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Movie

  • Best Known for the Fanservice: It's about the life of a Roman emperor...and a whole LOTTA sex going on...also, Helen Mirren's breasts, in case anyone's interested. In this case, at least the sexual stuff is half of what the movie is about - the movie got funding from Penthouse magazine on the condition that things be tarted up a little.
  • Fan-Preferred Cut Content: Mark Kermode believes that the best way to restore the film to Gore Vidal's original vision would be to get every bit of footage from end to end and re-arrange scenes, plus take out Bob Guccione's hardcore additions.
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Robin Williams had a joke where he lamented the terrible acting in pornographic films and suggested Shakespearian actors like Laurence Olivier doing porn. One can only wonder if he ever saw this movie.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: The film would have come and gone in two weeks had it been left to succeed or fail on its own merits. It became successful, and something of a cult classic, solely because of the protests that it sparked.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The film has been a notorious subject since its release for its extremely Troubled Production, wrought with constant tensions between Gore Vidal, director Tinto Brass, and producer Bob Guccione of Penthouse (yes, that Penthouse) and resulting in a gorn-laden Porn with Plot film that ended up being a Genre-Killer for the "porno chic" movement of The '70s. Even after receiving a Re-Cut that removed the Guccione-shot hardcore porn scenes, making Brass' intentions of a scathing political satire more apparent, the film is only really known for its acidic production and for being what Helen Mirren dubbed "an irresistible mix of art and genitals."
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  • Uncertain Audience: A common statement about the film is that it was trying to be both a deep, dramatic historical film that happened to feature sex (which was what Gore Vidal and Tinto Brass wanted, though even their visions were very different), and high-budget exploitative Porn with Plot spectacle (which was what producer Bob Guccione wanted). The result was too trashy and debauched for fans of drama, and too heavy on narrative for people who watched it with their pants off.

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Comic Book

  • Complete Monster: In the comic book by David Lapham and German Nobile, the demon who possesses Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus and rechristens himself "Caligula" is a psychopathic trickster who uses his new status as Emperor of Rome to fully indulge in his penchant for sadism. Caligula establishes himself as a heartless sadist when, on a whim, he leads a gang rape and massacre of an entire family of farmers, including the 4 year-old son; he regularly commits similar atrocities. Taking great joy in forcing people to act out "plays" he himself has written, Caligula often uses said plays to force the partakers to cannibalize, rape, and murder each other, often taking part himself. Along with regularly raping and torturing his flesh-and-blood sister, then promising to corrupt her newborn, a product of his raping her, into evil, Caligula also personally butchers people by the dozen, arranges their bodies in "artistic" manners, then rips out their very souls, devouring them and trapping the souls in constant agony. Even when seemingly beaten, Caligula Body Surfs into anyone he can, continuing to murder innocents and devour their souls in a ritual he attempts to use to drive Rome to tear itself apart, and eventually settles in the body of the young Nero, fully planning to obtain the throne once more and destroy Rome for good. Psychopathic, egomaniacal, and with his own twisted sense of "art", Caligula was as wicked as a demon could be, and took great joy in being as evil as possible.

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