Movies I Watch on Principle – CALIGULA

Caligula is a truly heinous film. It is ugly, poorly acted, offensive and just plain disgusting. There is no denying that. It is also one of the most unintentionally hilarious films I’ve ever seen. It is beyond reviewing and there is nothing left to be said about it that Ebert hasn’t covered. That being said, instead of offering a traditional review of this movie, I’d like to give a brief history of my “relationship” with the film. From the second I heard about it when I was sixteen, I knew I needed to see it. I didn’t know what it was about, that it was explicitly pornographic, or what an effect it would have on me. I just knew that I would not be able to get through the next half of a century or so without seeing this movie. If it was considered one of the worst films ever, there had to be a reason. Believe me…there was. However, I do not regret watching it. There are very few films I actually regret seeing. Movies offer great experiences, even badly made ones. I did not get around to watching Caligula until I was nineteen and convinced my best friend to watch it with me. We settled in our dorm room with some snacks and started the film. “Oh boy,” I thought. “This is going to be so offensive and gross. I can’t wait!” However, as I sat watching I soon became disappointed. This was nowhere near as awful as I heard. By the end I was furious. “What the hell was that?!”I demanded. “Where was the bestiality? And the unsimulated sex? I heard there was going to be fisting! Where is my fisting scene?!” I yelled, snatching up the Netflix envelope. “Aha! This is the R-rated version. The sissy version is more like it!” It wasn’t that I especially wanted to see someone getting fisted against their will…but I wanted to be able to say I had. It was on principle. I had to see the true horror of Caligula. I needed to know why this movie was so insanely hated. I needed to be a part of the crowd who had experienced the trauma of watching it. I needed to be a pretentious little snot who brought it up at social gatherings and acted like I was better than my friends because I understood “film” and had seen the worst of the worst. It was simply unacceptable. I would see the fisting scene and that was the end of it. I immediately added the unrated version to my Netflix queue. I eagerly awaited its arrival, which happened two days later. Once again we settled in to watch it. This time would be different, I thought to myself. It was…too bad I covered my eyes during the fisting scene.


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October 2013
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