I’ve done a few of these Top 10 psycho scenes for Script Gods. Most of them, notably the Fargo wood chipper scene and Barton Fink’s Madman Mundt’s finale, or the American Psycho “Ever listen to Hughie Lewis And The News?” Paul Owen scene–are FULLY creatures of each director’s blackly comedic imagination. They are great because of the offset of the gore with humor.
Here, with this bathroom scene from Full Metal Jacket, the Kubric POV is on display (and with The Shining and this, who does better work inside bathrooms than Kubrick?) Would you call this black comedy? Probably not.
The set up was black enough…that jelly doughnut scene was brutal. Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) has pushed Private Pyle (Vincent D’Onfrio) to the breaking point. He’s getting towel beatings from the other marines, getting driven down on rifle drills, day after day waking up to utter hell.
Here’s the script, the full scene is below. Notice how the POV is with Private Joker. He is the witness, the audience’s POV…
The platoon sleeps. JOKER walks slowly down the
squad bay with a flashlight.
Our last night on the island. I draw fire watch.
JOKER hears a muffled sound. He isn’t sure where
it comes from. He slowly enters the latrine.
48 INT. LATRINE–NIGHT
Running his flashlight across the room JOKER Sees
PYLE sitting on a
toilet, loading a magazine for
his M-14 rifle.
PYLE looks up at JOKER and smiles. It is a frightening smile.
PYLE (strange voice)
JOKER stares at PYLE for a few
Are those … live rounds?
Seven-six-two millimeter, full metal jacket.
PYLE smiles grotesquely.
Leonard .. . if Hartman comes in here and
catches us, we’ll both be in a world of shit.
I am .. . in a world . . . of shit!
PYLE gets to his feet, snaps his rifle to port arms,
and starts executing the Manual ofArms.
Left shoulder … hut! Right shoulder …
and load! Order … hut!
PYLE picks up the loaded magazine, inserts it
into the rifle and smartly brings the rifle down to the
order arms position.
This is my rifle!
There are many like it, but
this one is mine.
his manner are those of a wanderer who has found
his home. He is a man in complete control of
himself and of the world he lives in. His face is
cold and beautiful as the dark side surfaces. He
Poetry, is it not? Then Hartman wakes and rolls in. Again, look at the detail, the description is screenwriting poetry:
“Sergeant — looks at Leonard and nods.
He sighs. Gunnery Sergeant — looks more
than a little ridiculous in his pure white
skivvies and red rubber flip-flop shower shoes and
hairy legs and tattooed forearms and a beer gut
and a face the color of raw beef, and, on his
bald head, the green and brown Smokey the Bear
HARTMAN bursts from his room, wearing his skivvies and D.I. hat.
My rifle is my best friend! It is my life!
Get back in your bunks!
I must master it as I must master my life!
Without me …
HARTMAN Storms into the latrine.
What is this Mickey Mouse shit? What in the
name of Jesus H. Christ are you animals
doing in my head?
Why is Private Pyle out of his bunk after
lights out?! Why is Private Pyle holding that
weapon? Why aren’t you stomping Private
Pyle’s guts out?
Sir, it is the private’s duty to inform
the Senior Drill Instructor that Private Pyie has a
full magazine and has locked and loaded, sir!
HARTMAN and PYLE look at each other. PYLE Smiles
from the depths of his own hell.
HARTMAN focuses all of his considerable powers of
intimidation, into his best John-Wayne-on-Suribachi voice.
Now you listen to me, Private Pyle, and you
listen good. I want that weapon, and I want it
now! You will place that rifle on the deck at
your feet and step back away from it.
With a twisted smile on his face PYLE points his
rifle at HARTMAN.
HARTMAN look suddenly calm.
What is your major malfunction, numbnuts?!!
Didn’t Mommy and Daddy show you enough
attention when you were a child?!!!
The round hits HARTMAN in the chest.
He falls back dead.
JOKER and PYLE stand looking at the body.
Easy, Leonard. Go easy, man.
PYLE breathes heavily, and keeps the
rifle aimed at JOKER.
JOKER is scared shitless.
PYLE looks at JOKER for several seconds and slowly
lowers the rifle. Then he stumbles back a few steps
and sits down, heavily on the toilet.
PYLE turns away from JOKER and stares into space,
a strangely peaceful look transforming his face.
He places the muzzle of the rifle in his mouth.
PYLE pulls the trigger and blows the back of
head over the white tiled wall behind him.
SCENE FADES TO BLACK