Many years ago, I remember seeing a film (probably a really naff low-budget SF movie), from which the only line I can remember is an evil dictator saying to a captured baddy, “I see you have a heart plug fitted. We all do eventually”. The dictator then pulled this ‘heart plug’ out, killing the baddy – it was a plug with a loop on it, to allow him to do this easily.

Does anyone know what movie this might have been?

The other question about this, which I couldn’t work out at the time, is why anyone would have something that would make it so easy to be caught and kill you?

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1 Answer 1


Almost surely you mean David Lynch's version of Dune (1984). The evil dictator would be the Baron Harkonnen. In the film, Harkonnens typically install "heart plugs" on their slaves in order to control them. In the book they use poisons, if I recall correctly.

This also answers your second question: nobody would accept a heart plug voluntarily, but apparently for both Harkonnens and their slaves it is mandatory. I assume they give you no options.

There is a scene (warning: NSFW) where the Baron kills a slave boy by popping out his heart plug, purely out of pleasure. In both the movie and the book, the Baron has sadistic sexual tendencies.

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    Arghhhh! The painfully bad lengths that movie directors will go to to avoid admitting that their medium doesn't deal well with novel length written works never cease to amaze me. Jan 15, 2012 at 21:14
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    From that IMDB link: "Budget: $40,000,000" (in 1984). So, really really not a "low-budget SF movie", (compare $32m for Ghostbusters and $6.2m for The Terminator) although it may well have been naff. Jan 15, 2012 at 22:02
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    @Daniel Roseman: indeed, it wasn't low budget. However, everything else fits, so I bet it's Lynch's Dune the OP is talking about. It isn't naff either, in my opinion; it's just over the top and very confusing if you aren't familiar with the book. And of course, it looks bizarre to modern viewers.
    – Andres F.
    Jan 15, 2012 at 22:05
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    @IgbyLargeman Both attributes are relevant to the scene and help illustrate the Baron's character, since he is inflicting pain on a slave boy, and it is implied he derives sexual satisfaction from the act. His homosexuality is a kind of "SF book code" for "perversity" (note: this isn't my view at all), but I guess the emphasis is on sadistic.
    – Andres F.
    Jan 16, 2012 at 18:44
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    @dmckee Aaargh, I read many of those books, it's just that I cannot write an elaborate discussion of the portrayal of homosexuality in SF in a comment! I meant nothing by my remark except that Frank Herbert's Baron Harkonnen is meant to be homosexual and sadistic, and that those are noticeable traits of his personality, which is meant to be repulsive. Yes, I'm aware other authors portrait homosexuality in a positive light, but in Dune effeminacy/gayness seems to be code for "depraved".
    – Andres F.
    Jan 16, 2012 at 20:03

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