Why have sex with one other person when you could have sex with lots of other people? That’s the logic behind orgies, a spectacle of flesh and illicit celebration of lust that you seem to only stumble upon in R-rated movies and premium cable shows. Filmmakers and showrunners bust out the “orgy scene” when they want to up the ante or say something truly poignant about human relationships. They’re naughty, they’re decadent, and they’re often happening in the palatial homes of very, very rich people for some reason.
However what makes an onscreen orgy outrageous? Is it the amount of people doing it at the same time or the screen time given to the power-session? Really, it comes down to context. Sense8 chose to end its two season run on Netflix with an extended orgy sequence, thus making the orgy a sort of thesis for the whole series. True Detective used an orgy as the turning point for its second season, American Gods took us to Bilquis’s sex party just to show the goddess at full power, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina featured an orgy in an episode all about cannibalism to…uh…distract from the cannibalism?
From the haunting orgy sequence in Eyes Wide Shut to the impromptu orgy that halts a murderer’s execution in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, here are the most outrageous onscreen orgies in film and TV.
Sense8 is a show that loves its orgies. It didn’t just feature a stunning orgy scene in Season 1, wherein a few of the budding “sensates” use their psychic connection to turn each other on, but ended its storied run on Netflix with a massive orgy. To Sense8, an orgy isn’t something dirty, but an explosion of love and acceptance. It is the physical manifestation of multiple different people becoming a happier whole.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a decadent thriller about a young man with a super-powered sense of smell who is in turn obsessed with making the *perfect* perfume. This drives him to lust after young women who smell good, and he embarks on a murder spree, killing women in an attempt to capture their scents. Eventually he is captured and sentenced to die, but he puts his *perfect* perfume on his own skin, and it makes the assembled crowd overcome with lust and they, uh, have an orgy. Must be some good perfume.
The Last Czars’
The Last Czars is a pulpy docuseries about the fall of the Russian Empire. Historians narrate while actors re-enact the final years of the Romanoffs and their ilk. It should be just a stodgy educational watch, but halfway through the very first episode, we follow Rasputin to an orgy. Sure, it historically happened, but you don’t expect an orgy to pop up in the middle of a docu-series!
Eyes Wide Shut’
FIDELIO! Eyes Wide Shut is not just the film that might have broken up Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s marriage, it also features the most famous orgy in film history. When Tom Cruise’s character shows up at a mysterious manor, he discovers that a dangerous secret sex ritual is taking place. The scene is as famous for the pornographic elements at play as it is for director Stanley Kubrick’s choice to make the sequence one of true dread.
HBO viewers don’t usually balk at sexy scenes, but there was something about the orgy palace in WestworldSeason 1, Episode 5, “Contrapasso” that seemed to cross a line. Maybe it was the fact that there had been reports that producers were looking for extras to pose as living furniture, or the casual attitude of those involved.
True Detective Season 2, Episode 6, “Church in Ruins” used a private orgy club as a key narrative set piece for the whole season. Rachel McAdams’s character, Detective Ani Bezzerides infiltrates the party, posing as her cam girl sister, only to find herself in too deep. She’s drugged and trapped at the party, and forced to literally kill a guard to escape. Meanwhile, everyone is, you know, orgy-ing it up.
The orgy scenes in Caligula aren’t just scandalous because of their massive scale, but because they really happened. Caligula is one of those rare films where the actors were really doing it in some cases, thus giving the film itself the same kind of seedy reputation as its notorious subject.
Everyone talks about the sex scenes in Starz’s American Gods, but somehow no one ever mentions the massive orgy in Season 1, Episode 8, “Come to Jesus.” We flashback to the time where Bilquis reigned supreme. Vast orgies were held in her honor and at the climax, the goddess devoured the spirits of each wanton worshipper. Seems to me like that’s not what usually happens at hook up parties.
Okay, maybe it’s not the wildest orgy in cinematic history, but the orgy that Elton John (Taron Egerton) coasts over while “Bennie and the Jets” plays in Rocketman almost didn’t see the light of day. Director Dexter Fletcher worried it was too over-the-top and wanted to cut it, but was encouraged to leave it in by John’s partner, David Furness.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is technically a teen show, but that didn’t stop it from indulging in some serious orgy action. In Chapter 7, “Feast of Feasts,” Prudence is named the Queen of the Feast of Feasts. Meaning, she will be feted for a week before offering herself up as a ritual sacrifice to be eaten by the other witches. One of her bucket list wishes? An orgy in Sabrina’s attic. You know, cannibalism, orgies…it’s all normal teen witch stuff.