Pulp Fiction Briefcase - Functional Light Effect Ideas?

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Darth_Knight1

Active Member
Hi all,

Need some help from my fellow RPFers. I'm currently working on a Pulp Fiction costume and need some ideas on how to create the illuminated light effect (see images below).






As you probably know, in the movie the briefcase would emanate a bright "glow" whenever someone would open it up. Any suggestions/ideas of how to create a similar functional add-on to my briefcase?? I'd like to start this mod soon so any and all ideas are much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 
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KaanE

Sr Member
Simple. Just buy a yellow minibulb with the holder at a electronics shop (they're really cheap), a battery and a photosensitive diode.
 

Shendorion

Well-Known Member
If you want to go really simple, get a decent LED tactical flashlight, a lens from a pair of amber sunglasses and a bit of polished brass, and just tack the flashlight (with the lens taped over the flashlight for a lens filter to tint the light gold) and the brass in the bottom of the case to reflect it up at whoever opens it. The newer LED flashlights go long enough on a set of batteries that you could just leave it on all night.

You'd want to angle the flashlight so it shines down toward the hinge of the suitcase so the light is indirect.
 

Darth_Knight1

Active Member
Simple. Just buy a yellow minibulb with the holder at a electronics shop (they're really cheap), a battery and a photosensitive diode.
Sounds good. Curious, any way to set up this rig with a pressure activated switch of some sort (e.g., so that minibulb will only activate/illuminate when I open the case)?
 

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KaanE

Sr Member
Not pressure but light. That's the function of the diode. When the case is closed there is no light so the diode doesn't let the electricity to flow, when you open it and the light is in the case, the bulb lights.
 

Peruna

New Member
You could always rig something up like how a fridge light works. A little switch that closes when the hinge opens.
 

robstyle

Master Member
The original was just a light bulb with gel over it.

Look into basic automotive style dome lights. This is the dome light in my Honda Element that ive swapped out with a 48 SMD LED panel. They are available in lower numbers as that one lights up the interior of my car like daylight. Id guesstimate you could make the entire assembly for under $20 with a micro switch installed into the briefcase frame.

 

CessnaDriver

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I wonder if yellow LED's would be warm enough looking.

It might be better to go with incandescent, granted it's subtle but it may
invoke the onscreen look better. Some yellow gel for the golden look and some reflective foil to spread it about.
 

kurtyboy

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'd go for an old fashioned bulb!

I wonder if yellow LED's would be warm enough looking.

It might be better to go with incandescent, granted it's subtle but it may
invoke the onscreen look better. Some yellow gel for the golden look and some reflective foil to spread it about.
 

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APS221

New Member
I'm surprised nobody mentioned the "Critical Film Studies" episode of "Community." Jeff bought Abed the briefcase from "Pulp Fiction" as a birthday gift. Troy opens the case and the heat from the incandescent bulb sets the certificate of authenticity on fire. Of course, the briefcase turns out to be a fake ("Pulp Fiction" prop, it's still a real briefcase), but it's the thought that counts.
 

Darth_Knight1

Active Member
It's been a while since there's been any activity this thread, so figured I'd post a quick update to share the final product. Long story short, my Pulp Fiction costume (and briefcase) have been finished for a while now, so I wanted to post some pics of how I ended up creating the "glowing" briefcase effect...

Ordered a Not 100%-But-Still-Pretty-Darn-Close-to-Movie-Accurate Black Franzen Briefcase Off eBay
Note: HUGE thanks to Kurtyboy for his help on this. His knowledge, resources and insight were truly invaluable. Big kudos!!!


Lock Close-Up


Added a Fluorescent Light Bulb (Sprayed w/ Yellow Coloring), Lightbulb Socket, 12V Battery and Refrigerator Light Switch to Create the Yellowish "Glow" Effect That Illuminates Only When Suitcase is Opened


Close-Up of Lightbulb Setup


Front Profile of Open/Lit Briefcase
Note: When costuming as one of the Pulp Fiction characters at a convention, I never open the briefcase whenever there's a possibility that someone could see the lightbulb setup from the front or side (e.g., I make sure other people are in front of me only, not at my sides or in back of me). If I'm surrounded by a lot of people, I've found that just cracking the case open a bit to reveal the glowing light peeking through is more than enough to create the excitement of the whole "What's in the case?!" mystery.


Side Profile of Open/Lit Briefcase #1


Side Profile of Open/Lit Briefcase #2
 
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jasonw2112

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looks like that should work.

I'm pretty sure it has been brought up before, but has anyone ever found out what was really in the suitcase?
I thought I had read somewhere, that it was Marcellous Wallace's soul. Then again who knows!
 

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Jeff C

Active Member
Looks like that should work.

I'm pretty sure it has been brought up before, but has anyone ever found out what was really in the suitcase?
I thought I had read somewhere, that it was Marcellous Wallace's soul. Then again who knows!
Quote from Roger Avery:

Roger Avery said:
Originally the briefcase contained diamonds. But that just seemed too boring and predictable. So it was decided that the contents of the briefcase were never to be seen. This way each audience member would fill in the blank with their own ultimate contents. All you were supposed to know was that it was "so beautiful." No prop master can come up with something better than each individual's imagination. At least that was the original idea. Then somebody had the bright idea (which I think was a mistake) of putting an orange lightbulb in there. Suddenly what could have been anything became anything supernatural. Didn't need to push the effect. People would have debated it for years anyway, and it would have been much more subtle. I can't believe I'm actually talking about being subtle.
 

MoviefanAZ

Member
Looks like that should work.

I'm pretty sure it has been brought up before, but has anyone ever found out what was really in the suitcase?
I thought I had read somewhere, that it was Marcellous Wallace's soul. Then again who knows!

I heard that as well. I thought that was the why he had a bandage on the middle of his neck.
 

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