Quentin Tarantino Puts Bambi In The Same Category As Wes Craven's Last House On The Left

We all have movies that have traumatized us in some way: the ones that are burned into the recesses of our minds, lurking, waiting for the right moment to strike right as you're trying to fall asleep at night. Most people remember the first time they really freaked out because of a movie. For me, it was when I was 5 and Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin pulled their faces off in "Beetlejuice," but for acclaimed writer and director Quentin Tarantino, that movie is an animated classic about a baby deer. 

For his new non-fiction book, "Cinema Speculation," Tarantino recently made the press rounds to promote the book and answer questions about his own cinematic history. In his November 2022 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Tarantino revealed that "Bambi" holds a special place for him because it was one of only two movies to ever make him want to run out of the theater. 

The other movie? Wes Craven's 1972 cult exploitation nightmare "Last House on the Left," which is a controversial and absolutely vicious film that even the most hardened horror buffs appreciate for its brutality. Putting "Bambi" and "Last House on the Left" in the same category may seem like a pretty strange decision, but Tarantino has never been known for being conventional!

The two movies to make Tarantino tap out

The interview where Tarantino discussed the films that shaped him was also the one where he said that he had no interest in ever directing a Marvel movie because he wasn't a "director-for-hire," which means that unfortunately the more interesting comments about the cinema that affected him were sort of ignored. (Seriously, can we just stop asking different directors about Marvel unless they are actually making a Marvel movie?) When discussing the movies that really shook him in some way, he told the LA Times:

"I think' Bambi' is well known for traumatizing children, it's a cliché, but it's true. The only other movie I couldn't handle and had to leave was at a drive-in in Tennessee. I was there alone, sitting on the gravel by a speaker, watching Wes Craven's 'Last House on the Left.' So for me, 'Last House on the Left' and 'Bambi' are sitting on the f****** shelf right next to each other. Both take place in the woods, and both had me saying, 'I gotta get out of here!'"

While it's hard imagining much of anything getting under Tarantino's skin, given the intensity of his films and some of the horrors within them, it's kind of funny that the only two films to ever do it are so wildly different. Then again, maybe Tarantino just really doesn't like the woods. With all of the horror movies set there, who could blame him? Besides, it's important for people to recognize their boundaries and know when to cut out of a bad experience, even if they're a famous director!

It's ok to bail!

Oddly enough, when I was a teenager and my mom took me to see "Kill Bill Volume 1" because I begged her for weeks on end, she decided shortly after Buck's (Michael Bowen) death that the movie was too much for both of us and she dragged me out of there. For years I used to watch movies just to say that I had gotten through them, including films like "Last House on the Left," "I Spit on Your Grave," and more, but it took me until my 30s to realize that wasn't healthy and didn't really matter, anyway. Who cares about bragging rights if you're just doing yourself harm? Sometimes a movie can be too much for someone to watch, for whatever reason, and it's ok to step away. Sometimes you just need to collect yourself for a minute and try again later, and sometimes the movie is too much entirely, and that's okay. No one will think less of you as a movie fan because you couldn't finish any particular movie. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go write a wilderness-based horror film to try and go for a third Tarantino tap-out. Eat your heart out, "Evil Dead."