This was Pasolini's last film, his vision only became bleaker and more disturbed as the years passed. Using the Marquis de Sade's ideas on the decadence of 18th century France, Pasolini represents Fascist Italy (1944-45). We are shown the upper class always removed and protected from the outer world as predators of the poor, weak, young, and less educated. A group of wealthy adults shop amongst the kidnapped older children of bourgeoisie.
They choose eighteen, and steal them away to a hidden mansion, where there is no escape. There, the adults live out every twisted fantasy they've ever had or can now muster, while demeaning, raping, and torturing the youngsters. The teens react in many ways, none of which are "pretty". This entire film experience should be viewed as a symbolic, emotional "explanation" of what it was like to live under Nazi/Fascist rule, and how an otherwise normal, decent society could be turned into lunatics and sub-animals. Not for the faint hearted. Warning: This film contains extreme scenes of sexual violence.