Welcome to Will Mom Like This? an exploration into the trials and tribulations of sharing your favorite scary movies with family. Sharing movies with loved ones is a beautiful thing. As beautiful as it is, I think we have all experienced moments so uncomfortable you wish the couch would swallow you whole. In this new monthly column, I’m going to try and help you avoid that as much as possible. My hope is that this will work as a sort of guide for you to know when you should excuse yourself to refill the popcorn bowl and avoid the wrath of a disgruntled or disgusted parent. Be warned, we will be discussing a lot of plot spoilers but only so we don’t spoil a perfectly good evening with your folks. 

Greedy Guts month is all about self-indulgence, and the idea of watching Tom Six’s The Human Centipede (First Sequence) with my mom was too funny to pass up, so here we are. Allow me to set the scene. In an important development from last month, I have recently moved back in with my parents, meaning I didn’t have the security blanket of a Zoom call separating us. This time we were on the same couch. The tension in the room was palpable and I was giggling uncontrollably, which couldn’t have helped things.

Weeks previously, when my broken brain decided to ask my mom if she would be willing to watch The Human Centipede with me, she said, “Yuck, I don’t like bugs.” My world shifted. I had never even considered the possibility of someone not knowing the plot of The Human Centipede, let alone my own mother. So of course, we had to watch it. By the time we arrived in front of the TV, she knew she was wrong about it being a “bug man movie,” but she still had no idea how wrong she was, and it was exhilarating. But let’s discuss the sobering reality of actually sitting down to watch this entire movie with my sweet sweet mother.

 

 

Obligatory Poop Advisory

I first realized we might be in some serious trouble when during the opening scene of this movie, a truck driver pulls off on the side of the road to relieve himself and my mom was very put off by this. “Oh no,” I said to myself, “these are the least of our poop worries.” If, by chance, you are as unfamiliar with The Human Centipede as my mom once was, it’s about a surgeon named Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) who kidnaps people in order to connect them to one another- mouth to butt.

This means that, unless you are the front piece of the centipede, your diet will be 100%…recycled. I know that if an instance of poop that didn’t involve someone else eating it upset my mom, we were not going to have a good time with this one. I actually felt myself getting really nervous and decided to make it clear to my mom that if she got genuinely upset or disturbed by the movie, we could turn it off and do something else. What was I thinking showing people pooping into each other’s mouths to my beautiful mother?! For better or worse, she decided she was curious enough to stick it out, so we had no choice but to carry on.


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“What was I thinking showing people pooping into each other’s mouths to my beautiful mother?!”

 

I will say, perhaps surprisingly, that there is no visible poop in The Human Centipede, but there is so much poop occurring. The first time that the centipede “feeds” was wholly unpleasant. The head of the centipede, Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura), announces that he has to shit, and my mom responded by screaming. I have no funny quote to insert here, because it was all just wordless screams. As I’ve said, there’s no poop to be seen but we do see Katsuro exerting the effort to produce poop and we see Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams), the middle piece of the centipede, receiving the poop which allows your imagination to connect the disgusting dots.

Because my mom is a woman with empathy, she also had a fair amount of concern for the actors in the movie. Based on all the behind the scenes tidbits I’ve seen online, it seems like the three actors in the centipede got along really well and had a relatively great time overall. And thank god for that. Her concerns got very specific though and she asked me a variety of things such as “what if one of them has to sneeze?” or, “what if one of them has to fart?” I did not have the answers to these questions, I just hope the actors had some sort of hand signal.

 

 

Sexual Encounters & Nudity

My mom spent at least the first 20 minutes of The Human Centipede trying to guess where she went so wrong in assuming what the movie was about. One of these guesses was that this was a pornographic film. The fact that even for the briefest of moments, my mom would believe that I would sit her down to watch a porno is something I will be pondering for a good while. However, I can actually see where she was coming from with this. When we first meet our main characters, Lindsay and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie), they’re in a hotel room talking about all the crazy fun they’re having galavanting around Europe. It’s all very presentational in a way that does feel like it could be the introductory scene of a porno. Alas, The Human Centipede is not porn, so there’s nothing sexual to worry about there.

Our girls do encounter a man who pulls up to them on the side of the road when they get a flat tire who is incredibly lewd. He says some really foul things to Lindsay and Jenny and when he runs out of gross stuff to say he just starts wiggling his tongue at them. My mom is not a fan of sexual tongue wiggling, and overall, an uncomfortable situation to be in.


Hot at the Shop:

Hot at the Shop:


 

“oh please, tell me no!” -Mom

 

My mom also fabricated even more uncomfortable situations because she sincerely thought that Dr. Heiter was just jerking it all the time. Any lingering shot we saw of him, she would ask “is he masturbating?“. To diffuse the tension, my gut instinct was to always respond “no, he just loves his centipede,” but in the burning silence that would follow as we stared at Dr. Heiter‘s blissed-out face, I couldn’t help but think she was onto something.

Now, the impression may be that a gross-out movie like this one would be all boobs all the time, but I have to say I find the nudity in The Human Centipede very tasteful. All three of the characters in the centipede wear these big diaper-like bottoms, so nothing below the waist is ever seen. The girls are topless because, alright why not, but it’s never shown in a way where it feels like the audience is meant to ogle at the boobies. There are no lingering shots panning over Lindsay and Jenny‘s bodies, and when you do see the occasional boob, it doesn’t feel like a big deal. In fact, I don’t even think my mom mentioned the fact that there were boobs on screen, which is very unlike her. Maybe she was preoccupied with everything else going on. Although she did “tsk” when we see Dr. Heiter‘s bare butt as he swims naked in his pool, so she must have recovered.

 

the human centipede first sequence

 

Blood, Guts, and Jump Scares

Pretty much everything else that happens in The Human Centipede falls under this category, but I think the most important thing to address here is the creation of the centipede itself. At this time, I would be remiss not to remind you that my mom was entirely unaware that these people were going to be sewn butt to mouth. I’d like you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine how it would feel to be sitting next to someone so pure of brain that they had no idea what was coming when Dr. Heiter sets up his little projector to explain his plan to his captives. It felt like my brain was exploding. My nervous giggles devolved into hysterical laughter as we looked at the doodled diagram of his centipede. My mom was, top of her lungs, screaming. A lot of it was tortured and incoherent, but some of what I made out was, “oh please, tell me no!” Through the tears in my eyes, I saw that she was clutching her knees to her chest and swatting her hands at the TV. She did not speak to me for the next five minutes. When she broke her silence, it was to say, “these people are not well.


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Everything about the centipede was a big problem, from concept to execution. My mom is a big fan of both Grey’s Anatomy and ER, so I know it can’t just be simulated surgery that bothers her. My theory is that the reveal left her so frazzled, and she was so mad at me for showing this to her that every moment became a new trauma. The teeth pulling was such a problem, something that I don’t really give a second thought when I think back on The Human Centipede, so that was a sneaky one. I thought I was going to have to turn the TV off when Dr. Heiter started cutting flaps out of their butt cheeks, which may have been her breaking point. Nevertheless, she powered through to watch every disgusting moment with me. A true demonstration of a mother’s love.

 

“Nevertheless, she powered through to watch every disgusting moment with me. A true demonstration of a mother’s love.”

 

But Did Mom Like It?

So, the time came to ask the question, did Mom like that? No she did not. Never do this. 0/5 Moms would recommend. When I pressed her for more, she insisted that she “did not like anything about it.” Personally, there is a spot in my heart for The Human Centipede. I think it’s a good movie (leave me alone) and I think it was made with a certain degree of care. Did I expect that sort of love to transfer over to my mom as well? Absolutely not. But I have to say there was an amount of terrible joy I got out of the experience, so to me, it was kind of worth it. Sorry Mom.

What’s your favorite memory of watching uncomfortable movies with mom? Let us know what scary movie have you always wanted to watch with your parents over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit. and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club. We’ll do our best to give you a heads up of everything you’ll want to avoid, but don’t blame us if they disown you!