I held back in latest gore-fest, claims Tarantino

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The long-awaited movie by Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill, would have been even more violent if he had indulged his wildest flights of fancy, the director said before the film's British premiere last night.

In one fantasy sequence, a villain of the film would have descended to hell to be sexually abused by Minotaurs and centaurs and assaulted with their cloven hooves while devils laughed. But the director was content to limit his ambition to making the best fight sequence in film history.

The final 20-minute fight involves his leading lady, Uma Thurman, deterring dozens of attackers in one of the bloodiest set pieces of a movie already notorious for its violence.

Tarantino said that when he was devising the film he tried to think up "every inventive way I could to dismember and disembowel''. He added: "I was trying to create the most exciting fight sequence in cinema history. It took me a year to write."

Kill Bill is a fusion of the genres Tarantino grew up with, such as Chinese kung-fu, spaghetti westerns and Japanese samurai fighting

But he said that at least one genre close to the British film industry's heart was unlikely to feature in one of his films. He said: "I'm not really a great fan of neo-Victorian drama kind of movies for the simple fact I don't like movies about people knuckling under in society or people following rules or destroyed by breaking rules. I like movies about people who break rules, mavericks.''

Kill Bill was devised by Tarantino for Thurman, his star in Pulp Fiction, and production was delayed for a year when she became pregnant with her second child. She said the samurai sword fighting and tough martial arts training she did for the film helped to get her back into shape after childbirth. The crew teased her about her size, the actress claimed, saying: "Is she going to make it or is Quentin going to have this very large-bottomed samurai?''

The film is to be released in two parts after filming ran over schedule. The first instalment opens next Friday in London, with the second part to be seen next year.

Tarantino admitted one of the reasons he filmed much of it in China was to escape the tyranny of sticking to the strict filming schedules laid down by American studios. "I wanted to shoot the Chinese way. They don't give a damn about the schedule,'' he said.