As amazing as it seems, there is somebody out there with a fondness for Death Rides a Horse, the film we talked about yesterday, and he's like a billion times more famous than me. That's right, Quentin Tarantino, ever the fan of crappy movies from the '60's and '70's, inserted a number of references to Death in his brilliant film Kill Bill Vol. 1. Since the two movies have similar themes of revenge (served cold, no less), the reference is appropriate.
First, watch this trailer for the American release of Death Rides a Horse (a trailer which makes the film look totally awesome). Note the music on the soundtrack near the end...
Again, absolutely badass trailer. Now watch this short scene from Kill Bill 1...
That's right, it's the same damn music! When I first saw Kill Bill, I hadn't seen Death Rides a Horse, so I obviously didn't catch the reference. When I bought Kill Bill a year later, after I found Death in that Wal-Mart bargain bin, I heard that music riff and danced around like a giddy schoolgirl. Just the fact that Tarantino is referencing Death at all is awesome, but the context of that song (called "Death Rides a Horse" and composed by Ennio Morricone) in KB, as a lead-in to The Bride's final showdown with O-Ren Ishii, is just amazing.
The other major reference to Death Rides a Horse is in the Bride's flashback sequences. Every time she confronts one of her adversaries in the film, the camera zooms in to a closeup of her eyes and the screen goes a pale red, as her memory of the attack appears faintly in front of her (if you watch that short clip again you can see what I mean). This is a direct homage to Death Rides a Horse, as the hero, John Phillip Law, has exactly the same kinds of quick flashbacks when confronting the people he's out to take revenge on.
The "Bill" character in KB may also be referencing the hero Bill in Death. There's also a line in the trailer that reads, "The bandits who killed five defenseless people made one big mistake...they should have killed six" (awesome). That almost exact same line is said by Uma Thurman in Kill Bill 2.
Once again, I was totally amazed when I found out that Tarantino had paid homage to Death Rides a Horse, and in such an awesome way, in his Kill Bill movies. I mean, a famous director, a crappy old western. What were the odds?