Marsellus Wallace's "hard, pipe-hittin' niggas".

After all these years, it finally occurred to me that he wasn’t necessarily referring to guys who, you know, hit people with pipes. He was talking about crackheads, wasn’t he?


Crack heads was always my thought.
Get someone high enough and they lose their inhibitions. You could probably get some addicts to do some vile stuff for the next hit.

Something I’ve wondered: the line in question features the words"get medieval on his ass." Did Tarantino coin that turn of phrase?

“Pair of pliers and a blow torch…”

Just makes me shiver.

I think so. If not he popularized it; I don’t recall having heard it in those exact words before and if you google it there doesn’t seem to be any other origin cited. I have heard “beat him Old Testament style” before Pulp Fiction and it’s possibly that Tarantino heard that from one of his older southern relatives and tweaked it.

An aside: in a recent cable broadcast of the movie the line was changed the lines from

I thought it was interesting that references to torture, and a sodomy scene in general (which they cut little of- it left you with no doubt what had happened) are permissible, but profanity and racial slurs are considered unfit for television. You might want your kids to see that rape scene but you don’t want them using bad words.

Shows how naive I am. I took the literal view of breaking kneecaps with pipes. Crackheads makes more sense.

Totally irrelevant trivia: Tarantino, who loves jumpstarting the careers of former/faded stars (Travolta at the time, Michael Parks, David Carradine, Pam Grier, etc.), wanted Christopher Jonesfor the role of Zed.

Jones was an actor in the late '60s and had some type of connection to Tarantino’s mother (both grew up in Tennessee- not sure if they’re cousins/in-laws/friends/whatever). He had some big exposure- very good looking- his high water mark was Ryan’s Daughter(that’s him on the poster- the one who’s not a woman or Robert Mitchum), then quit acting. (He got horrible reviews for Ryan’s Daughter but he’d decided to quit even before it came up; he’d paid cash for a nice house, had money in the bank, a small child at home, was messed up over the death of his former girlfriend Sharon Tate, and just didn’t enjoy movies anymore so he walked away when he was still getting big offers. He dedicated the next few decades to painting and to fathering kids (he has many); his paintings got much better reviews than his acting ever did.

Anyway, he wasn’t interested in reviving his career, but Tarantino courted him and he was interested enough to meet with him. He almost accepted but decided he didn’t want his former fans and his kids and grandkids to see him as “soon to be living the rest of his short ass life in agonizing pain hillbilly rapist” so he declined. He did take a role in a small movie later but otherwise hasn’t done any acting since 1970.

Always thought it was crack. For anyone who doesn’t know, that line (“they’ll pull your pants down and go to work on you with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch” IIRC) was originally said by John Vernon’s character in the Don Siegel flick “Charley Varrick.” One of the best of that kind of flick from the 1970s.

I had the same reaction. Crack didn’t even occur to me until this thread!

You speak truth! Matthau’s and Joe Don Baker’s best perfromances, and Andy Robinson atones for his Scorpio role in Dirty Harry. One of my favorite all-time movies. Siegel was an Eastwood mentor.

I figured it was a reference to crack users. Which has a real sinister meaning when you think about it. You have to assume Marsellus Wallace has plenty of people on his payroll who are willing to do routine violence. But apparently they would balk at what he has planned for Maynard and Zed. So for this job he needs to get some crackheads who presumably are willing to do anything for money no matter how bad it is. And to give you an idea how bad that might be, we saw that his regular people are willing to feed somebody to dogs. So “getting medieval” has to be something worse than that.

What, a demonstration of three-field crop rotation, maybe a f—ing maypole?

Vogon poetry.

Honestly, I always thought that “pipe hitting” referred to sodomy. That he was going to get people who would be willing to rape Zed’s pals. The crack smokers probably makes more sense.

Gimp’s gonna be sleepin’, permanent.

I thought the line was “pipe-laying” so my understanding was similar to yours.

Either that or literal pipe-fitters who would be well-acquainted with a blowtorch.

Crack pipe. I spent some time trying to get an acquaintance off it it so first thing that came to mind.

I hadn’t realized this. Yeah, Wallace has stuff planned that’s so horrifying he won’t even ask his criminal underlings to do it. He’s going to get someone CRAZY.

Makes it even more chilling.

It’s just a -ing maypole.

I didn’t know about the Scorpio/Dirty Harry connection, though I did know Siegel directed it. What an incredible career – it wasn’t until I’d been watching “The Killers” (Siodmak – Robbie – 1946) every day and night for about a year (dig that Ava!) that I heard Siegel was a hair’s breadth away from directing it all the way then, way before his 1950s movies and, of course, before I’d seen his good version from 1964.

I can never choose between Matthau in CV or him in The Taking of Pelham 123, but he really shined bright in those years. Joe Don Baker – pretty much his scariest role by far. What was one of his lines, “I don’t sleep with no whores” – or something. Always wanted to use that on a first “date,” right before I confessed over dinner I’m a germaphobe and so don’t do oral pleasure. (edited for Pulp Fiction content).

This. Also, they would be less likely to ask questions about why it was being done.