Here's the best chip-truth I have heard so far: There is a secret story in Pulp Fiction about Marcellus Wallace selling his soul to the devil, who extracted it through a small exit wound on the back of his neck. Hence the band-aid. This is also why Vincent Vega and Jules are sent to retrieve it, why the combination reads 666 and also why everyone who looks in the briefcase is dazzled. And that's why God saved Vince and Jules' asses. Insert Judaeo-Hebrew ethic regarding sin and getting anally raped here.

I always liked the idea I heard once on alt.fan.quentin-tarantino that it was the diamonds from the robbery in Reservoir Dogs.

It's a MacGuffin, of course.

Quentin Tarantino has said that Ving Rhames wore the band-aid because he's got a scar on the back of his neck and they thought it would stand out. Why they chose to cover it with something that makes it stand out more is beyond me...

He's also said, "It's whatever you want it to be," indicating that it's not what's in the case that's important, but rather the fact that everyone wants it.

On a side note, I think Vincent was killed because he didn't receive the same "sign" that Jules did. Jules wanted to repent, while Vincent did not.

It was, in fact, a 40-watt lightbulb.

Interesting that we don't really have a way of expressing the distinction between inanimate objects' role as props in movies and their "real" nature or contents. Unlike with humans (where we have the actor/character dichotomy), this seems to be a big hole in our philosophical discussion verbal toolkit.

I don't want to stir up an argument over what actually "was" in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction mainly for the following reasons:

  • The case is, as Sylvar and others have pointed out, a MacGuffin (see http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mpulpfiction.html), and has no bearing on the plot,
  • There is no way to deduce its contents with any degree of certainty from what is presented to the viewer, and
  • Tarantino has already revealed that, during production, a standard alkaline battery and a lightbulb were used, as Ninja-Lad reveals.

    I would, however, have no hesitation in throwing out another theory just for the diehard Pulp Fiction fans like myself who always love a new spin on the plot. Mine is slightly less melodramatic than the "Marcellus' Soul" or "Resevoir Dogs' Diamonds" theories which are so popular, and has slightly more evidence than the equally cool "Repo Man Alien's Body" theory, which is unsubstantiable.

    So here is my theory of what is inside the case: an Academy Award

    What leads me to think so? Anyone who has seen "Swimming With Sharks" will know that Frank Whaley, who plays the unfortunate chap eating a Big Kahuna Burger in Pulp Fiction, played the part of an assitant to a big-time Hollywood executive in that movie. Marcellus Wallace's wife was a failed actress, so is it inconcievable that he found and hired someone in a position to steal the most coveted acting trophy in the world, to give to his wife as the biggest pick-me-up present ever? While this would take some creative cross-film referrencing by Tarantino, this is a very satisfying possibility to me. I would chalk up the "666" combination to that number being one of the easiest for drug-dealing assasins to remember, rather than some mystical sign of a covenant with the devil. And to those who would question the golden luminence of a trophy, Oscars are coated in gold leaf.

    Just some food for thought.

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