Salo, or the 120 days of Sodom (Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma) (1975)

The final vision of a controversial filmmaker.
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Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom

If you have ever wondered what the most depraved, sadistic, cruel and disturbing movie available to the general public is then you should maybe get yourself a copy of Salò or 120 Days of Sodom (Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma). Salo is an extreme Italian movie directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini and inflicted on the public in 1975. Not really a horror movie in the traditional sense of the term but the amount of horrificness portrayed in the 116 minutes of Salò far surpasses anything I have ever seen. Up until I had viewed this movie the most repelling and unnecessary movie I had seen was Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh and Blood but now that seems like an entertaining Sunday afternoon mealtime movie.

In 1944 in a Nazi occupied area of Italy 9 young men and 9 young women are kidnapped and taken to a mansion in the Republic of Salò. The kidnappers are four men of power, the Duke (Duc de Blangis), the Bishop, the Magistrate, and the President. Collaborating with the kidnappers are four veteran prostitutes whose job is to provide arousing stories to stimulate the sick fetishes of the kidnappers. These fetishes are inflicted upon the kidnapped minors as the organisers of the debauchery aim to experience the ultimate perverted enlightenment. The movie is split into four sections, the Anteinferno, the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Faeces, and the Circle of Blood and each section is pure and evil exploitation, more pure and evil than the previous section.

Each of the kidnappers takes their fetishes to the ultimate extreme, sodomy and arse is the main theme of the perversions, plus underage sex with some of the stories from the prostitutes recalling her pre-teen back-door experiences. Particularly disturbing and repulsive is the indulgence of the Dukes poop fetish, one of the most controversial scenes in the movie is when a young girl is forced to eat the Dukes steaming turd, enjoying this exploitation a poo feast is organised with a few days worth of waste saved by everyone for the banquet. A whole section of the movie is dedicated to faeces (the Circle of Faeces) and personally I found this whole section the absolute epitome of horror.

The final section of the movie is devoted to the torturous slaughter of the victims in the whole debauched affair. The final moments of the kidnapees encounter involves scalping, eye-gouging, branding and tongue removal as the depraved kidnappers get their supreme fix of power.

This is a very powerful movie and takes horror beyond entertainment and into a realm of cinema bordering on something very wrong. The movie is purposefully made to disgust and is a harrowing experience from beginning to end but provides an extreme and almost satirical look at the corrupting influence of power. The film has often had it's artistic merit challenged and banned in a number of countries due to it's sadomasochistic portrayal of rape and torture of youths presumed to be under eighteen. Salò was Pier Paolo Pasolini's last movie as he was murdered before its release and it is speculated that the reason for his death was due to the content of this.

If you feel you can stomach it then I believe that this movie has to be seen to realize the extremes to which a director can go but if you are slightly unhinged you better stay away as this movie will scar you brain and the imagery will stay with you indefinitely.
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Categories: Italian Horror Movies

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