"OK, so this is what it's like to watch your movie in public," Tarantino thought at the time. Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, and Michael Madsen -- also on hand for Friday's retrospective -- agreed the debut could have gone better.
Technical snafus weren't the only problems plaguing the movie's early days. Attendees had trouble stomaching the scene in which Madsen's character, Mr. Blonde, cuts off a kidnapped cop's ear. Despite the fact that the camera pans away, the sequence and its aftermath were graphic enough to make some people head for the exits.
Since it was "the best scene in the fuckin' movie," Tarantino made it a practice to count these walk-outs as he continued along the fest circuit, one night tallying 33 in a single showing. The most notable? Wes Craven. Yeah, the guy behind The Last House on the Left couldn't handle Mr. Blonde cutting off an ear.
It might be hard to imagine a time when the beloved movie received such careless treatment, but things began to turn around after more people saw it. Mr. Blonde's scene, in particular, became legendary in its own right, thanks largely to Madsen's disturbing dance. Set to Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle With You," it's arguably the movie's most iconic moment. Surprising, considering it was all a happy accident.