The Human Centipede 2 gets rated, causes fuss
The decision of the BBFC to deny The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) a certificate and their announcement that they couldn't see how it could gain one even with cuts gathered a fair bit of controversy, but their decision to release it after cuts were made and with lengthy discussions with those behind the film has gained even more.
There's nothing like free publicity is there? Well for films with some worth there isn't, and in this case I'm not sure there's anything to redeem the sequel.
The Human Centipede (First Sequence) was rough enough, but at least it was on the right side of horror and it did help us see the horrible harm and pain the lead character was causing the three innocent individuals, and there was nothing to gratuitous about it, a lot of what happened was in the mind rather than graphically portrayed on film, still, there was a lot there.
The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) was rejected by the BBFC, the British Board of Film Classification, for a number of reasons which are clearly defined on their site; however I'll list a few points here.
"Unlike the first Human Centipede, this work presents graphic images of sexual violence, forced defecation and mutilation and the viewer is invited to experience the event from the perspective of the central character. The central focus of The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of this character at the idea and later the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, rape and murder of his naked victims. There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised and degraded for the amusement and sexual arousal of the main character and for the pleasure of the viewer. There is a strong and sustained focus throughout the work on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between non-consensual pain and sexual pleasure."
That surely tells us all we need to know, and I have to say that the BBFC write-ups are usually spot on and for some time now haven't really been that over sensitive, closeted or biased. No, of course I'm not looking at any other classification board.
Generally their write-ups tell what a film is from a clinical and detached viewpoint, and I've found them to be spot on. From what I read here I don't think there's anything redeeming about The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence).
In explaining their decision, for I do believe they knew what sort of media attention this would attract, they state why they have rejected the film for a classification. They talk about their guidelines and what they constitute, saying:
"These Guidelines are the result of a regular public consultation process and reflect the balance of media effects research, the requirements of UK law and the attitudes of the UK public."
Going on to say that they had serious concerns about the sexual violence shown in the film which they felt might have crept into the realm of the Video Recordings Act 1984...
"...to have special regard to the likelihood of any harm that may be caused to the viewer or, through their behaviour, to society. This risk of harm includes encouraging a dehumanised view of others, callousness towards victims and taking pleasure in the pain and humiliation of others."
Also that it might be in breach of UK law under the Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964 (OPA), and through regular conversations with the Crown Prosecution Service, the police and the Ministry of Justice, they believed that it might fall under this law and actually be deemed illegal.
So you see this wasn't where they just banned the film, there's some strong reasons and explanations why. If you are thinking this is an MPAA style action then you should read their full ruling.
The part that is causing controversy just now is that the film has been accepted now with cuts and this comes after the closing statement of the rejection:
"The BBFC considered whether cutting the work might address the issues but concluded that as the unacceptable material featured throughout, cutting was not a viable option and the work was therefore refused a classification."
The Hollywood Reporter say that "sources" tell them that just over two minutes worth of cuts have produced a film that the BBFC have found acceptable and addressed their concerns about the sexual violence and the dehumanisation of the victims. Sources aren't needed for the BBFC are quite the open bunch.
The running time of the originally submitted The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) which was rejected hit in at eighty six minutes and fifty seconds, now the accepted version of the film which has achieved an 18 rating is eighty four minutes and nineteen seconds, the BBFC even highlight that these cuts total two minutes and thirty seven seconds worth.
More than that the BBFC tell us what those cuts constituted, and it's here that I should warn you that even some of what is written here seems rather strong and that it might contain plot spoilers for the film itself.
Here's what the BBFC said about the cuts made:
"Company was required to make 32 individual cuts to scenes of sexual and sexualised violence, sadistic violence and humiliation, and a child presented in an abusive and violent context. In this case, cuts included: a man masturbating with sandpaper around his penis; graphic sight of a man's teeth being removed with a hammer; graphic sight of lips being stapled to naked buttocks; graphic sight of forced defecation into and around other people's mouths; a man with barbed wire wrapped around his penis raping a woman; a newborn baby being killed; graphic sight of injury as staples are torn away from individuals' mouth and buttocks. Cuts required in accordance with BBFC Guidelines, policy and the Video Recordings Act 1984."
Now you read that and tell me that the rejection of the first cut was out of order. What I'm impressed with is that the cut film actually made it through, and that with all that is written above less than three minutes were removed for an 18, not even an R18.
While some will be pleased they can see the original, quite frankly I'm not sure many cinemas will carry the film and whether people will really want to go and see it. Even if the film was more of the same I don't think I'd want to see a sequel myself. Of course, there's an audience for everything out there.