Fan of The Human Centipede? Looking forward to The Human Centipede II (The Full Sequence)? Live in the U.K.? Well, it sucks to be you, then, since the British Board of Film Classification has decided to outright ban the film, complaining that it was "sexually violent and potentially obscene." This is a bit surprising, since the original film was released uncut last year, but apparently the BBFC has decided that Part II has "unacceptable material" throughout, eliminating any chance for Tom Six to make cuts to eventually get his opus released. Instead, his only option is to appeal the decision, but he looks unlikely to get one, as apparently the full Board was unanimous in their decision, according to Empire.
Before we Americans get worried about the same fate occurring here, it's worth noting that there is no government control over what gets released on DVD in America, at least not to the extent that the BBFC wields in the U.K. (and this kind of decision is fairly rare for them, with one of the most famous examples being the 1984 banning of Straw Dogs after it had already been seen in theaters the decade before). If The Human Centipede II were to be found obscene to the point where it extends beyond the artistic freedoms protected by the First Amendment, then theoretically distributors of the film could be charged with obscenity, but that seems like a relatively far-fetched possibility. At worst, the film might be rated NC-17 by the MPAA, in which case it would likely simply be released unrated.
The full text of the BBFC's statement is behind the break, but there are what would appear to be some major spoilers for the film included, if not also just generally disgusting descriptions of what transpires within.
The first film dealt with a mad doctor who sews together three kidnapped people in order to produce the ‘human centipede’of the title. Although the concept of the film was undoubtedly tasteless and disgusting it was a relatively traditional and conventional horror film and the Board concluded that it was not in breach of our Guidelines at ‘18’. This new work, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), tells the story of a man who becomes sexually obsessed with a DVD recording of the first film and who imagines putting the ‘centipede’ idea into practice. Unlike the first film, the sequel presents graphic images of sexual violence, forced defecation, and mutilation, and the viewer is invited to witness events from the perspective of the protagonist. Whereas in the first film the ‘centipede’ idea is presented as a revolting medical experiment, with the focus on whether the victims will be able to escape, this sequel presents the ‘centipede’ idea as the object of the protagonist’s depraved sexual fantasy.
The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) 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. 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, culminating in sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the ‘centipede’. There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience. There is a strong focus throughout on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure. It is the Board’s conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said: “It is the Board's carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board's Guidelines, would risk potential harm within the terms of the VRA, and would be unacceptable to the public.
“The Board also seeks to avoid classifying material that may be in breach of the Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964 (OPA) or any other relevant legislation. The OPA prohibits the publication of works that have a tendency to deprave or corrupt a significant proportion of those likely to see them. In order to avoid classifying potentially obscene material, the Board engages in regular discussions with the relevant enforcement agencies, including the CPS, the police, and the Ministry of Justice. It is the Board’s view that there is a genuine risk that this video work, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), may be considered obscene within the terms of the OPA, for the reasons given above."