If there’s one person who can keep track of all the various genres and sub-genres and sub-subgenres, and where his films fit into them, it’s Quentin Tarantino. So while The Hateful Eight might be a Western like Django Unchained, it’s still a world away in its cinematic genealogy.
For one, the story of eight hard-bitten gunslingers trapped together in a way station is set in the white-capped mountains of Wyoming and not the sweat-streaked plantations of the South, starring an impressive roster of actors that includes Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
“I can definitely say that as bleak as our movie is, we are definitely the funniest snow Western ever made,” says Tarantino. “This is funnier than The Great Silence, it’s funnier than Day of the Outlaw.”
Okay. But is it funnier than Warren Beatty dying in a snowbank? “Oh, yeah, funnier than McCabe & Mrs. Miller.”
Despite the director’s love of spaghetti Westerns, his film owes more to the small screen than the big, specifically the weekly guest stars on the oaters of his youth like The Virginian and Bonanza. “You wait the whole episode to find out, ‘Are they a good guy or are they a bad guy?’ ” he says. “So I thought, ‘What if I did a story that was made up of nothing but those characters?’ So there’s no good guys. There’s no Little Joe.”