The opening of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight conjoins the iconic landscape of the Western, Christianity’s chief symbol the crucifix, and Tarantino’s oeuvre. The film gives the crucifix so much screen time that one wonders what its significance might be. That the film climaxes with the lynching of Daisy Domergue renders the crucifix teasingly parabolic. The opening-closing frame parallels the two hangings, as do the various eulogies associated with the lynching. That Daisy’s lynching takes place at the hands of the film’s two surviving characters—who, like the horses that lead the stagecoach team delivering Daisy to her fate, are black and white—seems to suggest that this crucifix raises some questions about U.S. racial violence. The crucifix is certainly atypical for cinema in that it does not hallow or bring triumph. Instead, this dangling crucifix (or aesthetics and ethics arising from it and the Western) may contribute to, rather than ameliorate, U.S. racial violence. At least, the deadliness of violent aesthetics is underlined by the combination in the film’s lynching finale with the revelation of the fictional status of the hope for racial harmony in the film’s Lincoln Letter, a haunting anti-War song, and the death or near-death of the film’s last two actors.
Walsh, Richard G.
"Now That was a Nice Hanging: The Hateful Eight as Parable?,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 21
, Article 17.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol21/iss2/17