Well, I finally saw Django Unchained, and where to begin? I avoided it for quite some time because it seemed most everyone had already seen it, and a Tarantino film is not a thing I like to embark on alone. For one, I’d heard about the over-the-top violence, which seemed like a thing best taken in with a friend or loved one; also, Tarantino films tend to prompt a good debate — I fondly remember a two-hour post-Kill Bill Vol. 2 discussion at a Brazilian restaurant with two compadres.
Django Unchained is no different. In fact, it’s hardly a departure for Tarantino, but rather nestled right at home between the nods toward blaxploitation of early works like Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, the genre mish-mash of the Kill Bill movies, and the revisionist history of Ingloruious Basterds. It’s maybe the most Tarantino movie of them all.
Ah, bad kids. Where would the movies be without them?
From ghostly dead youngsters in The Ring and The Shining to the bloodthirsty (but still breathing) tykes of The Bad Seed and The Good Son, there’s a long-standing storytelling tradition in Hollywood to use sinister children as the Ultimate Evildoers — the juxtaposition between innocent faces and malicious intent gets us cinematically wet, I guess.
Recently (“ripped from the headlines” in Law & Order fashion), the movies have added a subgenre to this category with school shootings, like the current release We Need To Talk About Kevin. That’s not a horror movie, per se, but it does deal with a mother’s horrified reaction to the bad, bad thing her baby did.