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the human centipede

Vulture’s Guide to Seeing The Human Centipede in the Theater Without Throwing Up

Of all the people who started watching this trailer for the Dutch-made horror flick The Human Centipede, it's a safe bet that few made it to the end. Of them, we'd bet only a small fraction actually want to see it. And that small fraction is demented. So are we. As a service to our readers, Vulture sat through director Tom Six's story of a crazed doctor obsessed with connecting humans anus-to-mouth to create a human "centipede" (see David Edelstein's review here). It was no picnic, but it did allow us to put together this handy, spoiler-filled guide on how to keep down your lunch (and breakfast, and dinner from yesterday) should you decide to see Centipede in a theater this weekend.

The Human Centipede opens innocently enough with a wide shot of a German highway, and for the next 28 minutes the only disturbing thing is the acting (and the dialogue and the plot) as crazy Dr. Heiter collects co-eds for the experiment. But then Heiter gives a presentation to his victims about the bizarre operation he's about to perform, and things quickly get creepy. So when you see this ...


... head for the exit. While his explanation isn't visually disturbing (he illustrates it with childlike drawings), it’s a mental punch in the gut, and understanding the procedure that this madman is about to perform will only make it harder to take. So pop a quarter into a Ms. Pac-Man game and, three minutes and 25 seconds later, head back in.

Now, since this movie is called The Human Centipede, you're not going to get out without actually seeing the thing, but it would be wise to miss its unveiling. So as soon as you see this ...


... close your eyes and start humming something. Try to choose a song that's long enough to get you through the next two minutes without hearing any of the grunts and moans coming from the enormous theater speakers around you (perhaps "Centipede" by Rebbie Jackson?). While damn gruesome, this scene isn't quite as brutal as some of the things to come, but missing it will allow you to meet the centipede on much less freaky terms.

After watching the centipede writhe around in a cage and learn to walk (unless you plan to just go home, there's really no avoiding this stuff), you might think you can take anything this movie throws at you. You're so wrong. When you see this, right before the 57-minute mark ...


... sprint out of the theater and grab a cigarette. Don't smoke? Time to start. The expensive, deadly habit you'll develop will be a welcome substitute for watching the next 25 seconds. Why? Let's just say something leaves the first third of the centipede and goes into the second while Heiter shouts "feed her!" This is not something you want to see. Finish the cigarette, settle back in, and embrace your new addiction.

The rest of The Human Centipede, while gross (there is still a human centipede, after all), should be tolerable to anyone who hasn't already barfed. Have fun!

Photo: Courtesy of IFC