5 Famous Films' Side Characters With Messed Up Backstories
Dig deep enough, and you're bound to find some disturbing shit. That's not just the first rule they teach you at Proctology School (the second one being "If your thermometer is in your pocket and you can't find your pen, it means some asshole's got it") but also an undeniable fact about your favorite movies and TV shows.
Case in point: we've looked into the backstories of a bunch of mostly forgotten minor fictional characters and discovered some majorly messed up things, like how ...
The Gimp from Pulp Fiction Is a Kidnapping Victim
Much like the thing European royals never considered a dealbreaker when it came to marriage, the definition of "dark" is relative. In a movie already as violent as Pulp Fiction, where a character gets stabbed to life, and another gets shot point-blank in the goddamn face, you would have to really go out of your way for people to ask, "Why doesn't this movie come with a pillow that I can scream into for all eternity?"
Enter the Gimp. Introduced by Zed and Maynard, he was the leather bondage suit-clad sex slave living in a cage underneath Maynard's pawnshop, where he assumingly helped the duo kidnap and rape a bunch of people over the years. So no one really shed a tear for him when Tarantino revealed last year that after Butch slugged him, the Gimp passed out and ended up accidentally hanging himself. Unfortunately, he then kept talking.
In Tarantino's mind, the Gimp was a hitchhiker or someone like that who was kidnapped by Zed and Maynard seven years ago. They "trained" him mercilessly until they finally broke him and turned him into a "perfect victim" that's now totally under their control to the point where he helps his tormentors do to others what they've done to him. This never made it into the movie because, well, it's not the Gimp's story but, also, it's just an entirely different kind of violence than the one we've seen up to that point.
Most of the other awful stuff in Pulp Fiction was bad, but it was also instantaneous. No one in the movie really suffered at length, unless you count Christopher Walken's issues with intestinal timing. But the Gimp endured brutal sexual assault and violence for YEARS without anyone coming to his help until there was nothing left of the man he once was. We think that qualifies as "dark"* even in the already messed-up world of Pulp Fiction.
*Unless you're in Europe, in which case it would probably be "le dark with cheese."
The Death of The Little Mermaid's Mom Was a Massacre
We never got to meet Ariel's mother in The Little Mermaid due to her off-screen death from terminal Disney originitis. But her absence was still felt all throughout the film. She was the missing person to whom Ariel couldn't confide in about her interest in the human world, causing the little girl to build it up in her mind until the fantasy consumed her and caused her to stick forks in her hair. And it was pretty obvious that her death had something to do with King Triton being so distrustful of the human world. (Sebastian, on the other hand, simply didn't care much for humans because he was a crabby guy.)
So although we don't learn much about her, we do know she was an important person to both Ariel and her dad. We can leave it at that. Here's how Disney didn't leave it at that.
In the direct-to-video 2008 movie The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, we get the entire bloody scoop on Ariel's mom, Athena. One day, she and Triton were celebrating their anniversary at some cove when pirates attacked. Sadly, not being the Pirates of the Caribbean-kind of mermaids, the family tried to escape, but Ariel's older sister Attina got stuck between some rocks. As her mother freed her, the pirates lost control of the ship, smashing straight into Athena, crushing her between their vessel and the rocks. This sunk their ship, most likely causing some if not all of the pirates to drown. And let's be honest, if any survived, Triton probably remedied that quickly. What we are getting at is that there is definitely a place somewhere in the world of Disney's The Little Mermaid that the locals call something like The Red Cove, Slaughter Bay, or Deadman's Inlet.
And yet, that's still less upsetting than comic book writer Peter David's unpublished idea for Athena's story, where she was supposed to have had a human "friend" for whom she posed for "portraits." Until a rival artist killed her with an avalanche. Then Triton (accidentally) kills him but spares his wife's boyfriend when she pulls a Mufasa and talks him out of it from Heaven, so he swims off and lives the rest of his life under the C (for "cuckold.")
The President from Escape from New York Has ... Famous Parents
It's easy to forget that Escape from New York (1981) had an actual plot outside of "Kurt Russell's Snake Plissken is just so goddamn awesome." But stuff does happen in the movie. The stuff includes all of Manhattan being turned into a prison island and the prisoners there kidnapping the President of the United States, whom Snake has to rescue. The movie ends with the President turning out to be a shithead and Snake causing him to become humiliated during a speech. Our younger readers must understand that the idea of the President looking stupid and it having any sort of real consequences was easier to believe back then.
Anyway, that President could probably talk his way out of it, what with Donald Pleasence's pleasing English accent. Actually, now that we think about it, why DID Pleasence's character, the President of the United States, have a British accent? Pleasence came up with his own theory for that.
According to director John Carpenter, the actor came up with a whole backstory for the POTUS character and the world he lived in. According to Pleasence's vision, in the time the movie takes place, the UK became a global superpower, conquered the United States, and reestablished it as a British colony. Margaret Thatcher apparently orchestrated the invasion, after which she invaded Ronald Reagan's bathing suit area, eventually having a child with him. That child then grew up to become Pleasence's President John Harker, the only conservative politician who called Thatcher "mommy" in a non-sexual context. Although...
Thankfully, all that stuff was ignored to make room in the movie for the much more sensible scenes of baseball bat boxing, creating the classic of cinema we know today.
Skeletor's Minion Beast-Man is Basically the He-Man Version of the Gimp
Beast-Man from He-Man is the red-fur-covered minion of Skeletor who can control wild animals, and 100% was nicknamed "Santa Claus" (because he obviously has a red sack.) He was primarily the cartoon's dumb comic relief, relegated to the role of taking Bone-Dome's abuse with a stupid smile. He basically was his Gimp ... right down to the kidnapping and brainwashing parts.
Although we never see any of it on screen, the He-Man series Bible actually states that Beast-Man used to be a regular guy from Earth. His name was Biff Beastman because his parents hated him. He owned a farmyard where he apparently abused his animals until he got a job as a technician on a spacecraft (yeah, that cliche old story.) The spacecraft, which was piloted by He-Man's future mom, crash-landed on Eternia, and the pilot, Marlena Glenn, was taken in by the King himself while Biff was found by Extinguished Ghost Rider. But, in the end, both ended up getting fucked.
After finding Biff, the Boner Lord experimented on him, turning him into the unholy crossover between man and Tormund's nutsack. Although we have no way of confirming this, we can probably assume that Ol' No-Skin went with a beast theme because of Biff's hilarious last name, which is probably a good thing his surname wasn't Weiner, Butt, or Cummings. Although we would pay good money to watch that porno.
This origin was detailed in the 1985 book New Champions of Eternia, which mentions that Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops were also part of the crashed ship's crew. But, see, Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops are specifically shown to be one of Calcium Chief's smartest warriors, which makes sense since they used to be Earth scientists. Biff also probably had a brain if he was their technician. But after his transformation, there were few signs of higher intelligence in him. Now, we are not implying that He Who Is Terrible at Blowjobs basically lobotomized him. We're saying it outright because it was confirmed by a German He-Man audiobook series where Beast-Man is tortured by Skeletor and given a toxin that shaves off a few dozen of his IQ points. Although ... wait ... Unnecessarily cruel, named Biff, with access to a sci-fi vehicle? Have we just uncovered a link between He-Man and Back to the Future?!
The Backstory of the Dancer in Jabba's Palace Will Ruin Return of the Jedi For You
We've mentioned before that Hollywood seems to believe that women with more than two breasts are destined for sex work. It works like this: if breasts are linked to sexiness, then by Hollywood's weird-(chest)ass logic, a woman who has more than two breasts has a ... surplus of sexiness. She has so much sexiness (in her sex sacks), she doesn't know what to do with it all. So she decides to sell it, which is why so many multi-boobed characters are prostitutes and strippers. Enter the six-breasted Yarna d'al' Gargan from Return of the Jedi.
She was one of the "exotic" dancing girls at Jabba's palace until she was put out of work because of blockchain. That is, Leia blocked Jabba's airways with a chain, killing him. Gargan was probably pleased when it happened, considering what he made her do.
According to non-canonical sources (which, who cares, this is a minor background character we're talking about), despite Gargan being presented as overweight and covered in warts, that's not her real appearance. No, no, she is "traditionally" beautiful and quite slim, but she was forced to retain water and put on a bunch of weight by Jabba because he's like 99% love-handles, and he likes his women to look the same. Which, you know, other than the forcing and slavery thing, we don't judge. Here's what we DO judge, though: Jabba also put those warts on Gargan because he wanted her to remind him of his "mother" Zorba. Let us repeat that: Jabba wanted his six-breasted stripper to look like his mom. There is no amount of fermented blue milk in the galaxy to look at the character the same way again.
As for Gargan, she later lost all the water weight and became "beautiful" again because, in Hollywood, sexiness is stored in the breasts, and a person with sextuple Ds needs to be sexy enough to arouse human Ds.
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Top image: Miramax Films, Lucasfilm