When a middle-aged widower named Aoyama attempts to find love again, his movie producer friend sets up a fake casting audition to find him his next great love. Unbeknownst to them, he falls immediately for a deranged killer named Asami. After going on a few dates, Asami drugs and tortures Aoyama in one of the most uncomfortable and cringe-worthy scenes to ever be put on film.
After brutally poking and prodding him with elongated needles for what feels like an eternity, she then proceeds to stick a few right into his eyes. Then, as a sickening smirk begins to creep across her face, she cuts off his feet with a wire saw. It’s this scene alone that has made Audition a cult favorite for fans of horror/torture flicks everywhere. But we don’t suggest checking out this movie if watching dismemberments and eye torture doesn’t bring sadistic glee to your life.
t You’ve got to give it to director Ruggero Deodato—he’s not a dishonest filmmaker. Just look at what he titled this one: Cannibal Holocaust. That right there implies all kinds of revolting imagery and depraved thoughts, which Deodato’s infamous exploitation flick delivers in bulk. It’s not like he called it Fun in the Jungle.
The only people having a good time in Cannibal Holocaust are the indigenous tribe members who tear through the fictional documentary crew at the movie’s center. Posited as a found-footage exercise, Deodato’s controversial picture supposedly shows footage from a missing team’s last days within an Amazonian jungle. What starts out as an all-access project meant to cover the cannibalistic tribe’s everyday practices quickly descends into the systematic killing of the documentarians.
Though, they had it coming: The men of the group rape one of the young female tribe members, which deletes her purity and causes her elders to impale her on a totem pole. As revenge, the Yanomamo natives chow down on one guy like his innards are a buffet and rape the crew’s sole lady before lopping off her head. Vegetarian Delight it’s not.
Some unbearably scathing flicks, including several on this here countdown, parcel their shocks throughout the course of their running time; Salò, however, never steps out for air. From top to bottom, notorious Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s relentless “statement” film subjects the viewer to uncompromising cruelty, nastiness, and escalating grotesqueries. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Salò’s only moments of calm are its opening and closing credits, though the latter’s more apt to serve as the background noise for one’s inability to pick his or her jaw off the floor.
Based on the Marquis de Sade’s 1785 book The 120 Days Of Sodom, Salò’s plot is skeletal: Four powerful Italian men kidnap nine teenage boys and nine teenager girls, trap them in a huge mansion, and wreak unholy havoc on them for four months. Salò depicts every disgusting act perpetrated by the elders, including, in no particular order: heads are scalped, tongues are cut off, eyeballs are snipped out, one girl is forced to eat feces, and several poor bastards are raped in front of large crowds.
Pasolini, intending to make vicious points about fascism, shows everything, avoiding tricky edits in favor of steady-cam, front-and-center shots of each and every sick visual. One watch is all it takes for Salò to burn itself into your memory for years hence. Just writing about it makes us want to take a shower.