In the aforementioned torture scene – set to the tune of Stealers Wheel’s 1972 song “Stuck in the Middle with You” — Mr. Blonde cheerfully cuts the tied-up police officer’s ear and then pours gasoline on him. Before it gets any darker, a bleeding-out Mr. Orange (whom the audience has virtually forgotten) guns down Blonde, putting an end to the terror. Even looking at the rest of Tarantino’s filmography after this, Blonde’s torture scene in “Reservoir Dogs” is arguably still one of the most brutal things the director has put on film.
In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, Tarantino said he wasn’t phased by people walking out of his debut film in reaction to the scene. In fact, he believed such acts gave credence to the authenticity of what he created: “It never bothered me when people walked out; it just meant that scene worked. Go to a video store, and nine out of 10 films in the action-adventure section are more graphic than mine. But I’m not interested in making a cartoon. I’m interested in making the violence real.”
Tarantino wasn’t just speaking in generalities regarding people walking out of his movie. The filmmaker would specifically recall the screening of “Reservoir Dogs” at a horror festival in Spain, where some big names in the horror industry saw his film for the first time and reacted adversely to the bloodthirsty antics of Mr. Blonde:
“So we show the movie, and, like, 15 people walk out during the torture, including [cult horror director] Wes Craven and [horror special-effects artist] Rick Baker. Wes Craven — the guy who directed ‘Last House on the Left,’ for God’s sakes — walked out of my movie.”