Monday, November 9, 2009

Salo or The 120 Days of Sodom: Butt Sex and a Giant Buffet of Poop. Hooray.

When I first saw Cannibal Holocaust, all the online forums often had this poll question; "What is more disturbing- Cannibal Holocaust or Salo?" And I always wondered...what is this Salo business eh? Personally I'd be fine if I had never heard of Salo and hey I might even feel less like gouging my eyes out but the movie does unfortunately have a point- and that above all else is something worth enduring. Unless of course you have a bad gag reflex when watching people eat poop- then I'd suggest skipping it.

Salo is based on a work by the Maquis de Sade whom I know best from Waxwork. 4 douche bags in a facist Italy kidnap 8 boys and girls with the help of some burly young men. Their plan is to bring the victims to a palace where 4 prostitutes take turn telling tales of their past encounters. These stories form the basis for the men's torture of the kidnapped victims and also can just do whatever the hell they want at any given time- but what they usually want to do is just have butt sex.

Forgive me for using immature phrases like butt sex and poop but I find that I have to talk about it in those terms or else I'll jump out the window. If you don't like staring at uncircumcised penis's or any other naked body part, probably skip this as well as the kidnapped victims are naked 97% of the time. The brutality is quite evident the moment we understand just what the victims have been brought to the palace for. In the midst of someone giving a speech or even just dinner chat a male douche head will grab a young boy at random and start having butt sex without missing a beat. The prostitutes stories however may be one of the most disturbing things out of the whole movie. These stories recount tales of first having sexual encounters with men when they were 7, being asked to pee on people sick shit like that. And these women dress up like these grotesque Hollywood starlets and it's really just.....blagh.

Then the most horrible and utterly vomit inducing scene is of course the poop eating. This brings me back to my unfortunate experience of being forced to watch "Two Girls One Cup" in which I could not get those images unburned from my brain for probably a year. Seeing poop on film is something I will probably never get used to. And frankly I don't know who can. Then to add insult to injury this movie literally cooks up the poop and serves it in a giant buffet style meal. You've honestly never experienced horror until you see a giant tray of steaming poo.

Ok enough about poop. Discovering and deciphering what this movie's point is- is almost worth watching this movie. It focuses on the absolute brutality of people against people. Once again a common theme in horror movies ala zombie films is the fear we have of each other and the horrible and violent tendencies that only humans can evoke on one another. The 4 men in this movie stand for money and power. By having this money and power they are able to get literally everything they could ever want and hope for. They have these sick and terrible fantasies that can get acted out for them within seconds. The level of the humiliation and the violence- especially in the last 10 minutes or so is so brutal and unbelievable it seems almost impossible that it's not real.

There are plenty of interesting things about this movie- for instance, how the 4 men take turns viewing the final torture and killings through binoculars- the constant distancing paired with the switching of who actually gets to do the killing is astounding. What can be said about men who get off both doing the killing and acting as voyeurs? Then there's also the very last scene. The desensitized youth- two boy guards who have just seen all the terrible events take place and what are they doing while the teens are being slaughtered? Enjoying a lovely and slow waltz- while chit chatting about their personal lives. It's such an interesting commentary on Nazi youth and just any other kind of situation in which the participants are kind of just there and not really taking in what they are doing. What kind of soul can shut down like that so easily that you are immune to the fact that everyone around you is literally eating shit?

This film raises so many provocative questions while at the same time being one of the most disgusting films I have ever seen. You definitely need a very very strong heart to watch this and not want to curl up in a ball and die after. It's no surprise that it's banned in practically every country in the world. In terms of being more or less disturbing than Cannibal Holocaust however.....I'm not sure. Cannibal Holocaust felt so much more real and brutal to me- whereas with Salo I felt removed and just repulsed. They both however have a lot to say on the brutality of human beings and what we are truly capable of doing to one another. Cannibal Holocaust also is responsible for killing a turtle though so....yeah tough call.




I'm passing on the trailer because if I see poop one more time I might die.

13 comments:

Chuck Conry said...

Poop eating is one reason I've avoided watching stuff like Pink Flamingos lol

I got a weak stomach, I mean even stuff like the turtle scene from Cannibal Holocaust and the pudding scene in Dead-Alive about made me puke..

That being said I think I may track this down and watch it. But I know it's going to be one of those that make me feel bad for watching it after seeing it.

Andre said...

Haha yes you may feel bad about holding this DVD in your hands. However sometimes you just have to see it just to say you have. Plus it really does spawn some highly interesting discussion topics.

braankraayon said...

I first heard of this film over about a year ago and decided upon hearing the synopsis that I had no interest in seeing it. I also gag during the end of Pink Flamingos so I know it wouldn't have been a good time. i can watch gore and brutality films with the best of them but there is something about eating feces and sexual mistreatment of minors that makes me stay away from some movies. If I did watch it, I would only watch it once, as I did with Happiness and Cannibal Holocaust.

Andre said...

Yes watching it only once is the key. In fact if you ever have the desire to watch it again after the first viewing I'd say you missed the entire point of the film! Regardless, eating feces is DEFINITELY not something you should ever want to watch. bleck.

Jay Amabile said...

Andre, I give you credit, I don't think I have the stomach to watch this kind of thing! lol

Andre said...

It was very rough Jay, and very unpleasant. But I sort of feel stronger, perhaps Salo is like a can of spinach after all...a can of spinach that makes you vomit all the time.

Nicole_Hadaway said...

Ew, this movie does sound gross. Even grosser that things like this really do take place in the real wold. I'm with Braankraayon -- sexual mistreatment of minors is something I cannot watch at all.

Matt said...

Kudos to you for watching Salo. I've known about it for years but have always felt this strange guilt about attempting to watch it - like buying it would make me dirty by association.

I have an extremely strong stomach for just about anything (so long as I know it's fiction) but I've put off viewing this one. I should bite the bullet. It's kind of like how "The Girl Next Door" has been sitting next to my TV for 2 months and I haven't made the time to see it yet.

Anyway, good review and you have my vote for Ms. Horror Blogosphere.

Andre said...

Thanks Matt!

And do you mean to say that I'm dirty by association?!! Probably true. It's definitely a challenge to get through but in all honesty I thought it was going to be a bit worse.

Kyle said...

I made the mistake of seeing Cannibal Holocaust and Salo back to back (yesterday). What the hell was I thinking? I can honestly say that although CH made me depressed and it had a point, Salo was hands down the most depressing, visceral thing I'd ever seen. Salo is a metaphorical Schindler's List that walks some sort of tightrope between pure garbage and pure masterpiece.

Andre said...

WHOA Kyle that is some serious shit- I am shocked you lived to tell the tale. You are absolutely right though about Salo- it does walk a very thin line! Thanks for the comments- and major major props to you for watching both in one day yikes.

Ray said...

Wow! Great review. We both concluded the same when it came to Cannibal Holocaust. This film is geniune in its endeavors. Good job Andre!

Anonymous said...

Is Salo-120 days in sodom based on real people and real events? Horrible things like this do take place in the real world. This movie is horrific beyond imagining. Eating shit and being mutilated. What kind of a sick mind makes something like this? This is another example of the Devil and evil ruling the world.