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Horror Movie A Day: SALO (1975)
You should know there are a thousand occasions when one does not desire a woman’s anus

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.] While I was breaking today’s movie, SALO OR 120 DAYS OF SODOM, out of its plastic I noticed something that made me laugh out loud. You see the cover for the Criterion disc above, right? You probably have a good idea that this isn’t a family friendly movie, right? A naked crying girl doesn’t really scream out “Hey, kids! Want to watch a movie?” At least it doesn’t to me. On the plastic was a sticker. Usually this sticker on a Criterion release denotes the disc as a limited pressing or a director’s signature edition of the title. Here the sticker simply warned that SALO had explicit content. The sticker was positioned no more than an inch away from the tuft of pubic hair you can see on the cover. That’s a little bit of a “No Shit” moment and had me laughing. I don’t really know what the fuck I just watched. There is no real story here, only an increasing level of depravity. Basically you have a small group of older men and older women in some position of power during the end of the Nazi occupation of Italy. The first 20 minutes has these elegant men and women touring the country and finding dozens of young boys and girls to bring to a secluded mansion for reasons unknown. In this mansion it is explained clearly to these teens that they will not be leaving and have no rights. A new set of rules and laws have been written by the elders and any breaking of these rules will be punishable by extreme measures. The daily scheduled is outlined in which there’s story-time in the orgy room, followed by an orgy in the orgy room, but an orgy in which no male/female sex is allowed. In other words, there’s a lot of butt-fucking in this movie. A lot. Of butt-fucking. In this movie. A lot. Now, there is a line this movie doesn’t cross. Everything is implication and we don’t get CALIGULA-esque porn, thank God. It doesn’t go that far. And that’s about the movie. Storytime is held in order to turn on the elders, so they can get their rape and fuck on and the stories always act as a precursor to what the elders are going to do. We get these ladies talking about being covered in semen as 6 year olds and discovering sex, becoming child prostitutes, which leads to regular sex. Then we get a woman who is an expert at scat and bam… we get 30 minutes of girls and boys forced to eat shit and ass-contests. Then we get stories of torture and that takes us home, ending the movie with a series of eye-gougings, tongue removal, nipple burning and cock searing.

I suppose director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s point was to show us how desensitized we are and really try to push taboos while depicting violence as truly horrific, not something to enjoy. I can see that argument, but I tend to think that’s only a surface justification. Listen, I love horror films. I love great gore, like most of you reading this. I remember vividly seeing the shotgun to the face head explosion in DAWN OF THE DEAD as a kid. I remember looking forward to seeing how creatively Jason would hack up another stupid counselor. Hell, I still do. I love seeing moments in films that make me go “Oh shit!,” like post-bus accident attempted resuscitation in THE ORPHANAGE. I’m not going to apologize for enjoying onscreen violence. I recognize it’s not reality and I lead a very moral life. I’ve never hurt an animal, I’ve never cheated on a girlfriend, I’ve never beat anybody up. I’m a pretty passive person. So what if I like gore in horror movies? So I’m not going to attack this film for the graphic, seemingly pointless, torture. I appreciate what it did, how it made me feel, but I think the whole “it’s making a comment on society” is a hollow argument to obscure that the filmmakers really just wanted to make something really fucked up, something that will genuinely disturb people. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s that exact reason I love seeing Paul Schrader’s movies. Much like Schrader’s work I feel dirty after watching SALO, but unlike Schrader’s work SALO felt like a hollow experience. Sure, you get really awesome fucked up dialogue, like the line I picked for the subhead, spoken by one of the elders after being refused by one of the teen boys. He is offered pleasure by one of the elder ladies and his response is what I picked. I guarantee you that line has never been uttered in another movie, probably even counting porn (but I won’t cover the bet if it’s found in a porn, sorry). There are a wide array of characters in this thing, mostly the elders… presented as creepy middle-aged men and heavily made-up ladies way beyond their prime. One of the leaders looks just like chubby Gerard Butler, so if they decide to remake this… I think they have their first actor…

Another one of the elders, the President, is played by a cross-eyed, high-pitched balding man who is very, very creepy. No doubt about it, the casting is superb and perfectly off-setting. Some of the kids are creepy, too, including the Nazi-youth like guards who are drawn into the sexcapades and horrors, as well. And when I say kids, I’m sure everybody was of age. I have no doubt they cast as young as they could to really drive home how fucked up this all is, but this certainly isn’t child porn by any means. I don’t know… did the whole thing disturb me? I wouldn’t say it disturbed me as much as it made me feel dirty for watching. The tortures are graphic and gory, but without any character development they just come off as exploitation. I don’t care about the people being tortured, can’t really tell many of them apart other than whether it’s one of the boys or one of the girls I’ve seen over the course of the movie. It’s rare that anybody besides the elders speak so I didn’t feel any personal involvement outside of a standard pity for any human having to undergo a rigorous torture. People give HOSTEL a lot of shit, but like it or not in both movies Eli Roth went out of his way to develop the characters you see tortured later. You can argue how successfully he did that all you want, but the foundation is there. You can buy into it or not, but here there is no option. Shit just happens, people are fucked, tortured without any precursing development. Final Thoughts: It’s a bit of a shock jumping from two extremely fun horror movies to one so full of depravity and void of any fun, but I don’t hate the movie. I don’t feel the desire to ever revisit it… ever… nor would I recommend it to just anybody. A small niche of genre fans can appreciate this movie even if they don’t like it. And sometimes people just want to see shit that pushes their buttons, which this movie definitely does. Not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach, that’s for damn sure.

Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October: Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here! Now it’s time to pull the next HMAD! Next up is:

Sweet. Looking forward to that one. See you folks soon with my thoughts on BAD DREAMS! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 6, 2008, 7:38 a.m. CST

    Could never watch this again

    by Celtican

    It is truly disturbing

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 7:45 a.m. CST

    I clicked on this I going to be on some sort...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...of Government Watch List now? Because I really didn't mean to do anything wrong. I know, I know, headline had the work "anus" in it, but I was just curious...

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 7:51 a.m. CST

    I always laugh at kids who buy the Hostel ads about...

    by DerLanghaarige

    ..."Hostel is the most violent and shocking movie ever made" and stuff like that. <br> Someone should put Tarantinos name on the DVD of Salo, so these kids will watch it. (I don't wanna say that it is THE most violent and shocking movie ever, but for some of the Hostel kids it will be a pretty hard kick in the nuts.)

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 7:58 a.m. CST

    What about the scene (spoiler)

    by tonagan

    Where the woman leaps to her death? I could never figure that out - it was right after a plane flies overhead. Was it because she couldn't deal with what was going on, or was it because that was an allied plane? It's been a while since I've seen it, so I may not have caught everything.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:03 a.m. CST

    If you think this is screwed up wait until

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Quint gets to I Spit Upon Your Grave. I know it's only a movie, but even so.....

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Depravity to be admired?

    by stvnhthr

    It is okay, any film which makes you feel dirty for watching it can be labelled a bad movie. We won't think you're a prude. Morally reprehensible scenes aren't deep or meaningful, they just are icky.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Wasn't This Originally

    by Crow3711

    Raped: The David Spade Story?

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:19 a.m. CST

    I have looged back onto AICN after a long absence, specifically

    by Darklon Bayne

    I'm just not buying the argument that this film is not depravity masquerading as art...I know there are those that claim the movie was designed not to tittilate, that its scenes of torture, rape, coprafelia, etc. could never appeal to the sexual sensibilities of anyone watching, but I disagree..I think there are definitely those in the population that get off on watching the horrors that this movie illustrates, and I think the filmamkers fdefinitely wanted to see what boundaries they could push by illustrating them onscreen. On the dvd extras they have interviews with Passolini (sp?)in which he seems very pretentious, arguing that his film is just a metaphor for abuses of the socialist state in Italy during WWII, etc. But I'm not buying it, sorry. I think Quint is dead-on accurate when, to paraphrase, he says that the film offers shallow explanations for what it presents. I should point out that I am not a conservative, a holier-than-thou type, who would dismiss this movie upon mearly seeing the extrreme imagery it displays on-screen; far from it. I do believe in complete and unfettered artistic freedom, but this film pushes me more than any other I've seen recently to question why I beleive that.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Er, that's logged, sorry..

    by Darklon Bayne

    Stupid spellcheck!

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Salo and Philosophy of a Knife turned me off

    by Stuntcock Mike

    of the whole "extreme" genre.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:23 a.m. CST

    you know this was written in the 1700's

    by krycek08

    by Marquis de Sade? of course not you illiterate losers.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Binks, I Spit on Your Grave is in the same league to me

    by Stuntcock Mike

    as the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Which is to say it's a good 70's kick-in-the-balls-type horror movie.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:27 a.m. CST

    krycek08, in the words of Egon............

    by Stuntcock Mike

    "Print is dead"

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Salo is Not a Horror Movie!

    by adolfwolfli

    Nor was it meant to be. Horrific, yes, horror, no. What I mean by that is that the violence and depravity on display exists solely for socio-political commentary, not for fun, titillation, or entertainment, as it does in "horror movies". Passolini was making a very forceful, passionate statement about Facism. Though the movie at face value is depraved, at its heart it is compassionate, and a missive to the future. Unfortunately, this missive went unread, most notably by the Bush administration. What we have seen in America in the last 8 years would have made Passolini furious – torture, the stripping of citizen's rights, and a thirst for unchecked aggression and power on a grand scale. These are the themes of "Salo", and they are themes that seem lost upon most of us.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:35 a.m. CST

    The sympathetic guard (Spoiler!)

    by mithrandir16

    Beside the obvious sympathy you feel toward the victims, there is one of the conscripted guards who doesn't seem to enjoy the escapades. He stays out of the fray, and his expression is usually one of barely contained disgust. Pasolini seems to show him as a glimmer hope. I thought he might snap and at least try to help someone escape. Instead he is caught having sex with a servant girl and is gunned down. To me, that scene was just as shocking (though in a very different way) as the torture and shit-eating, because it represented the destruction of the only hope these people had--even if it was only a faint, vague hope to begin with.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:36 a.m. CST


    by Celtican

    Yes I did know thank you. Your point being?

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:36 a.m. CST

    I Spit On Your Grave..

    by Harold-Sherbort

    ..left me wanting a little more. There were some shocking moments, but overall, it could have been better. This movie is next up on my Netflix. I can't wait!!

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:49 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    I disagree. I doubt I'll see any monsters as horrible as the men and women running the show in this picture. This is definitely a monster movie, no doubt about it.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:52 a.m. CST


    by tailgunner111

    When you say that "Salo" is a horror movie, you've really missed the point. You may wnat to check the "making of" docu on youtube, to get a better idea. Really.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:54 a.m. CST


    by vassilis

    I think that Salo was always made to do one thing and it obviously succeeded judging by your reaction Quint: make everyone who enjoys torture in movies feel initially turned on (that's why you go see this kind of movie anyway), then bad and sick and depraved. Sort of like a cathartic exercise where you start with the torturer's point of view and end up with the victim's or (better yet since this is Pasolini) with an objective third person p.o.v. who can judge the situation by what it really is in an intellectual level instead of emotional/instinctual level..I can understand this feels weird and wrong to a movie audience these days. It feels wrong to me and Quint and everyone who has learned to enjoy movies basically at this emotional level (huge screens, big sound etc). But this was definitely not the case in the 70s in Europe.. At the same time of course Salo it's a social comment on fascism, a 'fuck-you' in the face of right-wing church-loving Musolini 'black jackets' who REALLY enjoyed -and still enjoy- the occasional torture and degradation of their political enemies. I got more but I'll stop here. My main point: i didn't enjoy it but I can appreciate it - it's not meant to be enjoyed..

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:55 a.m. CST

    Bad Dreams

    by Purgatori

    AKA: Let's try and rip off Nightmare on Elm St but really not. But yay for Bruce Abbott and my man Dean Cameron AKA Chainsaw. Richard Lynch was at his creepy best too. Which reminds me....when do we get Vampire on DVD???

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:55 a.m. CST

    The worst thing about this movie

    by bingo the clown

    is that none of the teens (including the guards, who were also captured) fought back, although there was a small act of defiance by one of them at the end.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:57 a.m. CST

    oh, and...

    by tailgunner111

    developing the characters so that a moronic audience may empathize is a rather stupid mania of American cinema. Again, one can't expect that from Pasolini

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Bad Dreams

    by kwisatzhaderach

    The Bad Dreams trailer was on every CBS/Fox video for about 6 months in 1989. Richard Lynch laughing while somebody fell off the top of a building became strangely comforting after a while.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 9:03 a.m. CST


    by vassilis

    By the way all the points above are EXACTLY what de Sade's novels were all about in the first place, so Salo is also a great adaptation of literature..

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 9:14 a.m. CST

    I felt dirty....

    by closeencounter

    Just reading this review. Ewwww.....

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 9:55 a.m. CST

    This sounds like it was playing

    by T 1000 xp professional

    on the tv in Videodrome....i'm trying not narrowminded here but to a degree don't see what separates this from porn.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 9:55 a.m. CST

    to be narrow....*

    by T 1000 xp professional

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:03 a.m. CST

    wow we are reviewing snuff porn now...

    by BMacSmith

    i'll pass. oh and by the way: Hostel sucked.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:04 a.m. CST


    by TheBigDogg

    I can't know for sure what de Sade's actual intentions were with his novels but that stinks slightly of bullshit to me, given his history. Had he got away with it, had society allowed him, I'm not sure he wouldn't have acted out everything in his writing, which sinks far lower than the movie does. Unless he was living his life as one big social comment, which I doubt. Sounds to me more like the ramblings of a sick fuck who just happened to be able to write them down in a time where not everyone could. Oh, and he had plenty of time to write what with being in prison and all. He was the 'elders' in his writing.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:18 a.m. CST

    I'd buy the "it's meant to make you feel bad" if

    by JackRabbitSlim

    Pier Palo Pasolini didn't flaunt the fact he liked having sex with underage boys - his love of chickenbait finally getting him killed by a gigolo. (What was he - run over in a car a half dozen times? Cant remember - don't want to remember) Man had undeniable cinematic vision - for proof of it watch some of his earlier films - but I've ranted enough times what reprehensible shit this film is.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:18 a.m. CST


    by vassilis

    heh this is a huuge discussion about de sade and his intentions..have you ever tried to read the books? they are deliberately boring and anatomical and, well, not very sexy at all..Except sometimes in the beginning of the novels.Especially "120 days" is totally unreadable.As for his intentions, he definitely had some unusual habits but not nothing close to what he's writing in the books. And especially not unusual for his times if you look at the history.The main reason he was in jail was for politics as he was an extreme anti-monarchy guy (120 days IS an attack on the aristocracy doing these despicable things without conscience). If you google it a little bit you will see many many people defending the man and his intentions, even if noone likes the writings too much. The surrealists for instance thought he was brilliant, Simon de Bovuar (spelling betrays me) etc etc. Anyway, main point: he as not a sick fuck and he wouldn't act out his writings even if society allowed it :-)

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST


    by vassilis

    Again, like deSade, Pasolini was a bit extreme for me or the 00s (gay, free sex, 17yr olds) but nothing like the sick fucks he is putting up on film. And about flaunting it, he definitely liked a bit of provocation.. But he had a social conscience. So, again, nothing like the monsters/sickos in Salo.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:34 a.m. CST


    by Shoegeezer

    This film seems the opposite of exploitation to me. The fact that you don't get to know the victims only heightens the could-happen-to-anyone aspect and makes it more random, cruel and unfair. I got the BFI Blu-Ray of this, HD makes it seem both less and more tawdry.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Not seeing either

    by skimn

    How is this different than the infamous Faces Of Death videos? I know those tend to be clinical scenes of autopsies and rituals and such, but isn't it still pain being inflicted on screen?

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:36 a.m. CST

    by snapcase

    If Pasolini was alive today I think its likely that he would have used a prison like Abu Ghraib for this movie. It fits perfectly with his vision of corrupted power an dehumanitasion that is Salo. A great move, missunderstood by most.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:39 a.m. CST


    by vassilis

    difference than the faces of death videos: story/social commentary and something you seem to forget: it's just a movie! So it's FAKE. I don't see any attempt to make money exploiting people actually hurting so some sickos can masturbate..

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:41 a.m. CST

    If you think SALO is bad...


    ...Try watching "Men Behind the Sun" (1988). If that's not on your list (assuming you might not have not seen it Quint) then it should be. Like "Salo", it deals with what happens when men already corrupt are given absolute power. Unlike Salo, it pulls NO punches - whereas, at least Passolini had the sense to cut out the child abuse found in the source book. By the way, Pasolini, still a moral man IMHO, died a shocking death himself. That is all.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Hey Quint

    by Stengah

    if you're not watching it again, give me the dvd!! and men behind the sun was also pretty fucked up.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 11:08 a.m. CST

    But here's the thing for me...

    by subtlety

    Whether or not Salo is "really" about the abuses of facism and the single-minded pursuit of power over other people... the film really is just a long torture sequence. I find it unnecessary to sit all the way through it or even watch it at all to get the point, which is pretty obvious from the start and in fact is stated about as well as the movie does it in these talkbacks. OK, fascism is bad, people in power can be unspeakably cruel. Why do I have to watch a bunch of kids get raped for two hours to better understand that?<br><br> I mean, I'm not advocating for the film to be banned or anything, I just find it sort of ugly and pointless. I feel like I understand pretty well the points Pasolini was trying to make, but after watching the movie, I don't feel like I understand them particularly better or in a richer way. So I agree with Quint that its ultimately superficial and more focused on being transgressive than being enlightening (which would actually be a pretty solid translation of de Sade's work too). Although, hey, sometimes thats a point in and of itself. Just not a very interesting one, at least to me.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 11:13 a.m. CST


    by skimn

    I realize that Salo is not an actual snuff film, I just got the impression that Passolini presented the scenes of violence dispassionately.<p>Although staged, the repulsion that viewers have stated, sure looks like he got what he intended.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 11:29 a.m. CST

    I remember this question

    by quentintarantado

    if someone got it right, they get checked into a mental institution. The question is one of those used to see if a person is a sociopath. A person will definitely give the wrong answer if that person is normal. Salo is something like that. You've seen Salo, Quint, you're disgusted. Welcome to the human race, thank God.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 11:38 a.m. CST

    This movie is absolutely worthless

    by CherryValance

    It's interesting that you brought up HOSTEL because while watching this piece of shit movie all I could think about is how movies like HOSTEL get all kinds of criticism but they actually are good movies. SALO on the other hand is just some asshole forcing his audience to watch people eat shit. There was no point to it. It had no fucking plot, except some crazed anti-Fascist agenda, as if anyone would think of fascists as sweeties without seeing this "movie". And almost worse than the shit banquets were those goddamn stories those old whores were going on and on about. My abiding thoughts after watching this movie were a) Pasolini was the biggest asshole I've ever even heard of and b) Italian Nazis are fucking long-winded. This is one of a chosen few movies I've given a 1/10 but it really deserves a zero. Anyone who hasn't seen it would do themselves a favor by skipping it. I watched it because I thought it was just another horror movie that had been banned for some silly reason. It's not, and I wish I had been warned.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 11:48 a.m. CST


    by fishpillow

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 11:49 a.m. CST


    by fishpillow

    I know Quint didn't just compare this masterpiece to a piece of shit like Hostel. I imagined that right? RIGHT???

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 11:50 a.m. CST

    This just in...

    by fishpillow

    CherryValance is a moron too.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 11:53 a.m. CST

    yay, BAD DREAMS

    by the beef

    I can watch it tonight too. It will be just like having Quint in the room with me. Yay.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Wasn't Pasolini murdered because of this film?

    by ricarleite

    Salo is hardly a film at all. It's 2 girls 1 cup the movie.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 12:08 p.m. CST

    I did it my way

    by Purgatori

    oh Dean Cameron. You and your pretty blue eyes. When the hell do we get Rockula on DVD?? Thomas Dolby as a rhinestone peglegged pirate and Toni Basil as the vampire mom??!! Man, I miss the 80s.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 12:08 p.m. CST


    by CherryValance

    If you consider SALO a masterpiece, then I am honored that you consider me a moron. *big hug*

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 12:11 p.m. CST

    Then again, there are 100's of occasions....

    by Ninja Nerd

    ....where one DOES desire a woman's anus! Usually after too much alcohol and dead batteries in the sex toys. As for the movie...absolute trash.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Only film i started downloading..

    by StrokerX

    and then stopped once i read more about it. I put this in the same category as the Al-Queda beheading videos...Things this guy will not watch....ever.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 12:39 p.m. CST


    by gwarwilleatyou

    I do wonder if it is necessary to actually watch the film if you've A. Read De Sade, or B. read about the film and its supposed subtext. After reading this article and others on Salo there just doesn't seem to be any point to actually seeing it now.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Exactly, Gwarwilleatyou...

    by subtlety

    Still waiting for someone to tell me how actually WATCHING this "masterpiece" --rather than just thinking about the subtext-- makes the points any more richly, or any more effectively. I think a stronger argument could be made that all the feces-eating etc. actually detracts from the point and confuses the issue. If the film succeeds at all, its because its about the dehumanization brought on by 20th century sexuality, which we might establish in a kind of metaphysical way by thinking about people's reactions to the purile content. But there again, I find it much more interesting to just talk about, rather than watch. <br><br>Besides, even if there is some level of meaning we can get by actually WATCHING that we don't get from just thinking (and, arguably, there is... hey, its why the Pentagon is OK with us talking about NUMBERS of deaths but gets upset about actually SHOWING coffins) surely this could have been a short film rather than a two-hour bloated behemoth.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 1:06 p.m. CST

    Ninja nerd

    by skimn

    When a womans vazhin hang like a wizards sleeve.....<p>Stay tuned for Austin Powers references..yowza yowza

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 1:08 p.m. CST

    I've tried to watch it 4 times now...

    by Prague23

    I'm about an hour in. I hear there's a great sequence I've yet to experience called the 'circle of shit' or something similar. Well, since it's currently on Youtube, sadly without English titles, perhaps I'll give it another go. Then again, perhaps not.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 1:47 p.m. CST


    by fishpillow

    Watching it, and hence learning from it, is the point of watching it. It really makes you confront how casually you watch and persieve (sp?) violence. The point of the film isn't to glorify what happens (that's why the camera thankfully pulls back at times)it's to show us what can happen when it goes unchecked.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 1:53 p.m. CST

    It just goes to show...

    by DreadPirateRoberts

    from some of the comments on the board that ANYTHING can find an audience. 'Subtlety' nailed it. Just because Pasolini claimed to be making a point with something depraved does not make it genius. There is really not much reason to do all this to make the 'point' of the film. I could film someone stomping chickens to death for a couple of hours and say I was making a point about society's desensitization towards injustice to those who cannot defend themselves. That does not mean watching it for two hours is worth much in making that point. Heck, I could probably do that and someone on this board would see it as a commentary on the Bush administration. I bet someone would even read into it that I used chickens to so that the audience would subconsciously think of "Chicken George", insuring they got the George Bush point. I wouldn't make it any more true however. I read about it, rented it, and basically wished I had spent my time doing something else. Tombraider did that for me too.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 2 p.m. CST

    Not a single mention of Genet.

    by EvilWizardGlick

    There said it.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 2:36 p.m. CST

    "Do you agree?"

    by König Lear

    I see two main arguments here. One that Salo is a misunderstood work of genius, and another that its content as reprehensible and therefore the film cannot be a work of genius. I was unable to finish this film and don't regret my distaste. I do not see the reason for its existence in the sense that I think it NECESSARY. (As I might a horrific documentary, for example, filmed to inform and galvanize the world into action.) But the definition of genius requires only "exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability," and so I must, reluctantly, acknowledge Salo as an indication of such. Genius poorly applied, perhaps, but genius nevertheless. I've often argued with friends the extent to which a movie--book, play, or any form of art or creative action--needs to explain or depict human depravity in order for the audience to appreciate the gravity of a situation or a principle. Certainly there are those who think the film was made with good reasons and good intentions, and I think I agree with the second part. I don't think Pasolini made Salo with some sort of masturbatory mindset: I can't imagine this film was enjoyable for anyone with a sense of universal decency (as opposed to the unique cultural definitions of "decency") to make. It's likely in my mind that Pasolini saw this as his cross to bear, his message, in a sense, to the world. That he was murdered before he could finish his Death Trilogy (of which Salo was only the first part) is, in a sense, a message in itself. Put another way, the question isn't, "Should Salo exist?" or "Is it art, is it genius?" but "Do you agree?" I do not. Sounds like most of you, including Quint, don't either. And that is good.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 2:56 p.m. CST

    somebody sounds pretentious

    by T 1000 xp professional

    starts with an "f" and rhymes with fishpillow... most on this talkback have agreed that w/e point the film is trying to make is not worth the time of watching the film itself..and the point you said about being a casual spectator of violence is a pretty shallow point to begin with.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 2:57 p.m. CST

    I take it, that you can't buy this at Wal-Mart...

    by The Dum Guy

    I've wanted to see this (kind of, not exactly now) for a little while, but it isn't at my Blockbuster.<br><br>I'd only ask Quint, what is the most disturbing movie he's seen, compared to this?

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 3:14 p.m. CST

    I'd have to think on it

    by Quint

    But two films spring immediately to mind: Cannibal Holocaust with it's intermingling of real life tribal animal slaughter and crazy-insane gore and Lake of Fire, the abortion documentary. Those were both disturbing for different reasons, but Lake of Fire is an incredible doc.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Haven't seen Lake of Fire...

    by The Dum Guy

    I'll catch it on Netflix.<br><br>I kinda thought Cannibal Holocaust would come up, I've known people to throw up because of that movie.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Gee, and I thought Nekromantik was a sicko movie...

    by 2for2true

    Oh wait - it was. You better hope to God you don't have to sit through that garbage...

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Quint is wrong and completely oblivious to the point.

    by Strabo

    This film, however personally distasteful, _IS_ art. Criterion published a series of essays on their site a few years ago. Sadly, they seem to have removed them from the site in order to include as an extra with the new DVD release. However, you can still find the first page of one of the essays--one that I found particularly illuminating--through here: <BR><BR> <BR><BR>I highly recommend you read it for some sadly absent perspective. <BR><BR>The point of the film is that power objectifies humanity. It turns people into commodities as disposable as anything else you can purchase at a store. The sad irony of the film is that the film itself was sold at a store to be consumed by we, the viewers. And thus, we become morally equivalent to the depraved perpetrators of the horrors in the film. <BR><BR>The film is a masterpiece. Snapcase and adolfwolfli are absolutely correct. If Pasolini were to make this film today, it would be set in Abu Ghraib and feature the Bush Administration. <BR><BR>Having said all of this, and given my opinion on the film, I'd like to add that I have seen the film once, and I will never view it again. I will, however, recommend it to people that I think can understand it. Unfortunately, there aren't many of them, as this talkback illustrates.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 3:33 p.m. CST

    I pasted the wrong URL...

    by Strabo

    Try this one: <BR><BR>

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Strabo, you easily proved your point

    by T 1000 xp professional

    in one post on aint it cool news.... no need to drag it on for 2 hrs of visual torture especially when a lot of people disagree and do not want to be morally equivalent and watch the movie "as this talkback illustrates".

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 4:05 p.m. CST

    equivalent to those sadists*

    by T 1000 xp professional

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 4:05 p.m. CST

    What a delightful little film.

    by Knuckleduster

    I remember first seeing it when I was 6, covered in semen, and thinking how wonderful it is to find characters on film that I can relate to.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 4:07 p.m. CST


    by T 1000 xp professional

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 4:10 p.m. CST


    by DreadPirateRoberts

    I totally reject the tired old line that if you don't like something or think it is "greatness" that you just did not get it. No, I (and I am sure Quint) 'got it', I just don't personally think it succeeds. It does not matter what the director was trying to do. Did they succeed or not. My and some others opinion, they did not. You thought it did. It does not make your more insightful, it just means you appreciate it. And the Criterion collection is no measure of quality. There is a Criterion edition of Armageddon too.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 4:16 p.m. CST

    If Salo is ART I don't like ART!


    Half Sharks, Messy beds and Poo eating movies are not my idea of worthwhile artistic endevours so i must be a thick cunt!<P>I watched this many moons ago while at ART college and it put me right off my cocoa pops!

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Disturbing, but Not in the Same Way...

    by Glasswalker33

    First off, I've not had the 'pleasure' of watching the entire movie. My brother was watching it as I walked out for a smoke (a very good customer/ex-film projectionist made a burn for him, and he would never say where he got his copy (this was a few years back now)). So for at least five minutes I watched Salo. Not attempting to review or dis/agree with anyone here. Just that it is a disturbing film, but honestly, disturbing just isn't quite the right word. My initial emotional response to it was about the same as the end of "The Doom Generation" (a movie I loved, but for some reason the end of it won't stick in my memory as if I'm trying to block it out). It's the same flavor of disturbing. Nice to see a comparison about "Cannibal Holocaust" and this. Need to check out "Lake Of Fire".

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 4:27 p.m. CST

    Remake the film with Shia

    by T 1000 xp professional

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 4:28 p.m. CST

    how is Salo a horror movie?

    by mrbong

    it's horrific, yes, but i don't think it was intended as a horror movie? on that note, who knows what it was intended as. i seem to recall some poor lad getting bummed in the dining hall, and then the lad being encouraged to bum the fellow who bummed him, or something like that? the shit eating went on far too long, but then again any scenes of shit eating were probably too many. i quite like porn, horror and boundary testing films, but there was next to no point to this one. unless you are some smarmy arty-farty twat who is going to make up some existentialist shit about metaphors as an excuse for the ruddy good wank you had over this. the only purpose Salo serves is to give the pro-censorship, ban every fucking thing some ammunition.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 4:42 p.m. CST


    by Strabo

    On the contrary, I don't really fault anyone for missing the point. The subject matter is so terrifying that it often blinds otherwise perceptive people like Quint from seeing the point. You have to look past your own squeamishness to get the point of the film.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Bad Dreams!

    by sonnyfern

    A surprising little horror flick actually, not what anybody think's it's going to be. No interest in seeing Salo, it sounds like there's no plot or real story to it, and I just can't really enjoy a movie if it doesn't engage me on that level.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Re: König Lear

    by fishpillow

    See you can disagree and be thoughtful and not be a prick. Good show sir!

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 5:25 p.m. CST


    by fishpillow

    Very well said. I never said it was art, but is a masterpiece of filmmaking.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 5:27 p.m. CST


    by fishpillow

    even I wouldn't want to meet the sick fuck who wanks to this, but why do do I have to be an "art farty twat" to see it's value? The strong disagreements and feelings on this truly measure it's worth, and it more than made it's point.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 5:29 p.m. CST


    by fishpillow

    Oh, there's a story, but folks on here equate being disturbed and challenged with the film not being good on any level. See it for yourself and judge it for yourself.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 5:29 p.m. CST

    and btw...

    by fishpillow

    the film is out on Blu Ray in the UK! Can't wait!

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 6:10 p.m. CST

    Count me out on Salo.

    by DarthCorleone

    Don't get me wrong. I get the movie. I didn't enjoy it all and would never watch it again, but I got it. I just don't think the big revelation at the end (having us watch the final slaughter via the viewpoint of another character watching it through a spyglass or binoculars to essentially point out - "AHA! Yes, you disapprove, but you have watched all this depravity! What does that say about you?") is *that* genius. The fact that I watched the film and stomached the onslaught is rather self-evident. My tolerance is high, and I was hoping I would be rewarded with a point. Does that mean I would ever condone this behavior? Does that mean I'm so desensitized that I would let it happen in real life if I had the means to stop it? I just don't see how that follows.<br><br>When it comes to depravity in films, yes, I'm more desensitized than most. But it's all about context. One simple act of relatively non-bloody violence in a serious film can put knots in my stomach, and the most rampant bloodletting in an action film can make me laugh or invoke a thrill. Surely that alone shows that I can tell the difference. What happens in Salo is overload; it almost reaches the point of laughability it's so persistent. Granted, it's an uncomfortable laughter, but if you're invoking laughter...well, the curtain has been pulled back and your film has lost its effectiveness.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 6:13 p.m. CST


    by fishpillow

    Wow im impressed, Salo sure didn't make me laugh

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 6:16 p.m. CST

    um ...

    by berserkrl

    Did Quint actually not know this was based on a book by the Marquis de Sade?

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 6:44 p.m. CST


    by Strabo

    Quote: "Does that mean I would ever condone this behavior? Does that mean I'm so desensitized that I would let it happen in real life if I had the means to stop it? I just don't see how that follows." <BR><BR>But you see, that's _exactly_ what has happened. I'm making the assumption that you, and most of the other commenters here are all Americans. As mentioned above, we are currently guilty of sitting idly while our government tortures people in Abu Ghraib, in Guantanamo Bay, and in secret prisons run by the CIA in eastern Europe. We've kidnapped people off the streets and sent them to be tortured in foreign countries (Maher Arar, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, Jose Padilla). We've kidnapped children and disappeared them simply because they're the children of someone we've branded a terrorist (Khalid Sheihk Mohammed's children, taken by CIA in 2003, still missing). <BR><BR>And we've done nothing to stop it. <BR><BR>Actually, we did something worse: we reelected the son of a bitch who gave the order to implement those policies. So yes, we _ARE_ the watchers in the spyglass.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Art, the book, good or bad, THE POINT, etc.

    by Billy Sunday

    I've had a copy of this movie for about a year now and haven't gotten up the courage to put it in yet based on everything I'd read about it. I've loved Quint's MOVIE A DAY column (thanks Quint) and decided if some other poor bastard here in Austin was going to give his copy a spin, I'd gather my strength and do the same. So I watched it this afternoon. In response to all the back and forth, here's what I think. Yes, it's art. Art is a pretty broad term to begin with, but honestly lots of people spent time putting this on film, film is an art form, this is film, so yeah, I think it's pretty safe to call this art. I think pretty much everyone who was read anything about SALO, Quint included, is aware that it's based (loosely) on a book by the Marquis de Sade, in fact, that's the FIRST LINE on the back cover synopsis of the original Criterion release. But really, I can't see how that matters. I don't think that just because it was based on a work by de Sade lends it instant credibility. As to the point, it kills me that you guys think if Quint didn't "like" or appreciate the film that he didn't "get it." I don't know the guy or anything, he may or may not have "gotten it" but I'm saying it IS possible to understand the social commentary at work here on power and it's corruptions and the extremes that it can lead to as seen through the lens of Fascist Italy in the 40s and NOT appreciate or "like" the film. I didn't think it was all that well done. I get the point, unless you guys are saying there's some mysterious illusory "point" that anyone who doesn't appreciate the film can never understand (like maybe that Elders were Scientologists?). I get it, I just didn't think it was fucking amazing and spectacular. I think there have been other movies trying to make a point about something in society that accomplish their objective in a better way. Is it disturbing? Obviously. Did it have a point? Yes. Did I appreciate it? Not particularly. I didn't hate it, I don't think it should be banned or anything. But I also wouldn't recommend it as a great example of how quickly and easily power gone unchecked can spiral into a literal hell where human beings become objects. And, no, I can't think of another film that I WOULD recommend as a great example of that, I'm not saying something else was done better, just that I don't think was done particularly well. I thought it had some pacing issues and was perhaps a bit too long and could have seen a few scenes cut or shortened. I'm glad I saw it in the sense that it will always have a place in the history of cinema and I can now talk about it and discuss it with people and I would recommend it to other film lovers, with appropriate warnings about it's content, for the same reasons, but there's no reason to see this more than once.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 6:56 p.m. CST


    by Strabo

    One of the things that struck me about the film is that the Elders in the film maintain almost as much detachment from the events of the film as Pasolini gives to his direction and the camera. The film is entirely detached and dispassionate. Much like the response of the American public to the actions of our government.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 6:57 p.m. CST

    Salo is an extremely intelligent film....


    .....riiiiiiiiiight. Give me a fucking break. Its some sick fuck indulging in his own twisted fantasies. The sad part is-- many people have fallen for it time and time again and I will continue to hear about this piece of shit for the rest of time.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Cannibal Holocaust (spoilerish)

    by CherryValance

    I saw CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST a few days before I watched SALO. I don't think they're even close to the same thing. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST had a plot. It was a decent film. I thought the way you were lead to believe one thing about certain peoples and then gradually shown that what you thought was wrong was really well done. Did I have problems with it? Sure. The animal killings bothered me. But it doesn't necessarily make the film unwatchable. I would recommend it to people I think could stomach it. </p> Darth Corleone, we didn't do any of that. And we didn't not doing anything to stop it. I'm willing to bet the vast majority of people who just read your post did not vote for Bush the second time, or the first. Try writing your congressman or marching on someplace and see where that get's you in the 21st century. You wind up with sore feet and lots of emails in your sent box. But none of the stuff going on right now is going to inspire me to make a movie where not only do the characters force others to eat shit but they also give one of them a spoon and the fucking moron takes it.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 7:04 p.m. CST

    sorry DarthCorleone

    by CherryValance

    that was Strabo I should have addressed with my last post.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 7:47 p.m. CST

    man that pic of the kid getting his tongue pulled out...

    by The Amazing G

    REALLY disturbs me

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 7:56 p.m. CST


    by Strabo

    Congratulations! You win the "dumbass of the thread award!" The apathy expressed in your post is _exactly_ the kind of attitude Pasolini was criticizing in Salo! Try reading about Hannah Arendt and the "banality of evil." <BR><BR>You also win the award for being a totally oblivious asshole! Guess what! Feces was involved in the torture at Abu Ghraib! Here's an example: <BR><BR>

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:13 p.m. CST

    I can never

    by catlettuce4

    eat chocolate biscuits again after seeing this - the shit was ground up chocky digestives squirted through a tube

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 8:15 p.m. CST


    by DarthCorleone

    fishpillow>> I saw it in a theater a couple years ago. There was tittering at a couple points (not at the end) when the feces-eating reached the point that it had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The mere premise of eating shit and enjoying it does seem laughable to me, particularly when the torturers themselves were indulging in it. By the end - spyglass or no - I found the whole thing so relentless and redundant that I couldn't help thinking there would have been a more effective way to communicate the ideas. Critiques above pointing out the lack of individual characterization are fairly valid, I think, when it comes to reaching an audience. I can see that as further reinforcing the awfulness of the dehumanization, but as a viewer of a film that doesn't change the fact that I'm lacking characters that give me anything specific to which to relate beyond their basic humanity.<br><br>CherryValance>> No worries.<br><br>Strabo>> Yes, I'm an American. For the record, I didn't vote for W. in either election, but I'll respectfully grant - as a citizen of this nation - that does not absolve me of responsibility. I contemplate American history frequently and wonder about its past ills, how I would have reacted had I lived at those times or been confronted with a specific situation, etc. I'm ashamed to say that the present me is rather complacent and could certainly do more to help the world. The question: how far am I willing to branch out beyond my comfort zone for the sake of activism? Would I write a letter? Yes, I have. Would I help a stranger on the street? Yes, I have. Would I row a boat to Guantanamo Bay to stage a protest? I certainly haven't gone that far. Would I combat evils such as the ones you describe if they were happening in my backyard and I knew about them? I like to think that I would. It depends upon how you define "backyard." I suppose I just get overwhelmed by the size of the world and default toward an isolationist viewpoint. Sometimes I think about abandoning this existence that I have here, flying to Darfur, and trying to help as many people as I can (probably bringing about my early demise). Would I make enough of a difference for it to truly matter? Similarly, sometimes I wonder why I haven't already donated a kidney to a stranger. Someone is dying right now and could survive with my kidney. But I'm not helping them. Does that make me a bad person? Often I think that it does. But for the time being, I suppose I'm resigned to voting the best way that I can in elections and donating money to worthy causes when I have money to give (which unfortunately is rare given my finances).<br><br>I would agree with you that, yes, to a large extent we are the watchers with the spyglass. There is one important distinction, though. The evils with which you are saddling the common American are evils of apathy and ignorance. The guilt that Salo seems to imply dwells at a much more "meta" level. You can't say for certain what I would do if I lived in the world of Salo. The extent of the film's commentary seems to be more along the lines of what the average film viewer would watch and possibly enjoy. I realize that translates to a broader social commentary, but it's an extreme leap to transmute the condoning of things that take place in Salo upon the majority of its viewers.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 9:13 p.m. CST


    by uberman

    Seems like a Shitty Movie.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 9:27 p.m. CST

    M-O-O-N. That spells "Sodom"

    by Tom Cullen

    If a film has to be justified as anything other than film, whether you justify it on the basis of being "art" or "social comment" or any other catchcry you can come up with, then to me that proves that it has been unsuccessful. Film is film. And if film doesn't work as film then it doesn't work full stop. To me Salo isn't genius, it isn't art, and it isn't a good or in any way meaningful film, it's just a shallow attempt at audience manipulation that has all the nuance and subtlety and heavyhandedness of a sledgehammer in a chian shop. You can try to justify it's cookie cutter attempts at audience manipulation any way you like, but it's not a good film, it's not all that much of a well made film, and it's not a particularly interesting film. Paint by numbers depravity does not social relevance make. I don't believe that Salo, or any legitimate film, should be banned, but that said, it really isn't much of a film, regardless of how you choose to justify it.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 10:44 p.m. CST

    I watched this alone and had nightmares for days

    by SirLoin

    Afterward I read up extensively on Pasolini, trying to understand what would motivate him to make such a film. And the conclusion that I came to was that he was a man who was so angry at the world that this was his defiant "fuck you" to the human race. Reading and watching interviews of him, I get what he was trying to say about fascism, consumerism, and the commodification of humanity under corrupt power structures, but he must have realized at some point how lost all those points were under the shit and torture. How can one stop to digest all the commentary when what is going on onscreen is so viscerally unsettling? Ultimately what stayed with me the most was the sense of utter hopelessness and despair that the victims were experiencing. The only point that I can truly glean from this film is that man is capable of far greater evils than most of us can conjure in our nightmares.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 11:05 p.m. CST

    shocklingly over-rated crapfest

    by 300 monkeys

    excellent review, and I don't say that kind of thing around here. It's only art when held up to an entirely worthless piece of garbage like ... like, Bad Dreams! You are in for one terrible movie, love child.

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 12:46 a.m. CST

    Oh my, don't watch Lake of Fire after eating anything...

    by The Dum Guy

    I decided to eat just a bowl of cereal after a salad, and sat down (with my Cocoa Pebbles) to watch this docu'. I like watching most documentaries, and I'm used to the end having the greatest impact... 20 minutes into this film and I'm seeing what I used to look like when I had womb-mate.<br><br>Thank you Quint, not for making me slightly woozie, but for reminding me about a great documentary.<br><br><br>I also put Salo in my Netflix list, so, I see myself sitting down to eat a big bowl of rocky-road ice cream and watching it (like I do with 2 Girls 1 Cup).

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 2:14 a.m. CST

    About getting it or not

    by Quint

    I could start lying here, pretending I'm an expert on Fascism and got every detail about the movie, but I'm not, so I won't. I got it was a criticism on authority, I got that it was a criticism on passivity, I got that it was accusing its audience of being complacent and enjoying evils. That's pretty obvious... and yes, I knew it was based on the writing of de Sade... I did watch the movie and saw the opening credits. I don't understand why knowing it was based on de Sade has any relevance to my opinion on the movie.<BR><BR>I think Tom Cullen put it best above. You can make excuses for its content, its message, but why I ultimately didn't particularly love the movie is because it didn't work on that level: as a movie. To me, it didn't. Look at A Clockwork Orange and what Kubrick did there. He had similar messages about wrong-headed authority, creepy old men out of touch and running the show, a protagonist you should hate, a violence level geared to disturb you... but it's a brilliant film. All that commentary was within a great story, which allowed me an in to the movie.<BR><BR>I don't hate this movie, I don't think it should be banned and not scene by anybody, but I think some of the criticism in these talkbacks is right on the money. It's blunt. There's very little going on below surface level. The message is blunt, the film is blunt. And I think that's why people who love this movie love it and why people who don't don't. I think we can all agree that Salo has a place in the history of cinema, but we're going to have to agree to disagree on how effective it is as filmmaking.

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 7:39 a.m. CST

    So nobody else could figure the jumping woman scene either?

    by tonagan

    Ah well, at least I don't feel so alone.

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 8:16 a.m. CST

    What Quint says

    by subtlety

    is pretty much spot on. The fact that a couple folks here are still trying to milk the "You didn't understand it" angle is ludicrous, since most posters who don't find the film that successful speak directly TO the points the film seems to be trying to make. And as far as I can tell, no one here is claiming the thing is "just a snuff film" or should be banned or censored. I think we all agree, it IS art, there IS a point. It's just that, like Quint, we find the movie not particularly effective at making the point. Yes, we get the effect that watching the horror through a telescope implicitly involves the audience in responsibility, and speaks to the passive allowance of unspeakable cruelty. Fine. But at two hours running time, most of which is setup and then shit-eating etc, the movie's padded and the message is pretty meager, particularly since it's a fairly mundane message anyway philosophically speaking. I for one argue this would be a much more effective short film; a few minutes of torture would be plenty, even if we accept that its absolutely necessary for the torture to be so prolonged that its literally somewhat torturous to watch. The rape scene in "Irreversible" is a great example of a moment of incomprehensible horror and cruelty, which ultimately makes much more of an impacted than Salo's plotless, slo-motion fuck fest. <br><br> Salo (ha! almost types "Halo"! No wonder Sony backed out!) IS disturbing, and was INTENDED to be so. That's how Pasolini wanted it; he thought it was necessary to make his point. I disagree; I think his point has been made much more effectively elsewhere. That doesn't mean I think "Salo" is a complete waste, or pointless torture porn. It's legitimate, carefully crafted art from a legitimate, thoughtful artist. It just happens to not be among his more effective works of art, and its kind of a shame that its notoriety means it will be the first thing people associate with Pasolini. As with all art that pushes the boundries of the times, Salo definitely has its place in history; unfortunately, it is more successful as a historical artifact than as an artistic statement.

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 9:05 a.m. CST


    by bingo the clown

    I think what it was was that the woman saw the children being tortured, and jumped because of her guilt.

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Agree with Subtlety

    by JackRabbitSlim

    My vocal disdain for Salo has popped up on half a dozen occasions on multiple boards - but lets not deny that Pasolini was an immensely talented filmmaker. His vision and use of camera (even in this film) are near-breathtaking at times. Seriously - even if you dont watch Salo (and you probably shouldn't) watch Gospel of St Matthew and tell me Scorsese wasnt influenced by that film.

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 10:44 a.m. CST

    That makes sense, Bingo. Thanks.

    by tonagan

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 4:28 p.m. CST

    relevance of Sade?

    by berserkrl

    Quint wrote: "I don't understand why knowing it was based on de Sade has any relevance to my opinion on the movie." No relevance to your *opinion* of it -- it just seems really weird to review it without mentioning the Sade connection (since that seems like the most interesting fact about the movie, going in). If it had been written by Thomas Jefferson or by Hegel that would be worth mentioning too.

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 7:21 p.m. CST

    oh for Christ's sakes...

    by DukeDeMondo

    For one, Salo isn't a horror film, at least not in the sense we're discussin here. For another - this is a film by Pasolini. Pasolini, that is. The man who made The Gospel According To Matthew. Who made The Decameron. This is NOT a man out for to push our buttons for the sake of it, at least not in this instance, and even in the more outrageous moments in the ol' filmography, it's never for its own sake. if you cannot see the anger in Salo, then i dunno... but i was thinkin about this today, strangely enough, about how much sense Salo would make if it was the first Pasolini film you'd encountered. none, i figured, unless you knew where he was coming from, it'd be very difficult to tell what was goin on here, what point any of it served. There is nothing inhumane about this, there is no calculated button-pushing. there is sorrow and anger. and a smatterin of black humour, for God knows we need it. See some more of the man's work, get an idea of what he was about before forming any sort of opinion on Salo, because chances are, well, you're wrong.

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 9:34 p.m. CST

    Wow Does SALO Get The Award For Most Talkback

    by Red Dawn Don

    Wow, Does SALO Get The Award For Most Talkback Comments in Quint's Movie A Day Column?

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 10:30 p.m. CST

    So this is a prequel to 2 girls 1 cup?

    by half vader

    "eat shit and ass contests"

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Oops Ricarleite...

    by half vader

    missed your post. Obviously.

  • Oct. 7, 2008, 10:45 p.m. CST

    That B&W poster/cover is hilarious

    by half vader

    in that how can people's bums look MORE gross WITHOUT a crack?! I don't really know why they censored it - are lots of bums more off-putting than one bum? Is a grownup's bum gross while a baby's bottom is cute? Oh wait, it is...

  • Oct. 8, 2008, 2:11 a.m. CST

    I'd be the last person

    by SuckLeTrou

    to defend this movie as enjoyable or even a masterpiece, but I have to completely agree with DukeDeMondo. This has got to be the most cinematically illiterate review of Salo I've ever read. This is the guy who directed Mama Roma for Chrissakes, it's not meant to be torture porn or even horror; it's based on Sade, who's writings have influenced the entirety of western culture second only to the Bible. Did we need a literal interpretation of his work to equate with the horrors of fascism? Perhaps not. But to write a review that places Pasolini in the same category as Eli Roth is just monumentally stupid. Like eating a meal of Dem Perignon and Spagettios.

  • Oct. 8, 2008, 11:13 a.m. CST


    by Nice Marmot

    I have to know. Were there prizes to be one in the ass-contest?

  • Oct. 8, 2008, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Sade more influential than Willy Shakes? Uh-uh, no way, no sirrr

    by JackRabbitSlim

    That's about as gross a statement as anything Quint said. Take it back - I double-dog dare ya.

  • Oct. 8, 2008, 7:07 p.m. CST

    What's wrong with pictures of bums pt.2

    by half vader

    Haven't they seen "Show" magazine? Holy moley!!

  • March 1, 2009, 11:49 p.m. CST

    This is sick and disturbing...

    by Henry Fool

    Yet, am I the only one who found it funny when the fascists dressed up as brides and all started marrying their victims?<br /> <br /> Can you guys please do a "film a day" spot on the masterful, 1993 Australlian film called Bad Boy Bubby? Pleeeeeeeease?!?!?!

  • March 2, 2009, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Orcus guesses that you are the only one

    by orcus

    This movie was a piece of shit, then someone ate it.