To guide or to censor…

When The Human Centipede was released last year it caused just the right amount of furore that a film about linking people up by their ass and mouth should cause. The director, Tom Six, perhaps sensing that the film wasn’t actually as graphic or as vile as it was made out to be, made the proclamation that the sequel would make the original look like My Little Pony.

Well it seems he was successful as this week the BBFC announced they will not be classifying the film, as no amount of cuts would make it releasable, thus basically banning the film.

Here’s why I have a problem with this. Should the BBFC be allowed to prevent anyone from seeing a film? They cite the film as being a danger to those that view it, yet apparently not to those who had to sit and watch it for classification purposes. Nothing illegal took place during the filming, all the actors are willing participants so why should an adult be prevented the choice to view the film, regardless of how sick it supposedly is?

Reading the examples given by the BBFC I can see why they felt the way they did. For the leaps and bounds they’ve made over the years, the BBFC still take serious issue with sexual violence. Unfortunately for them The Human Centipede: Full Sequence, to give it it’s full name, was rife with it. The story goes as follows, a man becomes obsessed with a DVD recording of the first film, masturbating (With sandpaper!) to the scenes of forced defecation. He strikes upon the idea of creating his own centipede, but larger, and sets about sexually assaulting it in various ways.

It seems that this is what angered the BBFC so much. Or as they put it:

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.

There’s the suggestion there that had the film had something to say that the violence perpetrated onscreen would’ve been easier to digest. Instead as it’s seemingly gratuitous the BBFC can’t allow it to pass, even with cuts. Just from reading the description it seems that it can be argued that the film is making the link between violence on screen causing violence in real life, but clearly the BBFC didn’t feel this way. Obviously seeing as I can be prosecuted for watching the film I’ll never know if this is the case. However it shouldn’t be for the BBFC to ascertain whether the scenes were handled in poor taste or not. Their role should be to say what age the film is suitable for and in this instance they’ve decided that the film isn’t suitable for anyone of any age…unless you go to another country and watch it.

For the record the film doesn’t appeal to me at all. I thought the original was a ‘premise’ movie, in that it’s called The Human Centipede and that’s pretty much exactly what you get for 90 minutes. Though it must be said that the acting was surprisingly good for a film about 3 people stitched together.

I won’t go and see the sequel, but it should remain my choice. I’m sure the argument to be made is that kids might see it, well banning it won’t help. Kids still might see it the same way I saw The Exorcist or Evil Dead when they were banned from viewing too. It’s not that I agree with the content of the film, but I agree with the right for it to exist. Defending the right to free speech means that you have to defend someone’s right to say whatever they want, regardless of how ugly you find it. It’s just a shame that the BBFC don’t share this same view. Instead they’ve granted the film makers endless publicity, and the film itself an infamy it would otherwise not have had if it had just been released without fanfare.

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