Pasolini Salò 120 Days of Sodom

Sadistic Cinema: Is It Fun Being Disturbed?

Like people who eat nuclear-grade hot wings or force themselves to watch entire episodes of Whitney, some moviegoers like to be permanently damaged by their entertainment choices. It’s not enough to jump at scares or be repulsed by bloodshed. They want to walk away disturbed.

Disturbing movies are those that challenge you to keep watching and sometimes make you feel grimy when you do. I’m not talking about the cartoonishly sadistic violence of Saw movies and their outlandish set pieces. I mean the ones that stay with you for a long time (kind of like your wife’s relatives from overseas).