Although Quentin Tarantino has forged ahead with many celebrated gems in the 21st century, a major part of his legacy still revolves around what he managed to achieve in the 1990s. Pulp Fiction is still cited as Tarantino’s magnum opus, the gem that cemented his status as a fiercely talented filmmaker in popular culture.
Heavily stylised and structured like a non-linear literary investigation, Pulp Fiction is an irresistible document of the times. Tarantino constructed a postmodern masterpiece, strung together as a pastiche of some of the cinematic masterpieces that he had grown up watching. Featuring multiple narrative threads, the film is now seen as a lesson in screenwriting.
While the combination of Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta elevated the entire cinematic experience of Pulp Fiction, one of the most iconic moments in the film happens without them. The scene in question is the infamous “gimp segment” which takes place after Marsellus Wallace (played by Ving Rhames) chases Bruce Willis’ character – Butch – into a pawnshop.
The shop’s owner turns out to be a truly evil man who captures both Butch and Marsellus and invites his friend over to rape the latter, leaving Butch locked up in a room with an individual in a gimp suit watching over him. What follows is a fantastic moment of revenge, with Butch managing to free himself and exacting vengeance on their captors with a katana.
In an interview, Tarantino discussed the background of the gimp character and claimed that he was a hitchhiker who was picked up by the shop’s owner a number of years ago and was exclusively kept as a sex slave. When the director was asked about what happened to the gimp after the events unfolded in Pulp Fiction, Tarantino was definitive about his response.
According to him, the gimp actually hangs himself in a moment of absurdity after Butch escapes by knocking him out. Tarantino explained his theory by stating: “It doesn’t quite play this way in the movie, but in my mind when I wrote it, the Gimp’s dead. Butch knocked him out and then when he passed out he hung himself.”
Watch the iconic gimp scene from Pulp Fiction below.