The 120 Days of Sodom
Publication of the Marquis de Sade's infamous works were subject to a lengthy court dispute in France, with Olympia losing in the end (Girodias eventually relocated to NY as America and the UK began liberalizing just as legendary Gallic tolerance shifted in another direction). The plot is simple: a group of amoral libertines retire to a sealed chateau with an entourage of innocent victims, all of whom are murdered in ways both sexual and Byzantine. De Sade's taste for death and torture may have exceeded the strength of his hand as after about many pages of exquisitely detailed sexual mayhem, he begins to dispatch the cast in wholesale lots. Still, it can inspire fantasies, if, we hope, not actions.