The name Quentin Tarantino is just about synonymous with violence. It’s a common theme in many of his movies along with glamorized crime and quirky, dark humor. Now maybe graphic violence isn’t essential to a film’s success, but his unique style of delivering violence has made him one of the most iconic directors of all time. While other directors spew out movie after movie, Quentin remains committed to quality over quantity. And it shows; he delivers what his audience wants time after time, and keeps them hanging on for more.
It’s the way that Quentin uses bloodshed that makes him so unique. First, he chooses a theme that goes hand and hand with violence, such as the Wild West, martial arts, or gangsters. Then through outstanding dialogue, he introduces us to characters that we either love or loathe, regardless, we are always drawn into them. He masterfully builds tension, gets us all worked up and after making us wait, he finally brings the bloody action.
Audiences find violence entertaining and Tarantino’s brand of unexpected and sometimes personal violence is exactly what they crave. The method by which he delivers this brutality is through violent, and highly memorable, characters and today we’ll be looking at just who was the most violent and why.
15. Virgil (True Romance)
To start us off there’s Virgil, one of Tarantino’s first mobster characters, from True Romance, one of his earliest films. Virgil (James Gandolfini) is a Sicilian mobster employed by Vincenzo Coccoti who describes in a monologue how it becomes easier and easier to kill the more you do it. He has a slightly detached personality and seemed psychotic at times.
He takes pleasure in inflicting violence, as he does in the infamous motel room scene with Patricia Arquette who plays the leading female role of Alabama. He beats her for information but she’s able to get his gun away from him and shoot him first. It’s definitely the best thing that could have happened because he was really bad news.
14. Stephen (Django Unchained)
Of all the loathsome characters that Tarantino has introduced us to over the years (and there have been some doozies), there is one that will always stand out as the absolute worst and that’s Stephen, Candyland’s senior house slave, from Django Unchained. And he wasn’t just a terrible person, but vicious one as well.
He lords his status as the senior house slave over the other slaves and is not afraid to belt out bloody punishments where he sees fit; sometimes treating them even worse than their racist white masters. He’s cunning as well, plotting deceptively to try and ruin Django and Schiltz’s plans while playing the part of a harmless old man. Like I said, loathsome.
13. Sgt. Donny Donowitz AKA The Bear Jew (Inglourious Basterds)
Donowitz (played by gore king Eli Roth) was a member of Colonel Eldo Raines Nazi-hunting team known as The Basterds. He is full of outrage at the massacre of the Jews by the Germans and earns his nickname from beating Nazis to death with a baseball bat. We only really see him in action with his bat once during the movie, but from this one encounter, we know that violence is inherent in him.
While there were plenty of violent characters in this movie his bloodlust and cold, dead-eyed gaze make him stand out. He’s fuelled by hatred, so much so that he even gives his life for his cause in the end. He’s killed after placing bombs inside a theater full of high-ranking Germans and machine-gunning them until the place blows.
12. Mr. Blonde (Reservoir Dogs)
Even before Mr. Blonde shows up at the warehouse in Reservoir Dogs the other characters are already building up our mental picture of him (there’s that amazing dialogue at work again) and it’s not a flattering picture– I believe the word “psycho” is mentioned? So yes, when we see him left alone with a young cop that he took hostage, we know things are going to get bad.
Mr. Orange is there, but he’s bleeding out in the corner so we hold out little hope that he can save the day. Mr. Blonde doesn’t waste time with the cop either swiftly cutting off his ear to prove that he means business. Anyone capable of torture and the extreme violence he was about to commit (burning the cop alive) must be considered as one of Quentin’s most violent characters.
11. Louis (Jackie Brown)
In Jackie Brown, a crime thriller, we meet a number of interesting characters, including greasy crook Louis. He’s Ordell Robbie’s sidekick whose just been released from jail after spending four years inside for bank robbery. This tells us a few things about him already, mainly he wasn’t a good thief the first time around (i.e. he got caught). The first time he’s left alone with Ordell’s side girl he ends up having sex with her in the kitchen so we also know he has some problems controlling his impulses because he later regrets this.
The violence in Tarantino’s movies is often surprising and such is the case in the scene where Melanie and Louis try to find their car after collecting a bag of money. Melanie teases Louis about not knowing where the car is and he’s so on edge that he simply shoots her dead in the parking lot when he can’t make her keep quiet. This level of disconnection definitely made him a character not to mess with.
10. Ordell Robbie (Jackie Brown)
We can agree that Louis was pretty dangerous, but what about his friend and the main antagonist of Jackie Brown, Ordell Robbie (played by Samuel L. Jackson)? Well, he definitely makes the list as well and here’s why.
Ordell is selfish and ruthless. By the way that he is introduced to us, we soon realize one thing– he’s not going to let anyone stand in his way of making money or allow himself to get caught. One of the first things we see him doing is securing bail money for this buddy, and the shooting him in the trunk of his car a few hours later. He went to Jackie’s place to kill her as well, but luckily she was wise to his moves, and he kills Louis at the end because he thinks he’s been betrayed by him. This selfish streak is one reason that we loathe Ordell (besides the ponytail) and why we were not sorry to see him meet his end.
9. Gogo Yubari (Kill Bill Vol 1)
The fight scene between Gogo Yubari and The Bride AKA Black Mamba in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) is nothing short of legendary. The Bride has been working her way up to killing crime boss O-Ren Ishii and in this scene, she takes on her personal bodyguard, the 17-year-old Gogo (played by Japanese actress Chiaki Kuriyama). Tarantino has already built her up by showing us flashbacks of just how cruel and violent she is so we know it’s going to be a fight to remember.
Although she doesn’t get that much screen time, Gogo is a formidable character who kills for thrills and loves to catch her victims unaware by dressing in an innocent looking schoolgirl outfit. Although we only see her kill once it’s this class of cruelty that makes her one of Tarantino’s most vicious creations.
8. Vincent Vega (Pulp Fiction)
Vincent Vega was so goofy that you couldn’t help but like him, but make no mistake, he was as violent as they come.
Don’t believe me? Consider this: he is a man who follows orders, all throughout the movie you see him doing what his boss asks him to do from killing people to taking his wife out to dinner. What’s more, he’s a remorseless killer. Think about the scene where he accidentally shoots Marvin in the head while he and Jules are driving. What does he do immediately afterward? You or I may have screamed hysterically, but he says “Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face,” as though he’s talking about some toast that he burnt accidentally, while Jules is the one who freaks out.
7. O-Ren Ishii (Kill Bill: Vol. 1)
You got to give this to O-Ren, she was as ballsy as bad girls come. Not only a world class assassin, but the head of the Japanese crime underworld, despite her mixed American and Chinese heritage, it’s impressive. But make no mistake, she didn’t rise to that position by smiling and handing out cookies.
O-Ren craves power, this is the source of her ruthlessness. In her bid to remain in control, she’s capable of just about anything and commands a small army ready to do her bidding. She was by far the most well-protected enemy the Bride had to kill and she fought her tooth and nail to the end. By far and away one of the movie’s most memorable (and violent) characters.
6. Stunt Man Mike (Grindhouse: Death Proof)
We don’t learn a lot about the background of Stunt Man Mike so we don’t know what has driven him to have such a hatred of women, but from the way he behaves (remember the foot fetish scene) it’s pretty obvious that there is a sexual element to his brand of violence as well. He also strikes us as a cowardly killer, too afraid to get close; he chooses to use his car as a weapon instead.
He kills for no other reason than he wants to. The female victims that he stalks are strangers and pose no threat to him. He doesn’t do it for money or revenge, he does it simply because for some reason he hates women. And he’s really creepy as well, besides from being a remorseless serial killer.
5. Daisy Domergue (The Hateful 8)
Violence begets violence– at least that’s how it is for Daisy Domergue in Tarantino’s latest offering, The Hateful 8 (2015). In this western mystery film, Daisy is the main antagonist, a gang member who’s been taken into custody by bounty hunter, John Ruth. Ruth is taking her to the nearby town of Red Rock to collect the handsome reward on her head– a cool ten thousand dollars. Her brother, Jody Domingray is the leader of the gang and he takes over a haberdashery to free Daisy and kill her captor.
You do feel a bit sorry for the violence that Ruth inflicts on her, especially when she is unable to defend herself, but when you see her kill at the end, it’s easier to see why she was in custody in the first place. Daisy is a killer alright.
4. Seth and Richard Gecko (From Dusk Till Dawn)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) may have been directed by Robert Rodriguez but the screenplay was written by, you guessed it– Quentin Tarantino. As a skilled actor, Quentin also plays the role of one of the supporting characters, Richard (or Richie) Gecko, alongside George Clooney who plays Seth Gecko. In the film, Richie has broken Seth out of police custody and the two are trying to get across the border in Mexico.
Seth was a pretty violent character, not afraid to kill anyone who angered him, but he’s more of a thief than a cold blooded killer. Now Richie, on the other hand, was just plain sick– not content on just killing, but feeling the need to rape and torture too. We’re given glimpses from his point of view that hint towards mental illness too, so he was by far one of the most deadly characters in this film.
3. Mickey and Mallory Knox (Natural Born Killers)
There is some debate among fans about whether or not Mickey and Mallory Knox can be classed as true Tarantino characters because although Quentin is responsible for the script, it was heavily edited by Olivier Stone, who then later directed the 1994 film that has since become a cult classic.
In my mind, it would be wrong to exclude them from this list based on that. Mickey and Mallory were serial killers who killed for sport, and they didn’t care who their victims were (even Mallory’s own family); if you got in their way, well, that was pretty much it for you. Together they must have racked up a massive number of kills so Mickey and Mallory deserve their place as two of the most bloodthirsty characters ever created by Tarantino.
2. Fredrick Zoller (Inglourious Basterds)
Admittedly one could have almost felt a little sorry for poor old Fredrick Zoller from Inglourious Basterds, he really thought that Shosanna was going to be impressed by his smart uniform, tales of heroism and his massive body count. It was enough to impress his superiors enough to make a movie about him wasn’t it? And offering him the leading role in that film too. So one can understand why he’s surprised that she snubs him.
Fredrick Zoller didn’t come off as being malicious in the beginning, and he’s always presented as neat and polite, which is why you could overlook him as one of Tarantino’s most bloodthirsty characters. That’s until right at the end of the film where he loses his patience with Shosanna, warning her that he is not a man that you say “no” to. This makes his demise a few seconds later that much more satisfying.
1. Beatrix Kiddo AKA The Bride (Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2)
Beatrix Kiddo tops my list as the violent character than Quentin Tarantino ever created. Even though she didn’t have the body count of someone like Fredrick Zoller in Inglourious Basterds she did rack up a pretty impressive number of kills, and that was just during her revenge rampage, not even counting the number of people she took out as a gun for hire.
The Bride was an anti-hero, who killed purely for revenge, so even though what she did was morally wrong audiences felt conflicted because her form of justice seemed like just what her enemies deserved. In that now famous yellow suit, brandishing her samurai sword Beatrix Kiddo was just plain deadly, a woman you definitely would not want to cross.