Caligula (1980) (USA) Unrated
Directed by: Tinto Brass
Malcolm McDowell …. Caligula
Teresa Ann Savoy …. Drusilla
Helen Mirren …. Caesonia
Peter O’Toole …. Tiberius
“…nothing succeeds like excess…”â€‘â€‘Oscar Wilde
Okay, this is not porn per-se.Â But, there is so much sex in it and because it is one of my favourite all time films (next to A Clockwork Orange), I felt I had to review this for all of you who like me, are debauched perverts.
“Caligula” (1980), is one of the first “mainstream” feature films to display graphic sexual scenes and violence together on film.Â It is the epic story that chronicles the immoral sexcapades of Ancient Rome’s demented Emperor, Caligula. One of the most controversial films ever made, this film dared to reveal the perversions of imperial Rome and the sordid details of the infamous Caesar’s bizarre reign at the peak of his depravity. A vicious megalomania with a passion for sadism, Caligula was an Emperor whom was both loathed and feared.
Produced by the owner of Penthouse Magazine, Bob Guccione, this 15 million film dollar was said to be modeled after Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film “Salo: the 120 Days of Sodom” (1977). This “porno with plot” is a gluttonous orgy of bizarre sex, horrific torture and prolific violence, all explicitly detailed.
The film begins with a quote from Mark: “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul,” then fades to a young Caligula, played by Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) frolicking around in a field with a girl, about to commit his first sin.Â All seems innocent enough until we discover that the girl is in fact Caligula’s sister Drusilla played by Teresa Ann Savoy.Â Caligula becomes obsessed with his incestuous love affair with Drusilla, claiming he can love no other but her, and we begin to see how his mind becomes increasing twisted and depraved.
At first, Caligula, the son of the military hero Germanics, is adored by the people of Rome who believe him to be like his father. Fuelled by their adoration, Caligula soon becomes consumed with power and his true nature is revealed. He visits his uncle, the Emperor Tiberius, played by Peter O’Toole, on the isle of Capri, and there witnesses many sadistic and depraved acts, such as Tiberius in his pool with his “little fishies” (young boys) who drive beneath the water to suck him off.Â Although we don’t actually see the act of fellatio, the suggestion is clear enough.Â Tiberius becomes a role model for young Caligula, and in another scene forces a man to drink wine through a funnel while his urinary track is bound, then severs his penis to feed to his dogs.Â Caligula is a quick study and soon surpasses his dear uncle in wickedness by murderous betrayal, first by poison, then by smothering the Emperor with a pillow as he lies dying-much too slowly-in his imperial bed.Â This is the first in many homicide assassinations that Caligula commits to advance his status to Emperor of Rome, and guarantee his absolute power over the senate.
Once in power, Caligula makes his sister Drusilla live with him as his wife, following the practice of the Egyptian pharaohs, then marries Rome’s most infamous prostitute, the sensual and immoral Caesonia (Helen Mirren) who is as depraved as he.Â One scene shows her bathing in the warm semen of several men who ejaculate upon her.
When Drusilla dies, Caligula is overcome with grief and falls upon her naked corpse to lick her body. Afterwards, he appoints a season of public mourning, during which it is a capital offence to laugh, bathe, or dine.Â Thus begins his true descent into madness and paranoia, in which he orders the murders of his family and advisors, forces them to commit suicide, or secretly poisons them himself.Â He forces the senators wives to work in his brothel and debauches them like fruit he has tasted and thrown away. He has the statues of gods beheaded and puts his own in their place, declaring himself God, then sleeps with his horse whom he elects to the Senate.
Caligula degenerates, becoming even more cruel and selfâ€‘indulgent, enjoying scenes of violence for mere entertainment as he dines and casually observes the torture of slaves.Â In one of the most horrific scenes in the film, he attends a wedding of a young bride and groom, whom he then rapes at their reception, the bride while the groom is forced to watch, and then the groom anally with his greasedâ€‘up fist.
The entire film is filled with scenes of decadent orgies and copulating bodies in lavish settings, with a bevy of Penthouse pets including a lesbian scene with Lori Wagner and Annika Di Lorenzo. The film contains deviant sex and violence, showing explicit penetration, oral sex, necrophilia, bestiality, anal rape, homosexual fellatio, decapitation, pissing on a corpse, disembowelment, castration, bloodâ€‘drinking, fisting, coprophilia, death by whipping, midget sex, pedophilia and other excesses taken to the extreme.
The performances by McDowell and O’Toole are outstanding, as well as that of Sir John Gielgu, making “Caligula” a masterwork of the screen that accurately depicts the Roman Empire and its sadistic Caesar, in all their glorious excess, just before their decline.
Most mainstream connoisseurs of porn will find the film’s violence too graphic, with the sex scenes, although explicit, too short and more artistic than hardcore.Â I thoroughly enjoyed it, however, for the perversity, story and actor’s performances.Â If you are into extreme fetish, bdsm and sadism, this film has lots of masturbation potential.Â “Caligula” is one of my all-time favourites. Definitely, not a film for the faint at heart, this cult classic for fans of schlock cinema remains as wicked today as it was in 1980.Â “Caligula” is available on DVD totally remastered and unedited.Â Make sure to get the Unrated Version if you want to see all the hideous debauchery of the original film.
Buy Caligula (The Unrated Edition) at Amazon.com