Quentin Tarantino’s Most Hateful Eight

May 23, 2016
As Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight roars onto DVD and Blu-ray this week, FilmInk has rumbled through the writer/director’s back catalogue to pick his eight most hateful big screen character creations.
"All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain't gonna get."

“All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain’t gonna get.”

THE MOST HATEFUL OF ALL: MR. BLONDE (MICHAEL MADSEN) IN RESERVOIR DOGS

American movies are littered with charismatic, mesmerising psychopaths, and Michael Madsen’s Mr. Blonde (nee Vic Vega) in Reservoir Dogs is almost unrivalled for his on-screen sadism and amorality. The key scene in Quentin Tarantino’s blazing directorial debut – where Madsen’s career criminal slices off a captive cop’s ear with a straight razor and then douses him with petrol with the singularly cruel intention of setting him ablaze – is one of the most debated and celebrated in modern cinema, and Madsen sells it brilliantly. Dancing menacingly to a radio punching out Stealer’s Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You”, he makes Mr. Blonde a diabolically fascinating figure. He’s a black-suited, slick-haired boogeyman who actually makes torture and bullying almost appealing, and that’s no mean feat. “It gained a lot of steam over time,” Michael Madsen told IGN of the role that launched him. “If you’re lucky enough to have one film that people remember, then you’re very fortunate.”

"Oooh, that's a bingo! Is that the way you say it? 'That's a bingo?'"

“Oooh, that’s a bingo! Is that the way you say it? ‘That’s a bingo?'”

THE SECOND MOST HATEFUL: COL. HANS LANDER (CHRISTOPH WALTZ) IN INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

Christoph Waltz’ oily, menacing, but strangely unctuous Col. Hans Landa – a Nazi officer dubbed “The Jew Hunter” for his special skills in tracking down Hitler’s most hated – is unquestionably one of the most sublime baddies on QT’s impressive roster of villains. Landa is the kind of man who can be enjoying a nice bowl of strawberries and cream one minute, and then wringing the neck of a beautiful woman the next. He’s malevolent and charming at the same time. For Tarantino, Landa is “the most important character in the movie.” The search for the right actor for the role became tantamount; a multilinguistic egomaniac, Tarantino needed someone who could speak German and French fluently. “I realised that I was writing a pretty impressive character fairly early on,” Tarantino told FilmInk. “I knew that whatever actor I cast to play this would have to be as much of a linguistic genius as Landa is, or else he would never come off the page.” Enter the brilliant Christoph Waltz (who won an Oscar for his incredible performance), and the rest, as they say, was history…

"Do you find me sadistic? You know, I bet I could fry an egg on your head right now, if I wanted to."

“Do you find me sadistic? You know, I bet I could fry an egg on your head right now, if I wanted to.”

THE THIRD MOST HATEFUL: BILL (DAVID CARRADINE) IN KILL BILL

“There’s a lot more to Tarantino than his love of genre movies, and a lot more to our working relationship,” Kill Bill star, David Carradine, told FilmInk in 2004. “We are both alien visitors from other planets, and possibly, both some kind of genius, forced to associate with mere mortals. Main thing though, we both have a mission, like The Blues Brothers.” Their mission on Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 was to create one of the most enigmatic, anticipated villains in all of Tarantino’s films. Like Marlon Brando’s Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, the films lead inexorably toward their eponymous target, who is talked about and referenced constantly but not fully revealed until deep into this stunning cinematic double shot. Being the leader of a team of ruthless assassins is bad enough, but having your pregnant ex-lover brutally murdered (or so he thinks), along with all the guests, on her wedding day qualifies Carradine’s Bill for particularly hateful status. The role fits the late David Carradine like a glove, even though it was written for, um, Warren Beatty. “Quentin didn’t rewrite it for me,” the actor told FilmInk. “But he continued adding and subtracting stuff right up to the last day of shooting.”

"Mr. Pooch, if she tries to leave here before this nigger-loving German shakes my hand, you cut her ass down!"

“Mr. Pooch, if she tries to leave here before this nigger-loving German shakes my hand, you cut her ass down!”

THE FOURTH MOST HATEFUL: CALVIN CANDIE (LEONARDO DI CAPRIO) IN DJANGO UNCHAINED

“He’s a piece of work,” Quentin Tarantino told FilmInk of Calvin Candie, the chief villain of Django Unchained. “He’s a bad dude.” Leonardo DiCaprio is brilliant as the cruel yet charismatic plantation owner, who is in possession of the beautiful and resourceful slave, Broomhilda Von Shaft (Kerry Washington), who just happens to be the beloved of the film’s hero, the freed slave, Django (Jamie Foxx). Whether forcing slave fighters to battle to the death for the amusement of himself and his equally wealthy friends, or throwing errant slaves to the dogs, Calvin Candie is a privileged, horribly entitled, self-created monarch for whom the lives of others are cheap. “I began to see Calvin as this petulant boy emperor, keeping himself entertained with debauchery and vices,” Tarantino told FilmInk of the character, whom he’d originally envisioned as being much older. “Leo invested in that in a big way. At no point did he want to make Calvin more likeable, but he did want to make him slightly more understandable. He wanted to be able to, from time to time, charm the audience against their will.”

“I tend not to exhibit the self-discipline, you know, becoming of a peace officer.”

“I tend not to exhibit the self-discipline, you know, becoming of a peace officer.”

THE FIFTH MOST HATEFUL: DETECTIVE JACK SCAGNETTI (TOM SIZEMORE) IN NATURAL BORN KILLERS

In the Quentin Tarantino-scripted, Oliver Stone-directed Natural Born Killers – a film populated by mass murderers, horribly abusive parents, slimy media reporters, violent prisoners, sickening sycophants, and various other reprobates – the most hateful character is, appropriately enough, a cop. Bu Tom Sizemore’s Detective Jack Scagnetti is no normal cop. Still mournful over the death of his mother at the hands of infamous real life killer, Charles Whitman (who gunned down 49 people, killing 16, in 1966), Detective Jack Scagnetti burns with an unnatural desire to bring down America’s serial killers, throwing him onto the trail of mass murderers, Mickey and Mallory Knox (Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis). But despite his hero cop façade, Detective Jack Scagnetti is actually an out-and-out lunatic, with a penchant for strangling innocent prostitutes, a sicko infatuation with Mallory Knox, and a habit of breaking the law to uphold it. His cruelty and sadism make him repulsive, but his hypocrisy qualifies him for hateful status. “I could talk about that film forever,” Tom Sizemore told The AV Club. “One of the greatest experiences that I’ve ever had [on film].”

“That's right. I killed your master. And now I'm gonna kill you too, with your own sword, no less, which in the very immediate future, will become... my sword.”

“That’s right. I killed your master. And now I’m gonna kill you too, with your own sword, no less, which in the very immediate future, will become… my sword.”

THE SIXTH MOST HATEFUL: ELLE DRIVER (DARYL HANNAH) IN KILL BILL

“She’s just someone who thrills in the fact that she’s just not a very nice person,” Daryl Hannah told FilmInk of her Kill Bill character, Elle Driver, upon the release of the film. “She’s not bothered by it in the least. There’s no guilt or self-consciousness about it.” In a film packed with bad guys, Elle Driver is the most irredeemable. As he does with so many of his films and characters, Tarantino wrote the part of queen-bitch, eye-patch-wearing, tough-as-nails assassin, Elle Driver (code name: California Mountain Snake), specifically for Hannah, and it truly plays to her icy strengths. Brutal, lethal, cruel, and utterly merciless, she is a horrific creation, and definitely one of QT’s meanest. “He just told me that her name was going to be Elle Driver, and that she was the nemesis of The Bride, and that they really hated each other,” Hannah told FilmInk. “And that was it. And then when I read it, I was very excited because I rarely get to play a character like that. She was just so well defined – her motives, her back-story, everything. Quentin had all that information.”

"Now the first time you kill somebody, that's the hardest. I don't give a shit if you're fuckin' Wyatt Earp or Jack the Ripper."

“Now the first time you kill somebody, that’s the hardest. I don’t give a shit if you’re fuckin’ Wyatt Earp or Jack the Ripper.”

THE SEVENTH MOST HATEFUL: VIRGIL (JAMES GANDOLFINI) IN TRUE ROMANCE

“James Gandolfini exudes both childlike innocence and enormous fucking danger,” True Romance director, Tony Scott, told Maxim in 2008. “The fight scene between him and Patricia Arquette builds slowly, like a volcano. There’s small talk at the beginning: ‘You’re so cute—spin around for me.’ Then he pops her.” In Quentin Tarantino’s violence-filled catalogue, the ensuing fight scene in True Romance – which Tarantino wrote and the late Tony Scott (Top Gun, The Last Boy Scout) directed – between Patricia Arquette’s ho-with-a-heart-of-gold, Alabama Whitman, and James Gandolfini’s towering, brutal mob enforcer, Virgil, is one of his most unforgettable bloodstained set-pieces of all. The size difference between the two is staggering, and as Virgil slowly and expertly beats and interrogates the loveable Alabama, his hatefulness expands outward and upward at an ugly rate. “It was a little rough,” the late, great, and sadly lamented James Gandolfini told Maxim in 2008. “There was a lot of throwing. You didn’t see that often with a man and woman. I ended up doing it a lot on The Sopranos for some reason.”

"Bring out The Gimp."

“Bring out The Gimp.”

THE EIGHTH MOST HATEFUL: ZED (PETER GREENE) IN PULP FICTION

A fine but little known character actor, Peter Greene (whose most seminal work remains Lodge Kerrigan’s little seen 1993 head-spinner, Clean, Shaven) delivers a brief but unforgettable mini-aria of perversity, sadism, and sicko supremacy in Pulp Fiction, wildly and icily essaying the character of Zed, a cracker security guard who makes the mistake of sodomising mob boss, Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), in the tawdry basement of a pawn shop. And just to make things worse, his demented act of domination is happily witnessed by The Gimp, a masked creep in a bondage suit. A brave and daring actor, Peter Greene wasn’t concerned about the impact of a homosexual rape scene on his career. He was, however, worried about embarrassing his parents: “Once they said, ‘No, go ahead,’ I said, ‘Fine,”’ he told Entertainment Weekly in 1995. Impressively, Greene actually improvised his creepy game of “eenie, meenie, minie, moe” in Pulp Fiction, which rates as a truly inspired and hateful embellishment. “You need a role for which you’re given some responsibility,” Greene told Entertainment Weekly. “Otherwise, it’s not worth a goddamn thing.”

The Hateful Eight is available on Blu-ray and DVD from May 25.

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