On June 7th 2011, the British Board of Film Classification announced the, frankly quite surprising news that they had decided to reject director Tom Six’s sequel to his cult hit The Human Centipede (2010) thus making it illegal to be sold or shown anywhere in the UK. How is this surprising you ask? It’s true that Six did say in interviews prior to filming The Human Centipede II: Full Sequencethat the first one would ‘look like My Little Pony in comparison’ but I don’t think anyone would have suspected the film to be completely banned. The BBFC aren’t really prone to banning films these days. They’ve moved on from the ‘good’ old days of the video nasties and stopped banning films left right and centre.
In the BBFC’s official statement to the press, they explained how they believed the film to be a ‘risk that harm is likely to be caused.’ And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in the Boards statement. Included in the page long explanation is spoilerific descriptions of scenes in the film which the Board found particularly worthy to warrant a good telling off and a ban.
Skip forward nearly four months, to October 6th when it was announced that the board had retreated from their previous statement that the film wouldn’t be able to be viewed legally even with cuts and decided to in fact rate it an 18 with 39 individual cuts adding up to a whopping 2 minutes and 37 seconds worth of footage. No news as of yet on whether or not the film will be getting a cinematic release (although, if it does I highly doubt the big cinema chains will be giving it a very large release) but a DVD release is definitely in the pipeline.
But the issue I have with this decision is not about the release. It’s the question of freedom. How is it that a film can be banned outright and be considered illegal to view in todays age? I mean I’d understand if it showed illegal footage such as how to make your own nuclear bomb. Obviously films of THAT nature should be banned. But The Human Centipede franchise, as it quite honestly has now become, is clearly fictional. It’s a horror film. And as Tom Six himself says ‘shouldn’t a good horror film be horrific?’. And if we are going to ban it here in Blighty, how is it that the film is given a release in Australia? Uncut as well! And in America. The film was even made in this very country and the Board had the audacity to try and ban it! Surely that is just taking away our freedom. Are we not allowed to choose what we want to watch any more? I understand some people don’t want to watch it but does that mean the people who are actually intrigued by how horrific a film like this could possibly be must be denied the right to see it whilst our American cousins are allowed?
I could very well just let it go now seeing as the Board has allowed it into the country. But why cut it? What could possibly be in those two minutes and 37 seconds that is just so unbearable? If anyone has seen the first Human Centipede film (and I’m just gonna assume here that the people who see the sequel will have seen the original) they will be very aware of the storyline and if the fact that the sequel could possibly be just as grotesque if not more than the original then how dumb must these people be? Is this country going back in time? Is it political correctness gone mad? Or is there method in the madness?