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380 Days of Halloween: The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - Day 8

Updated on October 29, 2017
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Craig has been a writer on HubPages since 2013. He is currently studying for Marketing at Nottingham Trent University—in the land of Robin.

"The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) - Our first encounter with Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins)
"The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) - Our first encounter with Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins)

Hannibal Lecter: Where it all began

“The Silence of the Lambs” was the movie that popularised the character Hannibal Lecter as one of the psychologically scariest horror villains in movie history. In The Silence of the Lambs Hannibal Lecter is imprisoned in an asylum, run by Dr. Chilton. Hannibal Lecter is to be a vital asset, used by the FBI, to help track down a notorious serial killer, after he kidnaps a senators daughter.

Hannibal Lecter is not the prime character in The Silence of the Lambs, but rather an FBI recruit going by the name Clarise Starling, who is tasked with speaking to Hannibal Lecter at the asylum to get information out of him that might help the FBI in tracking down the missing girl and their serial killer.

The serial killer goes by the name Buffalo Bill as named by the news papers, but his disturbed mind and troubled past is nothing when compared to the ever so chilling history for the brilliant minded Hannibal Lecter. Lecter, before his incarceration, was a respected Psychiatrist in his field, and worked with many troubled patients, one of which happens to be the Buffalo Bill serial killer that the FBI are now searching for.

As it turns out Lecter had been planning an escape for some time, but only is it through his own efforts in helping track down a notorious serial killer that he is granted the transport to a more preferred facility. The FBI agrees to transfer Hannibal Lecter to a better facility on an island where one day out of every year he is allowed to walk along the beach and swim in the ocean, with SWAT overwatch of course.

When Hannibal Lecter finally releases the information to the whereabouts of their serial killer target, he is in the motions of a swift transfer to the new facility. Whilst awaiting confirmation on the identity of the serial killer, Hannibal Lecter is held in a lock-up within a court house for the time being. But, Lecter is smart, having already stolen the clip from the pen of Dr Chilton back at the asylum right before he was put in a transfer vehicle.

Hannibal, inside of his temporary lock-up is guarded by two round-the-clock police officers, and when they enter his cage to prepare Hannibal’s meal they are brutally murdered by Hannibal Lecter after the cannibalistic psychopath picks his handcuff locks in less than 60 seconds. Hannibal peels off the face of one of the now murdered police officers, steals the police officers uniform to wear, throws the dead body onto the top of the elevator, and lyes down on the ground near to the cage wearing the police officer uniform and the peeled face on top of his own. When the back-up police officers get up to the fifth floor where Hannibal was detained the disguised body of the injured police officer is taken into an ambulance to be rushed to the hospital. Whilst riding in the ambulance Hannibal takes off the peeled face upon his own, kills everyone in the ambulance, and even kills a tourist to steal their clothes as a disguise.

With Hannibal Lecter having cleverly disappeared, Clarise Starling is left to figure out who the serial killer might be, given that Hannibal Lecter had misinformed the FBI, only the clues were spot on and rightfully figured out by Starling, the sole FBI agent that found the location of the serial killer. This was purely by accident, as Starling was not prepared for meeting face to face with the Buffalo Bill serial killer, and tackles the killer into the basement where she tactfully shoots the killer dead with her side arm.

In all of this, the brilliant minded, cannibalistic, genius, seriously dangerous psychopathic, M.D. serial killer, Hannibal Lecter escapes without even the inkling of a clue for as to where he might be. Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a genius in analysing a persons past, and through this he knows how to get inside of his victims minds to toy with them before he decides whether or not to feed on the trophy for their (to-be) short lived lives.

The Silence of the Lambs - Review

“The Silence of the Lambs” was brilliantly formed through movie-making magic. It is rare to see a movie of this magnitude without the assistance of special-effects, CGI bonanzas, and the over-abundance of A-list actors/actresses. Everything about this movie is psychologically daunting, as this is the sort of psychopathic minds that could reek havoc beyond all means of logical, rational human thinking. In 2017, this doesn’t exactly sound like anything special, but back in 1991 this was a unique kind of psychological/horror experience for audiences.

Anthony Hopkins, the actor behind Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs), did something truly remarkable with his portrayal as the brilliant minded Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in that he played the part with ferocious, intellectual mind-numbing mind-games that could get to just about anyone. Lecter would say something about your childhood, and immediately he would have access to your deeper thoughts and emotional attachments in life. Hopkins also had the dead-eye stare that no other actor in a psychological-thriller-horror has ever shown before, and this only added to the unique experience that it was to see the movie.

Jodie Foster, the actress behind Clarise Starling (The Silence of the Lambs), was a magnificent addition to the cast, and it was clear from the very beginning that this was an FBI agent going places within the agency. As soon as Hannibal and Clarise first met it was clear that Hannibal could access her mind far before Clarise could even open her mouth to say a single syllable, and yet Clarise was earning brownie points for respect from the great Hannibal Lecter by throwing the pain back by gesturing that he turn his powerful mind of personal analysis on himself. Hannibal didn’t even flinch, but it was clear from facial expressions that he admired Starling, and so formed the weird relationship between Hannibal and Clarise. Neither said enough words to get the feeling of chemistry, or like-minded visions, but it was clear that Hannibal took a liking to Starling, and that she found his level of human anatomy through evaluating the person (not the name) to be of use to her cause (saving lives).

The Silence of the Lambs seems to have no meaning to the story whatsoever, except sounding good as a psychological twisty-turvy horror audience magnet. Not at all the case if you pay close attention to the movie, as the silence of the lambs refers to Starling’s childhood, as after her father was murdered by two common criminals, at the age of 10 she was forced to go live with her distant relatives. These relatives owned a farm, and one night she woke up to the sounds of screams, and finding the noises to be disturbing she walks outside and into the barn where the screams are coming from. The sound is of lambs screaming as they are being slaughtered, and Starling takes one of the lambs and runs away with it, but after reaching just a few short miles she is found be local county police. This was the childhood nightmare that Starling had kept with her throughout her life, and Hannibal Lecter used this memory to form a bond between the two of them. Not a tangible memory, but one that the two of them would share in utter secrecy, something that Lecter did all so cunningly.

Hannibal Lecter: Where It All Began!

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