Quentin Tarantino thinks he directed a scene more terrifying than the ending of The Silence of the Lambs.
The director made the audacious claim during the recording of a new podcast.
Participating in a three-hour chat with Edgar Wright as part ofEmpire’s podcast, the pair started talking about scary scenes in cinema when Tarantino name-checked the Spahn ranch sequence in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
The tense scene sees Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth arrive at the location of a disused movie set that’s now being occupied by the Manson family.
While there, and to the anger of the cult, he decides to check on elderly ranch owner George Spahn (Bruce Dern), whom he believes is being held captive.
Tarantino described it as “one of the best things that me and my team have ever accomplished”, and stated that he thinks it has more “terror” than Clarice Starling’s showdown with Buffalo Bill at the end of Jonathan Demme's 1991 horror.
”There’s a difference between suspense and terror,” the director said. "Suspense is what’s going to happen. Terror is [when] you’re afraid you know exactly what’s going to happen and you don’t want to see it. You think the worst.”
He said that, while the aforementioned Silence of the Lambs sequence is “magnificent”, he “would push back on one aspect of it”.
“I did not think Jodie Foster was going to die. At that point in the movie, I would have been surprised if it ended with Buffalo Bill killing Jodie Foster. I’ve seen too many movies to think that that was going to happen. I got caught up in the moment, but I still had a movie brain going on.”
He continued: “One of the reasons the [Spahn ranch] scene works so effectively is Cliff could die. Narratively, movie wise, in every way shape and form, not only could he die in that sequence, dramatically it might even make sense that he dies.”
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He said: “When you watch the movie with an audience [for] the first time, it achieves something that I think is very difficult to achieve in a movie. It achieves terror; the audience is terrified for Cliff. The air in the theatre changes. Everyone becomes riveted and they’re genuinely afraid.”
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was released in 2019, and became the director's most successful film to date at the box office.
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