WTFAW: Pulp Fiction

Seems we’ve got another fan theory to deal with. What is the subject, Dave?

Dave: The 1994 movie Pulp Fiction, by Quentin Tarantino. I’m a bit surprised we haven’t talked about this before, actually. It’s among the most famous theories in cinematic history.

Is that so? In that case, I’ve no doubt it’s a real winner… Oh well, go on then.

Dave: The Briefcase contained Marsellus Wallace’s soul!

I see… And what are the arguments?

Dave: Well, first off, the combination to the briefcase is 666. The number of the beast.


Dave: This, coupled with the glowing light, as well as Marsellus having a band aid on the back of his head is more than enough to prove that it’s a soul in there.

OK… I will concede that the briefcase has the combination 666.

Dave: You see!

However, you could just as easily make the argument that it’s just an easy to remember combination for a three digit lock.

Most people who have a combination lock or a password will keep it something simple, to remember it easier. Is it then so unthinkable that someone would take one of the most easily remembered three digit combinations known to man to lock a briefcase?

(Not to mention that the oldest surviving copy of the Book of Revelation was mistranslated at first, with the number of the beast actually being 616.)

The thing you need to understand about the briefcase is the history behind it. The original idea was that it was filled with diamonds. However, Tarantino had already used diamonds as a plot point in Reservoir dogs and changed it to something unspecified. When asked about it, you know what Tarantino himself said was in it?

Whatever you want it to be

See, in the end, it doesn’t matter what was in the briefcase. It’s just a plot item. A McGuffin. It’s not important to know what it is. All that matters is that we, the audience, know that whatever is in it is important.

Dave: But what about the glowing light?

I’m glad you asked. That was a last minute addition, with someone sticking a yellow bulb in the briefcase before filming. Because of this addition, which wasn’t in the script, the “something” in the briefcase became “something magical”. Of course, the same movie also has Mia Wallace make a square appear in the air without anyone questioning it, so perhaps we should just consider it artistic license, with the movie telling us “Whatever is in this is awesome”.

Dave: Aha! But what about the band aid?

The what?

Dave: The band aid on the back of Marsellus’ head!

What about it…?

Dave: That proves that it’s Marsellus’ soul!

What? How?!

Dave: How? Don’t you know anything?! It’s a well known fact that when the devil takes your soul, he takes it out the back of your head!

Aha, I see…

Dave: Yeah! Clever, huh?

That’s not the word I’d use to describe it. I think I’d go for “Stupid” or “Insane” instead.

Dave: Why?

Well, I did some looking around, when I first heard that argument. And you know something kind of funny?

Dave: What?

This “well known fact”? I couldn’t find a single, solitary scrap of evidence anywhere to support it. Not in any religion or mythology. Plenty of stories of souls leaving through the mouth and the eyes being called the “windows of the soul”, but no mention of the back of your head.

Dave: Really?

Well… no, not really. In fact, I did find several mentions of souls being taken through the back of the head.

Dave: Ha! See?

The only problem? Every single one of them was in reference to THIS FAN THEORY! You know what that says to me, Dave?

Dave: Uhm…

It says to me that here, we are looking at the absolute worst kind of fan theorists. See, your average garden variety bad fan theorist will cherry pick facts and outright ignore details contradicting their conclusions. They will misunderstand details out of ignorance or laziness.

These are the fan theorists I usually deal with, and dislike.

With this fan theory, on the other hand, we have a whole different issue. Here, someone has decided on a conclusion, gone out to cherry pick facts… and when they couldn’t find facts to support them, they FABRICATED facts to prove their point.

Until this fan theory, I put it to you that this fact has never appeared, let alone been held as widely established and accepted dogma, in ANY ORGANIZED RELIGION. Until someone supplies me with evidence to the contrary, I will say that this “fact” was fabricated by a moron (who unsurprisingly missed the point) for the EXPRESS PURPOSE of justifying this one, stupid fan theory.

That, to me, is downright disgusting! I can’t imagine how anyone who would support this theory could call themselves a fan of the movie and still look themselves in the mirror.

Dave: Aren’t you being a bit harsh about this?

This fan theory is the antithesis of everything a good fan theory should be; Having knowingly lied to validate their point. You think this is harsh? I should hunt them down and go medieval on them!

If I may paraphrase my own favourite passage from the Bible.

Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy stupid ones against the stones

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