Movieline Scorecard: Human Centipede Vs. Captain EO
On Friday, as you may remember (or as you may not remember, if you quickly pushed the experience out of your mind to protect your mental well-being), I liveblogged a Very Special On Demand Viewing of The Human Centipede, so that any curious-but-potentially-squeamish readers could get a sense of whether or not they might want to subject themselves to the horrors of the moment's most buzzed-about human/insect hybrid how-to film. As chance would have it, I followed up my afternoon Centipede screening with a night trip to Disneyland, where I placed myself in the thrall of yet another unspeakable cinematic abomination: the Magic Kingdom's Captain EO Tribute, an attraction hastily revived following the death of embattled (but still generally beloved) star Michael Jackson.
Surviving this unprecedented double-feature demands some kind of analytical reckoning, and so we've pitted the two in a point-by-point deathmatch to determine the superior work of art. Which will prevail? Let's find out.
MALE STAR POWER
Captain EO: The 1986 version of Michael Jackson was at the height of his powers, a crossover icon who was inarguably the biggest star in the world, and a man who could render teeming crowds of frenzied fans incontinent with delight with nothing more than an approving wave of a rhinestone-spangled glove.
Human Centipede: Despite possession of the coolest sounding name in the history of cinema and an IMDb profile that runs 64 entries, Dieter Laser is hardly an international household name.
Advantage: EO. Though Laser's Dr. Josef 's chilling melange of David Gest androgyny and Christopher Walken Dada-malevolence was utterly unforgettable, there's no topping MJ's marquee value. In truth, The Human Centipede is more of an ensemble piece. [Human centipede wriggles to center stage, tips three top hats in unison to terrible pun, then exits stage left, moaning in unfathomable pain]
FEMALE STAR POWER
Captain EO: "Supreme Leader" Angelica Huston won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Prizzi's Honor in 1986, the year of EO's release, and has since been nominated for two other acting Oscars.
Human Centipede: Co-stars Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie have a combined five IMDb credits between them.
Advantage: EO. You can bet that if Huston had been cast in Centipede, no one would've dared relegate her to MiddlePart or HindPart status. She's a Frontsie all the way.
Captain EO: For reasons that are unclear, but almost certainly involve an air-drop of hundreds of bags emblazoned with cartoonish dollar signs into his Napa Valley compound, Oscar-winning Godfather auteur Francis Ford Coppola took on the EO gig, revolutionizing theme-park cinema as we know it.
Human Centipede: Dutch director Tom Six (also Centipede's writer) may be criminally insane.
Captain EO: It took the powerhouse trio of George Lucas, Coppola, and Rusty Lemorande to write the screenplay for EO's barely coherent screenplay.
Human Centipede: Dutch writer Tom Six (also Centipede's director) may be criminally insane.
Advantage: 'Pede. Which is the more disturbing vision: a deranged German doctor turning three helpless, drugged captives into a horrifying insectoid creature with his scalpel, or a leather-clad, galaxy-hopping pop star turning evil Space Borg into Cats-quality Broadway dancers with his magic hand-lasers?
(Full disclosure: We may be awarding this category to Six out of spite because of Lucas' involvement with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. These wounds heal slow, Georgie.)
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