Liquid Dreams (1991)

WAIT! STOP! IT’S NOT PORN! well…not really porn…theres some VERY brief nudity and a lot of “Girating” but honestly. for a film thats so determined to ride the “Steamy erotica” train. it’s surprisingly tame. The first time I saw Liquid Dreams, It wasnt really for me. I found it a bit too into it’s “Homages” and lacking in clear substance. and while subsiquent rewatches have definitely softened my views on this (I now think it’s actually a pretty fun, maybe even good little popcorn thriller) I still kind of feel a bit like it’s a film thats missing something. I dunno; I think sex would cheapen this film. I think that making it more of a thriller would make it more boring. it just kind of…rides the line between the erotic and thriller genres to the such a restrictive extreme that it’s ultimatley neither. and as such, while it’s good at both genres. it never really achieves either.

What we have here is a bit of an anomoly. a film that’s memorable for it’s imagery. but very little else. I still think this is prime VS fodder because it’s most definitely working with that kind of cult vibe. and I feel with a little bit more love and attention it could almost be a well respected classic in the vein of “Cherry 2000” that’s why I chose to review this film. I really REALLY hope to raise it’s profile at least a little bit, and who knows!? maybe if the right people see this it’ll finally get dug out of it’s “Out of print” hell and get the re-release that it DEFINITELY deserves.

The Posters just kind of…a mess…but weirdly its the BEST poster they ever made for this film. the DVD versions obscenely awful.

Finishing the Complete Eighth Season (2020)

Given what was going on at the time this season was being created its a miracle that you’re even seeing the below playlist quite honestly. Season 8 was the first season to be full written during the Pandemic (I believe the first script was written some time in April and the last script was finally penned in October) and; though I think back on this season from the comfy room of 2021 with the sense that it was all “Too Easy” when I actually stop and think what was going on, it definitely seems to be quite the opposite.

For a starters, there was the pandemic. Which; well, it was good in some ways…through April,May and June I was pretty much stuck in a national lockdown with nothing to do BUT write and edit these scripts. That and working from home allowed a greater flexibility in my working hours allowing me to work scriptwriting and editing into my lunch breaks.

The downside to all this however was that the lockdown effected my partners health quite severely, leading to a number of trips to the hospital and, not wanting to go into too much detail, but a few very important people in our lives had to move on to new ventures (They’re not dead! we just cant really be involved with them anymore!) which really didnt help the mood.

Then from June to September I was in the middle of renovations. and Ladies and Gents. Let me be frank. I know these renovations were a long time overdue (at least 15 years overdue) I know they desperately needed doing, and now im sat here in a lush, gorgeous new space writing this out Im happy I did what I did. at the time I was in abject misery. I ached pretty much non stop from stripping wallpaper, taking light fittings out and carrying heavy flat pack furniture and hard wood exceedingly and almost comical distances. I loathed having to sofa surf during a pandemic because the room where my Bed is was being used as storage. I detested the fact the the weather was a near constant 36-40 degrees celcius and that buildings in britain are built to keep heat IN not let it OUT.

In fact; the only good memory I have of the summer of 2020 was that, at one point, the conditions of the lockdown lifted and I was able to take my car out on a quasi long distance run (like; 50-60 miles round trip) where the sun was delightful, the music was good, the roads were empty and I was living my best life for all of an hour and 30 minutes. The rest of it, was arse.

Equally; the Renovations ran drastically over. meaning what should have been an 18 episode run for this season ended up having to be cut down to a 16 episode run + 1 collaboration. which was not ideal…but luckily I’ve been able to carry over the 2 dropped episodes into Season 9.

So September rolled around, I jumped on my machine, edited together the first 6 episodes of this season and then my harddrive exploded. as in, literally shut down. couldnt get anything on or off it that was bigger than 2gb in size. it was dead. and…for a time I panicked. I panicked violently because on that drive were all 17 audio recordings, 6 edited episodes and all of my current branding material.

Mercifully, through a mixture of cloud storage solutions and periodic backups I was able to recover, relink and rexport ALL the original premiere pro files. which meant in as little as 5 days I went from losing everything to being back in the race. and…mercifully at least, from there things went very smoothly. the last 2 episodes written and recorded were “Garfields Halloween Adventure” and “Silent Night Deadly Night” which were both done in October, both recorded at my partners flat in a hurry and both edited on the hoof to try and get them out the door and into the schedules (I really hope it doesnt show)

Season 8 was an absolute Journey to complete and when a collaborative effort involving 7 people is the EASIEST part of editing for the season. you know somethings not quite gone right. It was a good one in terms of the films I got to see though, “Truck Turner” is probably one of my all time favourite Blacksplotation films, “Silent Night, Deadly Night” was a hoot of a first time watch, Reviewing AND doing a commentary for “Robot in the Family” was brain meltingly entertaining and whats more. I got to experience all of these wonderful film moments with friends. which…at a time when isolation is one of the biggest by-products of this whole blasted neusence. was incredibly life affirming.

So this is me; closing the door once and for all on Season 8. another chapter in TYTD History. Not to let the Ego run ahead of me, but I think seasons 7 and 8 have heralded some of the best work I’ve ever done. and I really hope Season 9 and 2021 keep that momentum going.

The “Spice World” (1997) Comedy Dining Experience

Right! First Comedy Dining Experience of 2021 and this is one Bens been requesting for LITERAL YEARS, at this point (Im not joking.) and you know what? he’s actually managed to get me back into the spice girls for the first time in at least 20 odd years. I was always reluctant as I thought this film would be a bit of a slog and too polished to really be covered on this channel (I was thinking it was basically just going to be all of the girls hits played one after another with maybe 10 seconds of plot inserted in between songs so that they could call it a film)

But I was wrong! Spice World is an actual proper real film with a plot and everything! and yes it’s a bit daft and yes! it’s not going to win a bafta anytime soon, but y’know what? IT WAS FUN! so much so that im now the proud owner of this films soundtrack on Vinyl. So to Ben I say; Thanks…or “CURSES!!!” or…whatever. im so steeped in postmodern irony at this point I literally dont know if disliking the spice girls is even a thing.

Equally! we were able to get an expert on this film to join us! Raymond! making his second ever appearence on the CDE having just been released from therapy to combat the effects of “Robot in the Family” At first we thought it would be a bit of fun to bring someone in to watch this who was probably the furthest away from the spice girls core demographic. but y’know what? Ray absolutely knocked this one out of the park! it turns out he actually DOES know a thing or two about the spice girls and easily…EASILY had the best gag on this commentary. we’re already talking about having him back in the near future and we highly recommend you check his channel out when your next available to!

So pop up some popcorn, get the prosecco on standby and prepare to “Spice up your life!”

Im still trying to decide which who’s who out of the above pictured. I think I may be the Dog…I dont know about Ben and Raymond though.

The Night Child (What the Peeper Saw) (1972)

There really isnt a massive amount to say about this one post release honestly. My thoughts on this one have rigidly remained in line with whats said in the review. This is a very VERY strange and uncomfortable movie to sit through. But then. thats kind of the point. is it disturbing in the same way “A Serbian film” or “Cannibal Holocaust” is? No. Its just a general feeling of unease and a constant vibe of “Should I be watching this?”

Thats the joy of the “2am movie” though. your brain and body are tired. if you’ve been drinking the alcohol has no doubt at this point in the night started to really kick in. and the air is thick, heavy and the darkness wraps around you like a thick and heady blanket. I find a lot of itallian Giallo, Zombie movies and…well stuff like this REALLY suit that specific time frame. they’re not so complex that you have to really solidly keep track of everything, theres enough gore and other good stuff to keep your monkey brain on side and theres usually a pretty killer soundtrack to help smooth everything over. You never truely LOVE a 2am movie. but when you need them they’re most definitely the only thing that’ll scratch that itch.

I usually try to post some helpful information here on updates, where you can find the film or if anythings shifted on this one’s release history front. but no…it’s still never had a UK release. it’s never been released on Bluray and a trimmed copy from Europe/the US thats out of print on DVD is about as good as it gets. And while I didnt absolutely love this one. I still think if you can find it. watch it.

The Posters a bloody mess…but then in fairness all the other posters for this movie really dont capture the vibe that this film has. this posters the closest. and it’s rubbish.

Decoder (1984)

This was one of those movies I’d litereally never heard of until it was right on top of me. I first heard about it around the time I was looking for a decent copy of “Liquid Sky” and when I finally did find it on Vinegar syndromes site this was sort of sat roughly next to it in the “Recommended” section looking all moody and totally my kind of jam…unfortunately that was at the time that I sank nearly $200 into VS sale items (With shipping it pushed it closer to $230) so I decided to leave it…but that didnt stop me picking it up at the very next sale! and im totally glad I did.

It’s a wonderfully weird film and one that i’ve never really experienced before. it’s super hard to explain, but it’s almost like a film that leads more with sound than it does vision. and the pair marry up in such a way that normal movies and TV programmes just…dont. I can only describe it as it feels like a “Whole” experience. like; if one of these elements was missing the film just would be incomprehensible.

So with the next Vinegar Syndrome sale on the horizon. I say; go and look up “Decoder” it’s probably not for everyone. but if you dig it…ohhhh boy you’ll REALLY dig it.

The Official Poster for this movie is a bit too garish for my taste (It’s basically a giant hypno toad) and given that while frogs are a quite important part of this film they arnt THE film. I instead opted to use Vinegar Syndromes newly commissioned art work…which I feel represents the film much more faithfully.

The “House” (Hausu) Comedy Dining Experience (1977)

A little bit late; but better late than never! here is the comedy dining expeirence commentary for House! the arty poppy horror movie that time forgot. Im extremely grateful that this movies picked up more of a cult following over the last few years because it deserves as many eyes on it as is physically possible!

Anyway; theres not much to say about this one! its me and my partner in crime and cohost Ben rambling while slightly tipsy over a trippy arty horror film. enjoy!

 

(LOVE THE POSTER!!!!)

Finishing the Complete Seventh Season (2020)

Season 7 was all in, arguably, one of the most entertaining and fun seasons to work on for me in a while. While Season 6 had the freshness of starting from the ground up to some extent given I’d been on a reletively short hiatus. This season to me, really felt like it had some momentum behind it. The wheels were spinning as early as late October 2019 in writing some of these episodes (My review of “The Warriors” being the first one that made it into the can) but work would continue right up until mid/late march to ensure that everything could be done in time!

For the most part, this season was pretty much decided right from the off…or at least 2/3rds of it were already pre-chosen. Originally “The Warriors” was going to open the season until I saw Cozzi’s “Hercules” about 10-11 episodes into writing for the season and I realised that that would be the PERFECT way to kick off this seasons run. the 4 part “Sleepaway Camp” summer special also came about pretty much at the last minute too, As I’d wanted to do a month on the Sleepaway camp movies pretty much since the 2nd season of theses reviews but could never quite fit them in amongst the other bits and pieces i’d got going on.

Salo: The Musical” was another one that had been in the making for a year or two before I finally decided to pull the trigger. it’s easily one of the most time consuming videos I’ve ever made in relation to it’s length. it may only be a couple of minutes or so long. but I assure you it took damn near a month of solid writing, recording, performing and motion tracking (For reference; the average 15-20 minute review on here generally takes about a week to complete from watching to final upload)

My favourite review of this season? is probably either “The Perils of Gwendolyn in the land of the Yik Yak“, “Salo” or “Return to Sleepaway Camp” all three were total labours of love (And hate) and im So happy with how they turned out as an end result.

All in all, this was just a damn fun season to work on, and while the steam that made up the creative process may have just started to dry burn towards the very end (Try and show me a way to be enthusiastic about having to spend a week with “Return to Sleepaway Camp”) overall; this was a total blast! I met some super interesting people over the last few months including the team over at Mutantfam.com who’ve recently agreed to host my work in an affiliated capacity. The Guys over at “Survivors Guilt“,”Video Creep“, “The Channel 83 Podcast” (Who were a top bunch of lads and had me on there show!) “The Best Little Horror House in Philly” and GG over at the “Midnight Movie Monster” Blog! Not only have they helped keep this Schlock jock sane during the absolute “Deep Hurting” that these films can bring in, but they’ve even contributed to helping make my content better and are all great people you should definitely go and check out at the next convenience!

At the time of writing my office/entertainment room is under renovation. everything is in boxes packed away and it wont be until August before we’re ready to reopen the archive and get back on track with the edit schedule. However! that’s not to say that this season is necissarily “Completely”

EDIT!: ITS THE FUTURE! and im just popping back in to remove the “Coming soon!” mystery bumper that I ran at the end of this article during the summer to say…well; you guys. I did a sneaky and popped just one more review into the mix to round us up to a healthy 18. and it’s a doozy! a collab with another youtuber and a great way to see out the end of the summer! 1981’s “The Burning” revisited, rewritten, reviewed and re-packaged! So! if you saw this article before and thought it was only 17 times cooler than the average seaon…well; now it’s 18 times cooler than that!!!

Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

So you might think this was something put together “Spur of the moment” or made as a filler episode…quite the opposite. I spent nearly a year and a half planning the perfect way to tackle “Salo” and I feel that my musical rendition was the best possible response I could have made. Given that Passolini’s entire filmography was dedicated to challenging authoritarianism and facism in all it’s thoughts and flavours, it seems actually quite offensive to constructively deconstruct Salo in my usual “Media” led style. so I decided here to tackle absurdism with absurdism. I’ve no regrets. as I mention in my youtube description for this review; “I’ve been doing this now for nearly 3 years…Let me have just one week where I have a bit of ‘Off the beat and path’ fun.” Normal service resumes next week. But if your ABSOLUTELY desperate for my full thoughts/feelings and a deconstruction of this film, well…here’s my thoughts structured a bit more thoughtfully…

1975’s “Salo (The 120 Days of Sodom)” is a truly Nihilistic picture. The kind of film that only really comes around once in a generation of filmmaking. This film revels in its own filth and perversion and gleefully explores violence, mutilation and the class structure in such a way that feels surprisingly fresh for a film that was made in the mid 1970’s about events taking place in the mid 1940’s. A lot has been written and spoken about regarding this picture. Some dismiss it as simply exploitation cinema dressed up as a pretentious art film. Others; choose to see more meaning in it’s themes and within the morality of it’s main characters. I could regurgitate other peoples opinions on the subject of this film ad-verbatim. But Im     sure you’ve all seen at least a couple of reviews about this movie in the past, So im just going to do it my way.

The film is set in late 1944/ early 1945 in fascist occupied northern Italy. It’s nearing the end of world war two and most of this film is focussed on a small village that is on the verge of being captured by the allies. This is bad news for the fascists who are highly likely to be executed for the crimes they have committed during the war. As such they decide not to go quietly into the abyss. But rather 4 of the wars larger offenders (Here known as: “The Duke”, “The Bishop”, “The Magistrate” and “The President”) decide to hold one last impulse fuelled bingefest before there inevitable demise. They all agree to marry each others daughters in order to protect their assets going forwards and then; using a mixture of soldiers and hired militia, they head into a nearby village and kidnap as many teenage boys and girls as they can find (Quite often murdering their families in the process) these teenagers are then assessed and based on their appearance and “Assets” 9 teenage boys and 9 teenage girls are chosen. These teens are then transferred to well out into the countryside (One of the teenage boys is shot to death trying to escape while being transported) to a stately manor alongside a few Madam’s from local brothels and a skeleton serving staff.

It’s here where the bulk of the films events will take place. The rules are simple: anything is permitted to the “Big 4” they can do what they want, say what they want and literally get away with murder if they want. No one is coming to save the teens and they make it clear that it’s at the big 4’s discretion as to whether they live or die. They list Incest, Adultery and Sodomy as just a handful of the things that they would be interested in getting away with. If the teens refuse to co-operate, are found to be enjoying themselves or having sex with other teens, or if they mention religion in any way shape or form. they’ll be put on a punishment list (To be dished out on the final day of the events) Killed, or raped and tortured to death. A basic schedule is put together with the day starting at 6am with the Madams telling the filthiest and most perverse stories they can to help turn the “Big 4” on and enflame their imagination to help get the sex and violence going. Then Lunch is served at 12pm at which point everything post 12pm is basically orgies, dirty parlour games and violence until bed time…and even then it doesn’t necessarily stop.

Basically; what we’re watching here is an hour and 56 minutes of 18 teenagers slowly getting murdered and fucked to death split into 3 acts (Known as circles)that encapsulates either 120 days or 3(Ish) days (Depending on how you look at this movie; I personally don’t think 18 already breadline level teenagers could survive the conditions laid out in this movies T’s & C’s for 120 days solid…and a 3 day non stop orgy bender sounds way cooler than 120 days of tepid torture. Happy to be wrong though on that one. What separates this movie from the other exploitation films that have similar themes however. Is, in setting up this act structure we’re granted deeper access to our characters, their motivations, what drives them and fascism in general. Salo is designed to make you uncomfortable because it challenges a fundamental societal rule which is the idea that you just cant do what you want. We’re raised to accept that there are consequences for our actions and that via social constructs there is somehow a moralistic requirement to protect the innocent and not cause distress. We’re taught that this is a respectable trait. In my opinion; Salo sets out to ask the question “Why?” and it does so by using Fascism as a “Launchpad to debauchery.”

The Films Writer and Director Pier Paolo Pasolini was a staunch anti-fascist and was quite active in challenging fascism, destroying it where possible and it’s heavily rumoured to this day that his murder in 1975 was at the hands of multiple fascist groups. Indeed the basic idea of fascism is that there are a select few who are effectively in total control of the majority of the public. They attempt total control as a means to guide and shape society into the image they want, often at the omission of facts or evidence. They don’t deal well with opposition because why live with opposition when it’s easier to just remove them from the frame all together? With Salo; Pasolini shows the descent into self-indulgent madness that comes from giving already highly entitled right wing authoritarians the unlimited freedom and control to do whatever they want within an environment that is entirely malleable and controllable to their own twisted and ruthless requirements. And it’s barbaric.

He’s basically created a Terarium-esq experiment In which the 17 teenagers represent the proletariat and these 4 men are the leaders of their own controllable world based within the walls of the mansion house. With a hired militia in place to help keep the peace and ensure their visions and wants are fulfilled, they strong arm their way through the 3 days we see with a sense of arrogance, entitlement and unfiltered nastiness. You witness the cruelness of man’s inhumanity to man through the eyes of right wing fascism. Each act within Salo reveals a deeper level of depravity and relentlessness that; at times, is genuinely harrowing to watch.

Act 1: The Circle of Mania’s shows the fascists testing their new found freedom. Teenagers are beaten and kicked, molested and raped within hours of the day’s commencement. The teens are shown to be replaceable and they’re also shown that the Big 4 will not hesitate to kill them if they don’t comply. This breaks the teen’s spirits and makes them compliant to the plans that are unfolding, Because; If the only way to get out is to comply, well…they’re going to have to comply. Punishments are dished out on the whims of the big 4 throughout the day. An example being when one of the young teenage boys is added to the punishment list because he pulled away when one of the fascists forced him to give a blowjob, but he pulled away just before the fascist “came”. Thus ruining the orgasm. Its horrific. But in this world, the rights to what are punishable acts and what aren’t fall entirely to the fascists.

If the teens don’t comply then of course there must be a punishment. And they will all be judged equally. It also becomes quite apparent in these opening hours that the teens have no idea how to do half of the things that are expected of them by the big 4, so the brothel owner offers to teach the girls at least, how to correctly “Play” with a penis and how to have sex. There’s a lot of talk at this point about vaginal, penile and anal virginity (Here referred to as deflowering) and there’s a tremendous emphasis from the big 4 that deflowering is a “delicacy” and furthermore that the whole point these youths were selected was because they are “Pure” and their defilement is a commodity that these fascists relish. They quite literally get off on the idea that they are going to defile and corrupt the innocence of youth. And this is a strong theme which runs throughout the film right up until the end credits. Quite frequently there are scenes in which one of the big 4 will just run out into a hallway and gratuitously grope 4 or 5 teenage boys and girls in one go. It all adds to the gluttonous themes of binging that are present throughout and the themes of hopelessness and nihilism that hang over this film in an almost smothering fashion.

All of this before I even get into the legalities around that time. this film was set in the 1940’s when Homosexuality in Italy was punishable by death, marriage was the highest level of sanctimony and the long and short of it was that you were a corrupt individual unless you followed the basic nuclear family model of heterosexuality. In the 1970’s homosexuality (And particularly Anal Sex) was highly illegal in Italy and was punishable with imprisonment. It was treated very similarly to Paedophilia and it wasn’t until the 1990’s that the laws would relax on the issue. To this day Italy still has a quite severe problems with Homophobia and Transphobia and the reason lies highly within it’s successive string of right wing governments and silencing and stigmatizing of Gay, trans and minority groups. This film was released in 1975 and was seen as absolutely irreprehensible. Sodomy is highly prominent throughout the film. moreso the image of men enjoying both sodomy and sodomising. The fact that these are people in powerful positions taking advantage of youth caused uproar. Probably one of the films most controversial sequences involves 2 of the teenagers being forced into marriage, they’re deflowered by a brothel madam and a militia soldier respectively and upon the marriage being completed they’re asked to “Consummate” the arrangement. The teens begin to arouse each other at which point the big 4 swoop in  and seize the “Consummation” for there own satisfaction. Tarnishing what I suppose is supposed to be a sweet moment of love and denying both teens there “Consummation”. It devalues their marriage and the facists “Get off” at the idea of cuckoldry and Bigamy that has just occurred.

The First act concludes with the teens literally reduced to that of wild and hungry dogs. Stripped naked and forced on leashes into a main hall to eat slices of meat and chunks of bread from the floor, the fascists end the first act by stripping the teens of their humanity. Reducing them to nothing more than animals and commodities there to be exploited, used and disposed of. While desperation will bring back some elements of the teen’s more human qualities. By the close of the circle of manias; They’re broken, compliant and almost entirely defeated.

Act 2 opens the circle of shit, and from here the film descends quite rapidly into abuse and degradation. It transpires that the teenage girls were fed meat during the dog sessions that were specifically tainted. They were instructed to not use the toilets until the next day and then to relieve themselves into a communal sized basin. This shit is then served for lunch during day 2. The “Shit eating banquet” is arguably one of the most memorable scenes in Salo and could be inferred to be a comment on humanity as a race being predisposed to accept lies (In this case represented by the shit) that promise the answers they want to hear over the truth which may not be what they want despite its accuracy. Throughout the scene the fascists repeatedly refuse to acknowledge that they’re eating shit instead referring to it as a “Delicacy” and a “rare item”. Not only this, but they expect the teens to respond in an equal manner. Equally they go to extended lengths to degrade and humiliate the women in particular during this banquet, repeatedly referring to how such beautiful vessels could produce such foul offerings. In essence this is the fascists attempting to further demoralise and undermine the girls. Making them feel dirty, less pure or otherwise trying to break their sense of worth, (Which by extension the fascists would then be able to use to force the girls into further and further destructive and perverse situations.)

Throughout the 2nd circle the girls are repeatedly beaten, abused or forced into embarrassing situations. Golden showers feature as a centre piece of one of the fascists indulgencies and as much as you could infer this to be a submissive request from the fascists as it is the fascists that are being urinated on. Anything that is done to them as a submissive act has been forced by the fascists initially. In many ways making these acts significantly more dominating. When one of the teens sodomises one of the fascists, It could initially be seen as a submissive act on behalf of the fascists until you realise that they’re the ones in control. They’ve requested to be penetrated and they’ll kill the teens if they don’t cooperate. With this in mind, it quickly becomes apparent that the fascists main indulgences are predominantly driven not by base carnal urges but rather through the control and management of the teens they’re abusing specifically. They get a sick kick out of knowing that they have ultimate control over individuals to the point that they can put themselves in a submissive situation and STILL be the dominant force. It’s really quite an extraordinary situation.

Act 3 is the Circle of Blood and acts as this films closing. Another faux wedding is staged as the fascists (In full female wedding regalia) take husbands. This leads to an evening of sodomy in which a tipping point presents itself. One of the teens offers to rat out one of his fellow captives in exchange for leniency or freedom. Intrigued one of the fascists follows the trail and ultimately unveils half a dozen of the teens are breaking rules ranging from practicing Catholicism, to lesbianism, to interracial relationships. This sets up the closing moments of the film. Almost all of the teens are now on the punishment list for misdemeanours of one kind or another. They have all been violated, deflowered and spiritually broken, and as punishment for their crimes they are placed in and around the communal Shit bucket to wallow in their own filth. They’re no longer human. They’re shells of their humanity. With a final cry of anguish from one of the teens the final punishment begins. Each of the fascists has been semi-responsible for a handful of the teenagers since their arrival at the mansion and now those same groups are sent to the garden. Here the teens are mutilated. Branded, burnt, castrated, gang raped, hung, sodomised and brutalised until death. Used and discarded by both Fascists and Militia alike. Their fun is done they revel in the ultimate pleasure of the death not only of the teens but of their secret shame. Knowing that outside of themselves and a handful of the militia that no one will truly know what happened here. They are soon to die too. But ultimately they’ve won in terms of their own pleasures. No one survives Salo ultimately. But that’s no comfort to an audience who has had to sit through it.

What is interesting and definitely worth noting is that this film does dabble quite frequently in absurdism. Actors performances are quite often over the top, melodramatic or highly animated. The brothel owners regularly dance, move their hands in strange ways and in one instance fall back on old cabaret routines to please the fascists. The Big 4 themselves often drift into over the top and almost comedic performances (of particular note is “The President” who decides during one of the lunch sequences while one of the serving girls is being raped, to run around the lunch hall showing his backside and demanding one of the soldiers sodomises him as soon as possible) that’s not to say that these are comedic characters mind. The fascists are distinctly malicious and evil characters. Rather that they delight in their own malice to the point that they feel free to exercise their ultimate power in whatever way they feel. It creates a deeply unsettling quality throughout the film as you can never quite tell if the next strange and odd moment that manifests itself is going to end either in a round of laughter or an atrocity. In fact the only characters that aren’t allowed the indulgence of absurdism are the teens themselves. Though I believe Pasolini did this to further emphasise the gulf in power and control that is created within the mansion. The teens have no power, no control. And the film wants to make it clear that they cannot afford to be jovial or silly. The fascists hold all the cards and as such can afford such luxuries. And this gulf helps to impress further the idea of suffering that these teens are under to the audience.

Even within the cine Pasolini creates a hostile and cold environment. Wide shots and ultra-wide shots are here in abundance. To help create a sense of disconnect, helplessness and isolation for the audience. The idea being that because we as the audience are so far away from the teens visually we feel like we cannot help them, nor can anyone within the film. It’s now a classic technique to help set a sense of hopelessness but for the time it was quite revolutionary. The only times close-ups are used really are in moments of revulsion (Such as the shit eating banquet) or for moments of significance (Such as the torturing scenes or the sequence in which the teens are selected). The madam’s brothel stories tend to also be shot using a mixture of mids and wides. Though this is predominantly due to these sequences foreshadowing events that will be done to the teens later in the film. So I suppose that’s to create a mixture of cold distance while also visually telling the audience that these stories will be important and to pay attention.

Another point to clarify is that the soundtrack is almost entirely diegetic. Barring the films introductory credits, any and all music is played either via stereograms, radio or the mansions pianist (Which usually underpins the madams stories) in general though, there is very little music in this film. Instead it prefers to utilise the cold silence of the countryside estate. There’s no cars, no public walking by, the atrocities committed in this film are usually done in room tone only silence. And as such it’s so much more impactful. Especially with the wide shot visuals. If shooting wide makes this film cold, then shooting it with no soundtrack is positively freezer like. It’s so powerful in creating an uncomfortable atmosphere that it’s almost overwhelming at times.

The only sound that is quite present and I will say is used VERY effectively is that sometimes if you listen very closely you can hear the low drone of airplane engines in the background of some shots. This is a nice psychological tactic on the behalf of the director as it works two fold. It reminds the audience that this is set during wartime and more crucially at the end of the war, and it also indirectly gives the audience a sense of subliminal hope. As we are aware that fascism was defeated in the second world war and those engines remind the audience that that’s imminent. However it’s a double bluff on the part of the director as he’s aware that no one is going to survive this movie. it leads the audience to feel like there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Which makes the torture finale all the more crushing in terms of its reveal.

Salos release history is incredibly patchy to say the least. It was premiered in 1975 and almost immediately banned in most European countries thereafter. In the UK the film was refused a certificate in 1976 and would only be permitted to be screened upon special written request. Famously an art house film club in Soho screened the film and was raided by the London metropolitan police. The film remained banned in the UK until 2000 when it was finally given a certificate to be released uncut. More recently in 2011 the BFI released Salo in a highly comprehensive 3 disc Bluray set which shows the film in it’s best possible quality with a detailed set of extra features (This set was repackaged into a 2 disc set released in September 2019). In the US it was released with no problems and premiered in 1977 to little or no fanfare. It then dropped off the radar almost completely until it’s home video release 2000’s.

Salo to me is a masterpiece, a film that dances the line between abject disgust and nihilism and a sense of border absurdity. Its not something you watch regularly, it requires a very specific mind-set. But it’s carefully crafted nature should not be underestimated. This has been carefully orchestrated to cause the maximum amount of offense to the exact people Pasolini would have wanted to offend. In that sense it’s an absolute success. This definitely isn’t a film for everyone. But if you can get over the grimmer elements on display in this film. you will be rewarded 10 fold for your perseverance. An astounding art film and a terrifically underrated counter culture movie.

(All the posters and art would have got me thrown off youtube…this was the best I had. It’s alright…but still doesnt really capture the true “Vibe” of Salo.)

The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak (1984)

This (So Far) has been the most stressfull episode I’ve released of this season. The reason being that a company called “Europacorp” have a master copy of this movie logged with youtube on a “Block worldwide” copyright notice. As such. the moment I uploaded this episode, it blocked worldwide. I disputed it; and they forgot to respond to the dispute…that’s literally the only reason you’re able to watch this “Uncut” on youtube. Seriously; up until Tuesday of this week (the 24th of March 2020) I was so certain this episode was going to be shot down that I re-edited it in the same way that I did with my review of “Emmanuelle“.

Another reason I was so on edge about this review being blocked is that personally; and not to blow my own horn here too much…Im really proud with how the edit turned out for this one. sometimes I dont quite manage to put across the exact way I feel about a film through the editing…but with this one. I personally think I nailed it. so I really hope you enjoy this weeks review. it’s a weird one!

(All the posters for this movie kind of suck a bit (They’re not awful…they’re just not great)…but the Severin films slip art for this movie is absolutely gorgeous!)

The “Pink Flamingos” Comedy Dining Experience (1972)

So in a bit of a first (And what with it being Valentines day) me and the missus decided to sit down and watch the first movie we ever went on a date together to see (She had never seen it before…and yes 8 and half years later she’s still with me!)

We had a great time and hopefully she’ll  be joining us in a few more commentaries in future! So sit down on the couch (Unless it rejects you), Shit in a box and prepare to “Pa-pa OOH mow mow!” yourself into a coma as we work our way through a film on the filthiest people alive!

 

(Finding a Hi-res image of “Pink Flamingos” era devine is bloody hard man!)