It's no secret that Quentin Tarantino is a fan of the violence, what with all the shooting and the stabbing and the cutting (I mean, his first claim to fame was an artfully choreographed sequence whose culmination was the severing of an ear, set to the mellow sounds of Steeler's Wheel.) Now, Vanity Fair has prepared a helpful infographic, showing all of the deaths that have taken place in the master of mayhem's films, from Reservoir Dogs to Django Unchained. Not surprisingly, there's a lot of them. But just how many?
Tarantino became a force in film overnight (after years of banging on doors, of course), but it wasn't just his universe of pop-culture savvy and stylish criminals that got people's attention, although the style and attitude of just his first two films did change the landscape of film for much of the decade, especially when Pulp Fiction was the first 'indie' to gross over $100 million domestically. Before that, one sequence in Reservoir Dogs threw down the gauntlet, though there was, of course, no actual gauntlet. I refer, you may have surmised, to the severing of Nash's ear by Michael Madsen's Mr. Blonde. It's a legendary moment, and justly so, I think, because it's not the ear that causes the frisson so much as the skillful way we are held in suspense. Dancing and violence are nothing new (cf. A Clockwork Orange), but most everything has been done before, and Tarantino and Madsen's take on the gleeful sadist still resonates as strongly as it did then.
This was, to say the least, quite a way to make a first impression. In 1992, the movie landscape was a far different place, and we were years away from the so-called 'torture porn' of movies like Hostel (a film, perhaps not coincidentally, overseen by Tarantino's good buddy, Eli Roth, and "presented" by Q.T.). But this isn't that, and that's perhaps why it's such a classic scene. We don't linger on the violence, and the aftermath, while gruesome, isn't dwelled upon. It's the way that the moment is built up to, the glee in Madsen's face, and, of course, the lighthearted song on the radio that make for a moment that works so well.
Of film violence, at the time, Tarantino breezily remarked:
"Violence is just one of many things you can do in movies," he said. "People ask me, 'Where does all this violence come from in your movies?' I say, "Where does all this dancing come from in Stanley Donen movies?' If you ask me how I feel about violence in real life, well, I have a lot of feelings about it. It's one of the worst aspects of America. In movies, violence is cool. I like it.
1994's Pulp Fiction would prove that Tarantino wasn't just talking to hear the sound of his own voice, and the ensuing years have done nothing to counter his claims. Check out this infographic from Vanity Fair that breaks down all of the deaths in his filmmography. Oh, and that number? 562.
And with his upcoming western The Hateful Eight already garnering controversy for its leaked script, one can only imagine that the cinematic death count will keep rising. We're gonna need a bigger infographic!
[via Vanity Fair ]