Santa Claus is coming to town…at least, that was the plan, but now his elves have started going missing, kidnapped by some insidious figure in a black cloak, and despite the magic swirling about the place, the toys aren’t going to put themselves together. So begins a terrifying game of cat and mouse as Kris Kringle searches The Land of Christmas for his abducted minions, unaware that he is to play an integral part in his foe’s plans. Krampus is pissed at Santa after lending him his snowblower and never getting it back. His punishment? To build a Human Santapede long enough to stretch around The Land of Christmas, and at its helm, the jolly fat man himself. Can Santa – aided by his best foreman, Finklefoot – get his elves back, defeat Krampus, and save Christmas before it is too late, or will Krampus succeed in creating the ghastliest single-file organism the North Pole has ever seen? Ho-Ho-Holy Shit, things are about to get messy…
And this plug neatly segues into a piece I was writing about a question that writers get asked over and over and over…
“WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?”
Every writer has been asked this question, or some form of it. Considering the kind of things I write, the form I hear most often is “What the fuck is wrong with you?” Or something similar to that.
The question is a cliché, and most of the time the answer given will be as well. But there is one true answer, though to explain it I need to refer to another cliché; that there is nothing new under the sun. It’s all just the same shit, ingested and digested, around and around and around…
A few years ago a movie came out called The Human Centipede. I became aware of it after a friend sent me a message asking if I was going to get a credit for it. Interested, I looked into what the film was about -spoiler alert; it’s about poop- and I was a little puzzled as to what my friend was referring to (I believe I asked them “What the fuck is wrong with you?” Or something similar to that.)
This friend then pointed out that the central image of the film -the eponymous centipede, made from people sewn arsehole to appetite, a conjoined conga of coprophagia- was uncannily like my depiction of the Devil met by the eponymous subject of my “autohagiography” The Pornographer-General.
In the first chapter F.U. Stein, a kind of insane John Waters, goes on a spiritual quest and meets the Serpent, a being which really, really, really matches the description of the human centipede.
Except instead of being three bodies long, it’s over six hundred.
In The Human Centipede: Second Sequence the body count is up to a dozen. At the time of writing the third film hasn’t been released, but apparently it’s going to be five hundred. I wonder whether the final logical step is taken, in which the mouth part of the front of the centipede is sewn to the anus at the other end, completing a closed circuit of crap… Something similar happened in The Pornographer-General, except that the Serpent served as inspiration for a six-hundred and sixty-six man circular gang bang.
(And what do you know! Turns out there’s a porn parody out there called The Human Sexipede!)
Now, my parody of transgressive novels first came out in 2008, and the chapter featuring my Serpent-centipede creation was published as a separate short story in a now defunct on-line magazine called The Open Vein at roughly the same time, so could Tom Six (writer and director of The Human Centipede) possibly have read it, and said “Hey, that gives me an idea…”? Well, yes, he could have. But I doubt it.
Besides, it isn’t even as if the idea was original to me. You see, that chapter of my novel was, weirdly enough, about a bloke wondering where a creator got his ideas. And the idea for that chapter came after I’d read an article on how the German chemist Kekule came up with the notion that the chemical structure of the benzene molecule was a ring after daydreaming about a serpent eating its own tail.
A serpent eating its own tail is an ancient symbol called an ouroboros (I prefer the spelling “oroboros”; I dunno,it sounds ROUNDER to me.) It represents the cyclical nature of things. That shit goes around and around and around.
That there is nothing new under the sun… or where the sun doesn’t shine.
PS: But seriously, The Human Santapede looks like an absolute hoot. I hope to get a copy in my stocking (hint, hint, Pinky!)