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Tarantino Reveals What Terrified Him as a Kid and Why Argento’s ‘Deep Red’ Sadism Thrilled Him

No movie ever terrified Tarantino as child. But the Los Angeles police report certainly did.

Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino

Everett Collection

Quentin Tarantino reminisced on the terrors of his childhood during an appearance at PaleyFest NY 2020 to promote his role on the upcoming second season of Eli Roth’s AMC interview series “History of Horror” (via Yahoo). When asked what terrified him the most growing up, Tarantino said the real world proved far more horrifying than scripted films and television series. The first time Tarantino remembers being terrified is when he watched a local news station in Los Angeles after midnight and heard of the crimes of the city’s most notorious criminals.

“It was a police news watch where it would say, ‘These wanted criminals are loose in our city, have you seen them?'” Tarantino said. “They would show a mugshot of some criminal and describe his horrible crimes: ‘He’s out and about. If you see him do not try and apprehend him. Call your local authorities.’ I’m like five or six and for the rest of the night that guy was bursting into my house and killing the entire family. There was nothing that terrified me more than that or things in the news that I heard. Just before the Manson family started there was a serial killer running around Los Angeles killing people with a hammer. That guy was terrifying to me!”

Since movies were scripted, Tarantino had an easier time dissociating them from real life. That doesn’t mean horror films didn’t have a profound impact on the young Tarantino. Quite the contrary. Tarantino remembered how watching Dario Argento’s 1975 giallo classic “Deep Red” at 14 or 15 years old left him rattled to the bone.

“I went to a theater on my own to see it, and that was before I knew who Dario Argento was,” Tarantino said. “I didn’t even know it was an Italian movie. I go and see it and it’s these horrendous murders and horrendous kills one after another with just complete sadism. Not only just a tremendous amount of blood but also the loudest soundtrack I’d ever heard in a movie just pounding at you. A woman scalded to death! That was like, ‘Wow this movie is really tough stuff,’ but it was thrilling. It was absolutely thrilling.”

Tarantino has teased that his next film could be a trip into the horror genre. The project would reportedly be Tarantino’s last feature film should he stick to his plan to retire after 10 movies. As the director said on his “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” press tour, “If I come up with a terrific horror film story, I will do that as my tenth film. I love horror movies. I would love to do a horror film.”

The second season of Eli Roth’s “History of Horror” airs Saturday nights at 10pm ET on AMC.

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