Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Retrospect on “Salo, 120 Days of Sodom”
By: Brian Cotnoir
I’ve been dreading this Retrospective review for some time. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve seen “Salo, the 120 Days of Sodom”, and just the mere thought of it makes me cringe and cower in fear. “Salo” is an Italian film from 1975 that is set in Fascist Italy during World War II and tells the story of a group of Italian Fascist leaders that organize the kidnapping of 9 virgin girls and 9 virgin boys, and bring them to a compound where they all subjugated and forced to fulfil the sexual fantasies of the men, all while being brutally tortured as well. It is—in a sense—the most literal definition of the term “Torture Porn” (because most of the plot revolves around the films antagonist brutally torturing and sexually abusing the rest of the cast).
My 1st Impression of the Film:
I first heard of “Salo, the 120 Days of Sodom” from an article I saw on Buzzfeed. It was ranked #1 on the List entitled 25 Movies that will Destroy your Faith in Humanity; seeing as I had already 16 of the films on the list I decided that it would be a great idea to try and complete this list, so I found a copy of “Salo” on-line and preceded to watch it in its entirety. What I saw was vile, disgusting, horrifying, and totally unnatural. I threw up in my mouth three times while watching this film. When I was over I felt very sad and very empty; any childlike innocence or sense of wonder that I still had was now gone. I stopped believing in God for four and a half months—because if there was actually a God then he would have never let anything that HORRIBLE ever be made—and I went through my daily life in a fog-induced stupor. I saw no beauty in the world only nasty, disgusting, unnatural acts, and to think about the film made me want to cry. I eventually recovered from this trauma of “Salo, the 120 Days of Sodom”, and my life—for the most part—returned to normal.
My Impression of the film after seeing it a second time:
...I’m not sitting through this film a second time. I’m not. No. Not only no, but Heeeeeelllllllllllll No! In fact here’s a list of awful things I would rather do then sit through this film again:
- Walk on Broken Glass
- · Have my Wisdom teeth removed
- · Burn off one of my nipples with a belt sander
- · Watch a baby seal pup get clubbed to death
- · Get punched in by a UFC Fighter
- · Watch every Uwe Bolle film in a single day
Nothing, and I MEAN NOTHING will ever convince me or make me want to sit through “Salo, the 120 Days of Sodom” again. Now, I’m sure some of you reading this are thinking to yourselves: “don’t-you-think-you’re-being-a-bit-over-dramatic,-guy?”. No, I don’t think I’m being over dramatic. I think my biggest qualm with this film is that...I’m not entirely sure that it’s not a Snuff Film. Over the course of this film you see a lot of shocking and unbelievable things happen to people, and I can’t see any actor or actress who would be willing to let someone do that to them, let alone any actor that would be willing to do that to another person (even if it is just “pretend”). Also when you consider the fact that the Director of “Salo”, Pier Paolo Pasolini, was murdered by being run over with his own car several times shortly after the completion of “Salo”... seriously, how much do you have to piss off a person for them to run repeatedly run over you with a car?
What I’d do to make the film better:
Round up all copies of this film and then toss them in a volcano
My Final Impression of the Film:
It. Is. Awful. It’s an awful film made by an awful man, about awful people doing awful things to other people. Under no circumstances should you ever attempt to watch or even locate a copy of “Salo, the 120 Days of Sodom”. It destroyed me, mentally, and it will do the same to you as well! Consider yourself warned!