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April 16, 2018 | by  | in Arts Film |
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Taboo (Things) in Films

The Old: Human Centipede (2009)


The Human Centipede is a terrible film. I got very drunk over Easter and watched it.

A maniacal guy kidnaps three people and sews them together into a human centipede. He then tortures them for 92 minutes until they die. I’d wonder where this director gets his film ideas from, but I’d prefer never to think about this director again.

Our evil dude lives alone in a house with lino floors. At least he’s forward planning? Blood’s probably pretty hard to get out of the carpet. At forty-five minutes into the film, he’s already captured his victims and sewn them into the centipede. Where on earth could we go from here?

At fifty-two minutes in, I take a foray into this film’s Wikipedia article. Apparently the writers consulted with a doctor, and the film is “100% medically accurate”.

One wonders where one goes to get a medical degree in human centipedes.

I begin to feel incredibly sorry for these actors. What could someone could be persuaded by to take on such a thing? There are shitty roles, and there are shitty roles, and I think we crossed the line the moment that one of these women had to pretend to be choking on fecal matter.

The condition of the centipede begins to degrade mere minutes after its construction. One of the people in it gets septicemia. That’s probably because her mouth was literally stapled to someone’s ass, but hey, I’m not a centipede scientist.

At this point I’ve had about six standard drinks. The earth is swaying below me. Standing up is an impossibility. The centipede (which I mispelled frequently in my notes as “centipedge”) has escaped.

Then everyone dies in an epic, bloody shootout. Relatable.

I try to go on to watch the sequel — because why not, at this point — and find out it’s banned in New Zealand. What a disappointment.

The New: The Neon Demon (2016)


Nicholas Winding Refn’s newest oeuvre is quite the taboo buffet. The Neon Demon is beautifully shot, amazingly edited, and has far more cannibalism than I’m comfortable with.

Aspiring model Jesse (Elle Fanning) has moved to Los Angeles to become a star. She’s taken under the wing of makeup artist Ruby (Jena Malone) who helps to introduce her to the world of professional modelling. Jesse is hired by a prestigious agency and starts taking roles off more experienced models, who quickly grow jealous of her youth and beauty. Much, much exposition happens, then Jesse gets killed by the older models.

They also bathe in her blood.

It’s one of those art films.

The Neon Demon is absolutely beautiful. It’s full of glitz and glamour, and Refn really knows his way around the use of lighting and colour on screen. It’s visually flawless.

It sure is a shame that the film is let down by its story. There’s just little parts of the film that don’t make sense. It’s like Refn was trying for an allegory, and not quite pushing hard enough. Yes, this film is a metaphor for the brutality of the fashion industry (the “eat you alive” mentality, so to speak), but it doesn’t quite telegraph that enough. It’s almost as though Refn was hoping for an allegory and got sidetracked by the appeal of torture porn.

The lesbian necrophilia was, uh, certainly a choice?

Truly, truly baffling.


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