Will The Human Centipede sequel get banned in America, like it just was in Britain? Please?!
—Kozan82, via the inbox
You speak of Human Centipede II: Full Sequence, in which barbed wire and some guy's junk reportedly come together in horrifying ways. (Whoops! I forgot to report the number of victims sewn up into a brand-new human centipede this time: 12! You're welcome!)
A British film authority has banned the planned DVD release across the pond, but if you want this film quashed stateside, good luck:
In the U.K., a nongovernmental body called the British Board of Film Classification eyeballs upcoming releases and assigns them ratings, much like the Motion Picture Association of America does here.
On rare occasion, the BBFC will decide that a film violates, or could violate, British obscenity laws; that ruling essentially bans a film from U.K. distribution. That's what just happened with Human Centipede II.
Tom Six, the merry Dutch artist behind the franchise, has spouted protests in reaction, but he clearly has outdone himself with this sequel. In case you're curious, the BBFC put out a horrified statement explaining its decision, revealing even more details in the process:
"The principal focus...is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims," the BBFC said. "Examples of this include a scene early in the film in which he masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original Human Centipede film, with sandpaper wrapped around his penis, and a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the 'centipede' being forced to defecate into one another's mouths."
And on. And on. And on.
So what might happen here in the States?
Well, it's unclear whether the film is even destined for theaters at all. British distributors submitted HC:II for consideration only as a DVD, and queries to IFC, which holds the North American distribution rights, weren't immediately returned to this B!tch. (When IFC first announced this sequel, it said it was "thrilled to be bringing the horrifying experience of Full Sequence to American audiences through our theatrical and [video on demand] platforms.")
No matter how the flick is released here, it'll be tough to suppress.
For one, the MPAA has no authority to ban any release nationwide. Individual cities can suppress a film, and they have. The Last Temptation of Christ, Monty Python's Life of Brian and the original Scarface were all banned in at least one town because of violent or religious themes that were controversial at the time. But HC:II, while utterly disgusting, is different, says Dr. Stephen Tropiano, who wrote a book about banned films.
"What often happens with a ban is that authorities are trying to prevent something that will shock or surprise or have a harmful effect," he says. "But it's not like anyone is going to be surprised if they go see this film. Most have probably seen the first film. And I doubt that it'll even be shown" at major theaters, where children might wander in, Tropiano says.
That's good. I'd hate to be the parent who has to explain the insect kingdom after that one.