The primary element of The Human Centipede series is the human centipede; a grotesque construction of multiple humans surgically conjoined mouth-to-anus with their kneecaps immobilized and each "segment" (barring the first, of course) having to eat the excrement of the person in front of them, creating a single digestive system.
Each entry in the series features a human centipede with a different number of segments and a different type of surgery than the other films in the series.
BackstoryEditThe main tagline of the first Human Centipede film is "100% Medically Accurate." Director Tom Six had stated that he wanted the surgery to medically possible in real life. He consulted a real surgeon in Holland, who at first didn't want to help out with the idea due to his Hippocratic oath, but later changed his mind as he feels that film is an art form. The surgeon drew out plans on what he would do if he had to perform the operation. He was the one who designed the cheek grafts and explained to Tom that "if you just attach a mouth to an anus, you could rip it off. If you make these incisions in the buttocks and make those incisions in the [facial] cheeks and you combine that, it will be very firm." Tom said that most of the diagrams are actual medical drawings. .
The first film features a centipede based on the notes given to Six by the surgeon he contacted.
- "I'll explain this spectacular operation only once. We start with cutting the ligamentum patella, the ligaments of the kneecaps, so knee extension is no longer possible. Pulling from "B" and "C" the central incisors, lateral incisors and canines from the upper and lower jaws, the lips from "B" and "C," and the anus of "A" and "B," are cut circular along the border between skin and mucosa, the mucus cutaneous zone. Two pedicelated grafts are prepared and lifted from the underlying tissue. The shaped incisions below the chins of "B" and "C" up to their cheeks connecting the circular mucosa and skin parts of anus and mouth, from "A" to "B," and "B" to "C," connecting the pedicelated grafts to the chin-cheek incisions from "A" to "B," and "B" to "C," creating a Siamese triplet, connected via the gastric system. Ingestion by A, passing through B, to the excretion of C. The human centipede, first sequence."
- —Josef Heiter[src]
Experienced surgeon Doctor Heiter secured three unwilling victims with matching tissue and formed the first human centipede. These victims consisted of Katsuro (A), Lindsay (B) and Jenny (C), positioned in the centipede in that order. The surgically process is as follows:
- Cutting the ligamentum patellae of A,B and C, preventing them from extending their knees.
- Removing the central incisors, lateral incisors and canines from the upper and lower jaws from B and C.
- The lips from B and C, and the anus of A and B, are cut circular along the border between skin and mucosa. Two pedicelated grafts are prepared and lifted from the underlying tissue.
- The shaped incisions below the chins of B and C up to their cheeks connecting the circular mucosa and skin parts of anus and mouth, from A to B, and B to C, connecting the pedicelated grafts to the chin-cheek incisions from A to B, and B to C, creating a Siamese triplet, connected via the gastric system.
Each person in the centipede was half-naked with only a pair of bottoms covered in bandages with one strip fastening the head of the person behind them to their anus.
The three victims predictably experienced a great deal of pain and distress. While Katsuro was fed out of bowl, the centipede had to be sustained with an IV drip to keep it from malnourishment. Lindsey and Jenny spent most of their time crying, while Katsuro would often rebel against Heiter's demands. Katsuro remained healthy after several days in the centipede while Lindsey experienced constipation and Jenny began dying due to blood poisoning.
Heiter planned on replacing Jenny in a second operation with Detectives Kranz and Voller, creating a four-person centipede (a "quadropede"). However, Heiter's plans were never realized when the detectives raided his house while the centipede attempted to escape. Katsuro killed himself and Jenny succumbed to her illness. Before Kranz could get any help, he was killed by Heiter before killing the doctor in response.
Lindsay was left sandwiched between the corpses of Katsuro and Jenny, her fate remaining unknown.
The second film takes a very different approach from the first. Based on the hypothetical situation in which a copycat were to watch the first film and be inspired by it to make their own centipede, Tom Six put the idea to screen where somebody of no surgical skills and experience would take up the task of recreating the human centipede.
Martin Lomax set out to make a 12-person human centipede by kidnapping numerous individuals at the car park he worked at. He did this by shooting them to incapacitate them, bludgeoning them in the head with a crowbar to knock them out, and binding them with duct tape before driving them off to an empty warehouse where they were stripped of clothing and left there. The centipede consisted of Miss Yennie, Candy, Karrie, Paul, Ian, Dick, Greg, Tim, Valerie, and Kim (positioned in this order). He intended to include to Rachel and Alan, but couldn't when the latter died during the "surgery" and when the other appeared dead. This reduced the centipede to only 10 people.
Martin tried to imitate the surgery from the first film. He cut into Alan's buttocks (causing him to bleed to death), severed Miss Yennie's tendon and removed Paul's teeth by breaking them out with a hammer. Unable to match Heiter's surgery, Martin resorted to attaching each person to the other's anus by affixing them with a staple gun and fastening their heads together with duct tape. The segments were almost completely nude with nothing but duct tape covering their waist area.
This version of the centipede only lasted less than a hour following completion. Yennie yelled repeatedly before Martin pulled out her tongue while the victims would struggle helplessly. They were only fed once when Yennie was forced-fed soup before each segment emptied their bowels into each other's mouth after being given laxatives. After raping the girl at the rear of the centipede, Martin's attention was drawn away from the centipede when Rachel entered labor and ran out screaming. Dick used this opportunity to violently rip his face from Ian's behind, separating the centipede in two halves. Each half attempted to escape, but to no avail when Martin shot the back half to death who waddled off into a corner. He then started shooting off some of the segments in the front half before running out of bullets and slitting their throats. As he reached Miss Yennie, Martin stops due to his adoration for her, but she responds by punching him in the genitals and shoving his pet centipede up his rectum. Martin stabs her in the face and she collapses to the floor.
The final film goes back to Tom Six's original conception in which the human centipede would be the ultimate punishment for convicted criminals (notably child molesters). This film focuses on the premise of what it would be like if the centipede were to be utilized by the American prison system in order to deter crime.
- "I'll explain this spectacular operation only once. We start with injections to the ligamenta patellae, paralyzing the ligaments of your kneecaps, so knee-extension is no longer possible. Your lips and anuses are cut circular along the border between skin and mucosa, the mucous-cutaneous zone. Then we combine those circular mucosa and skin parts of anus and mouth, creating a human centipede, connected via your gastric systems."
- —Bill Boss[src]
The notion of the human prison centipede was realized by Dwight Butler, an accountant working for Bill Boss who is the warden of George H.W. Bush State Prison; a prison suffering unacceptable violence rates, medical expenses and staff turnover. Dwight organized a way to save costs, prevent prisoner misbehavior and deter criminals by creating a massive centipede composed of the prison's 500+ inmates. Because the prisoners had to eventually be released, Dwight made several adjustments to the original surgery so that they could receive the full centipede experience and leave it with little permanent physical damage.
- First of all, the segments would not have their knee ligaments permanently damaged. Instead, their joints would be temporally paralyzed by an inhibiting injection.
- Secondly, rather than removing their teeth and lips and slicing into their anus, the segments would simply be sewn mouth-to-anus using a sturdy thread with a gastro-intestinal bite-ring keeping their mouth's open. Their heads would be fastened with leather straps connected to a belt-like device worn by the person in front of them. This method allows the prisoner to leave the centipede with only minor scarring around their mouths and anus.
- Lastly, due to the fecal matter not being able to nourish every other person in the centipede, the prisoners would be treated to regular vitamin and mineral injections.
Bill himself tranquilized the prisoners in their cells after their fate was announced to them. A large surgical team led by Dr. Jones was deployed to bring the human prison centipede to life. Prisoners were taken to the prison hospital ward where they would connected into a 3-person centipede which would taken into a huge, tented area to be assimilated into the greater centipede. Bill murdered three prisoners before they could be part of the centipede; one with a stoma, one who is disabled and another who wanted to be part of the centipede (who Bill killed because he didn't want anybody to enjoy it).
Inmate 178 was placed at the front of the centipede and fed hamburgers. Inmate 297, as punishment for his constant misbehaviour, was placed behind an inmate with Crohn's disease. Unlike the previous films, each person in the centipede was fully clothed in their prison outfits.
Just as the last segments were attached to the prison centipede, Governor Hughes arrived to the prison to see if Bill had improved the state of his prison. Hughes was shocked to see the 500-person centipede sitting on their hands and knees in the prison yard. Bill and Dwight proudly explained their vision to revolutionize the American prison system that would lower correctional expenditure that could instead go into helping build society. Bill was also proud of the fact that centipede connected people from many walks of life (a muslim next to a jew, a crip next to a blood, a republican next to a Mexican), claiming that it brought "peace and good will to men". To prove the efficacy of the project, Bill showed Hughes a prisoner who had just completed his sentence. This prisoner became gentle, civil and ready to rejoin society.
Hughes condemned Bill and Dwight for their total violation of human rights and left in disgust of what he just saw. He returned moments later, having had a change of heart and confirming that "this is exactly what America needs". Bill then murdered Dwight to prevent him from taking credit for the idea.
- The surgery used in The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) is the only surgery to fully sustain the lives of those incorporated.