I've seen plenty of movies I positively detested, movies so god-awful and atrociously made that it gives me hope as a filmmaker, considering I could do a better job in my fucking sleep. But it is very, very, VERY rare that I find a movie that I actually regretted watching. Even with the worst of the worst movies I've subjected myself to, I never regretted watching them because they gave me insight into how awful movies could be, and honestly sometimes it's fun to complain about them. And then there's Salo.
Now, to be fair, Salo is objectively probably the BEST movie on my least favorites list. It's shot beautifully, the acting is fine, and the writing and direction are both coherent. Having said that, not one single day goes by that I don't regret popping it into my DVD player. This is undoubtedly the single most disturbing film I've ever sat through (so far). Images from this movie continuously burst into my head and I feel like a disgusting pervert for dignifying this film with my attention. For those unaware, the film is nothing but scenes of rape, molestation, feces and torture (and I mean horrifically violent acts). Oh, and a woman telling stories about how she was fed laxatives and shat into men's mouths as a teenager. Throughout the film, fascist hedonists subject teenagers to the most ungodly tortures you could ever comprehend...just because. The message Pasolini was trying to get across, it seems, is that degradation of the human body is wrong, and that if we do it through pornography, what's stopping us from doing this? That is, without a doubt, the flimsiest and most asinine reason for showing such horrifying imagery. If one wanted to make a movie saying pornography is wrong, make one stating that point. Don't show me scenes that will disturb me for years to come.
I am not a prude. I am not one of those people who thinks anything edgy or controversial or violent is wrong or should be banned. Stanley Kubrick's filmography, for instance, is a shining example of controversy with just the right amount of disturbing events and imagery. As disturbing as A Clockwork Orange was, it had PLENTY of other things going for it. Aside from snuff films and anything involving other illegal activity, I don't think any film should be censored or banned. I respect Pasolini's choice to have made this movie. But that doesn't mean I have to give it consistent praise because it was "different".
Yes, I realize I brought this upon myself by watching it, so it is my own fault. That's an error I'll have to live with my entire life, I'm afraid, so I would advise you innocent readers to never see this movie. Trust me, there are plenty of other well-made films out there that deserve your time and attention. This is nothing but shock value bullshit.