact that this features a twelve-person long ‘centipede’ as opposed to the lightweight three of the last movie? Not quite.
Here’s the BBFC’s report in full, explaining their decision. However, before you read on, Starburst must warn you to turn away now if you are either:
c.) Faint of heart
d.) Weak of stomach
e.) Opposed to desperate attempts to shock from a lazy, puerile schlock-jockey who’s just flushed his once promising career as a commercial horror director down the toilet.
You have been warned. Now over to the BBFC themselves…
"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 obs essed 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.“
I’m not sure what upsets me more - the whole ‘meta’ approach (a particular bug-bear of mine), or the complete and utter moral irresponsibility of the storyline. No, it’s the latter.
Tom Six has responded to the decision, emailing movie sites with this standard response:
“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 f****cking MOVIE. It is all fictional. Not real. It is all make-belief. It is art. Give people their own choice to watch it or not. If people can't handle or 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.”
'It is all fictional!' Yes, Tom – your goofy centipede might be, people who derive sexual pleasure from the extreme abuse of others are, tragically, NOT. To make that character your protagonist just highlights your naivety in terms of acceptable storytelling.
Art? Fart more like. Oh, snap! Deal with it, Six. And good luck getting funding for HUMAN CENTIPEDE III (FINAL SEQUENCE) now.
Or maybe it's just me.
Should filmmaker’s be given free-reign to create whatever they want? Or do the public need protecting from more extreme content like this? Let us know with your comments below!