The True Story Behind the Scariest Line in 'Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood'

The True Story Behind the Scariest Line in 'Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood'

Warning: this story features spoilers for Quentin Tarantino’s new movie Once Upton A Time…In Hollywood. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should stop reading here if you care about being spoiled.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is out now.
• The movie’s ending features a line that might stand out as extra creepy.
While much of the movie is obviously fictional, that line is absolutely real.

By hook or by crook, you’ll probably feel a number of different feelings in Quentin Tarantino’s new movie Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. You’ll laugh, you’ll be on the edge of your seat, you’ll maybe even cry (Leo’s character sure does). But there’s one moment where you’ll definitely be creeped out, and might even get goosebumps. And those Goosebumps are earned, because the creepiest line from that Manson Family moment was absolutely real.

During the film’s tense ending (which we’ve already recapped, discussed and broken down), there’s a moment when Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Leslie Van Housten break into Rick’s house and find only a very high Cliff, along with his dog, Brandy. There’s something of a standoff initially, but a moment comes when the trio asks Cliff who he is—they’re looking to kill Rick, who had just yelled at them. When Cliff tells them his name, he recognizes Tex from their earlier encounter at Spahn Ranch, but can’t recall his name. Tex responds with an absolutely chilling line:

“I’m the devil, and I came to do the devil’s business” he says, aiming his gun at Cliff.

Even creepier than the line itself within the film is the fact that this is something that the real-life Tex Watson actually said at the door before the slaughter at Sharon Tate’s house, killing Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, and Wojciech Frykowski.

Luckily, Tarantino doesn’t let the evil of the moment spew too much within his scene; Watson is played more as nervous and unsure than a confident evil. His hands quiver as he points the gun, and he even has something of an air under his voice when delivering the line. Plus, Cliff responds and totally takes the piss out of Watson: “Naw, it was dumber than that,” he says, not accepting his ‘devil’ answer as his name.

This line has also been referenced in other movies as well—Rob Zombie included it also in his movie The Devil’s Rejects:

Watson is played in Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood by actor Austin Butler, who does a good job in a somewhat limited role. Working with such real dialogue has got to be difficult, but he delivered the line in a way that felt in-line with the way Tarantino presented the rest of the scene, and movie.

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