Want to see The Human Centipede II? If you live in the UK, you're out of luck

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Dec 14, 2012

Did you think last year's The Human Centipede (First Sequence) was gross? Well, apparently you ain't see nothing yet. The sequel is so much worse that it has been denied a general release in the U.K.

Director Tom Six alternately stunned, delighted and disgusted audiences and critics with last year's original, which followed a mad German scientist who sews three people together—from mouth to end—to create the title abomination. Horror fans were on board, and even some critics appreciated the dark satirical elements of Six's tale, along with the outrageous lead performance from Dieter Laser as the scientist. The film did play in Great Britain, where the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the U.K. equivalent to the MPAA here in the States, gave it an "18" rating (it also received limited theatrical distribution in the States, as well as video-on-demand and DVD distribution).

Now, however, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) has met with a far different reaction. According to the Belfast Telegraph, the BBFC has refused to classify the sequel with a rating of any kind. An "18" in the U.K. is the equivalent to an "NC-17" here—no one under 18 admitted—and the Board refused to give it even that (it didn't even get an "R18," which approximates an "X" in America). The film cannot be released on DVD in the U.K., and the BBFC has even taken the extra step of saying that it could cause harm to viewers and may be illegal under the country's Obscene Publications Act.

The ratings board said that while the original movie "was undoubtedly tasteless and disgusting, it was a relatively traditional and conventional horror film." The sequel, however—which tells the story of a man who becomes sexually aroused by a DVD of the first film and puts its ideas into practice himself—apparently takes a different tack. Here's what the BBFC said:

"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...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...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."

The BBFC's full statement, which we must warn you includes graphic descriptions of scenes from The Human Centipede II, can be found at Bleeding Cool. By the way, the film is technically not "banned" in the U.K., but without a ratings certificate, a theater must get special approval from its local city council to show the film. Good luck with that.

The Human Centipede II will be released in North America by IFC Midnight later this year.

Did you see The Human Centipede, and if so, what did you think of it? Based on what you've read here, did the BBFC do the right thing in denying the sequel a ratings certificate? Or is this a clear-cut case of artistic censorship?