Three Fun Facts About the Unforgettable OD Scene in Pulp Fiction

By Adam Clark Estes on at

Twenty years ago Pulp Fiction hit cinemas. No one had quite seen anything like the Quentin Tarantino masterpiece and its multiple layers of amazing. And who could ever forget the insane overdose scene that ends with John Travolta stabbing an adrenaline shot into Uma Thurman's heart?

Before getting into that, let me just say that there's no better day to watch Pulp Fiction than on Pulp Fiction's 20th birthday. You should do that.

But back to that OD scene. Not only does it scare you away from drugs forever, it also gives you a unique glimpse into Tarantino's bag of tricks as a film-maker. The Tennessee native is known for quirks like fake brand-names and hilarious layers of connections between characters. (Did you know that John Travolta's character in Pulp Fiction is the brother of a character from Reservoir Dogs, for instance?)

The first fun fact about the OD scene that I want to share is actually a mistake. If you notice, when Uma Thurman walks into the house, she's wearing a coat that belongs to John Travolta. When she goes to light a cigarette a few moments later, the jacket disappears, only to reappear after the cigarette is lit. This is surely a continuity error on Tarantino's part, but it's good that the jacket didn't totally disappear, because that's where the drugs are!

The second fun fact about the OD scene is classic Tarantino. Basically, bad things always happen when John Travolta goes to the bathroom. When he goes to the bathroom at the diner with Samuel L. Jackson, the place gets held up. When he goes to the bathroom at Bruce Willis's apartment later in the movie, he ends up getting killed. And when he goes to bathroom in the OD scene, well, Uma Thurman ODs.

The third and final fun fact about the OD scene is really interesting: after Uma Thurman ODs, John Travolta rushes her to a friend's house, where the adrenaline shot happens. However, in order to get just the right look of slamming a needle into someone's heart, Tarantino actually filmed John Travolta injecting the adrenaline into Uma Thurman in reverse. Then, during editing, he played the scene backwards so that it looked normal.

Well, Pulp Fiction is a weird movie. Wonderfully, wonderfully weird and just as entertaining today as it was 20 years ago. [Amazon, iTunes]