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  • Writer's pictureWes Hazard

He has a point

The headline here makes it seem like we're in for another grandiose self-granted ego stroke from Quentin Tarantino but his nuanced distinction of cinematic suspense from cinematic terror is really insightful and having seen Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in the theater and having watched The Silence of The Lambs 20+ times I absolutely agree.

”There’s a difference between suspense and terror,” Tarantino 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.”

While Tarantino believes Demme’s “Silence of the Lambs” sequence is “magnificent,” he argued classifying the climax as “terror” would be incorrect. For Tarantino, the sequence falls into the “suspense” category as the viewer always knows what’s going to happen.

“I did not think Jodie Foster was going to die,” Tarantino said. “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.”

Tarantino views his Spahn Ranch sequence in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” as “terror” because the viewer is less certain of what is going to happen. The director explained, “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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