Tarantino and Rodriguez: Who's the Man?


Brian DePalma always used to say something that was one of his stock-in-trade answers, but it was a really good answer. He said that if you direct violence, you get penalized for doing a good job. Because hacks never get bothered with this question, because their stuff has no effect. But when you actually get to people, then you actually get put under the microscope a little bit more.

I guess what I'm saying is the evolution of violence just since 1992, in film -- it's huge, especially just in the last few years. Do you think that all the violence in film today is a good thing for society? Have you ever considered that it's part of a problem?

This just really comes in waves…look at movies in the '80s. Those movies are extremely violent…and then it went down for a number of years, but then when it resurged again in the early '90s, it became an issue again. And I think it comes up in waves. And this horror wave, like you were saying, remember, people didn't want you to call a movie a horror movie.

Yes, when we did "From Dusk Til Dawn" (in 1996), I couldn't call it a horror movie, even though it was, because people were scared of horror films. And all the horror fans -- everyone stayed away. We had to call it a roller-coaster ride.

But now over the past couple of years, horror films have suddenly sprung up. Now, people are trumpeting, "We have a horror film and it's unrated and it's brutal and it's…"

And we love horror movies. I mean, it's always been the fact that horror films have always kind of been under a dark cloud, and the filmmakers couldn't really fulfill their visions. A lot of them lead to the extreme -- it's that kind of genre. All right? It's like complaining about horses in a Western. It's a Western. You've got to have some horses. I don't care if you're allergic. Don't watch it.

But the thing is now, all of a sudden, all those things that are in the horror films -- if you tried to do them before, it was like, "Oh, that's what will make it not commercial. That'll make it just sort of small, little audience, and it'll scare everybody off and freak everybody out." Now, all of a sudden, they're being embraced. So, to me, it's like a renaissance for horror cinema right now that it's this exciting little thing.

And it didn't start here. It started in Japan. It started six years ago with these violent J-horror movies is what they called them. With directors like Takashi Miike. Per usual, it took Hollywood six years to be infected by it. But what basically happened is these directors now, like Eli Roth and all these guys that they call part of the Splat Pack, they watched these like kind of snuffy Japanese horror movies over the years and they wanted to make their own versions, and that's what we are seeing now.

But do you think it's a good thing?

We're responding to what people actually want. If nobody went to see them, they wouldn't be making more of them. So it's really a matter of, why is the audience's taste like that right now? What is it that makes them want this very extreme escapism? Is it the times that we're in right now? It might be that. Because it does come in waves. There are times when they just don't want anything like that, and then, other times, when it is voraciously taken in.

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