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Hannibal Lecter the serial killer.

Updated on February 13, 2016

Hannibal the Cannibal

Novels by Thomas Harris

In Thomas Harris horror novel series, Hannibal Lector is a character of fiction. Introduced in the thriller of the year nineteen eighty-one in the Red Dragon novel, Lector was portrayed as a cannibalistic serial killer and a psychiatrist who was brilliant. The sequel and the novel called Silence of the Lambs, features his character as the antagonist which is secondary after both novels’ serial killer. In the 3rd novel called Hannibal, he becomes the primary character. His anti-hero role occurs in novel number four called Hannibal Rising, exploring his development as a serial killer and his childhood. The first film adaptation came from the Red Dragon-based Manhunter, from the Harris novels.

Hannibal Lecktor

This collection features Lecter being played by Brian Cox with “Lecktor” as the spelling. In the year nineteen ninety-one, an Academy Award was won by Anthony Hopkins for his character portrayal and his Red Dragon 2nd adaptation made in the year two thousand two in the title that was original. The year after, Hopkins portrayed Hannibal Lector and was selected as the number one movie villain by the American Film Institute. In June of two thousand ten, he was named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the One Hundred Greatest Characters of the Last Twenty Years.

Red Dragon

In the Red Dragon back story, Will Graham, profiler of the FBI consulted initially with Lecter about a murder series before he even realized that the culprit really was Lecter. Realizing that Graham is suspecting Lecter, he stabs him after sneaking up on him not killing him but almost disembowing him Incarcerated after being convicted, Lecter is in the under the care of Doctor Frederick Chiltion from the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Lector despises Chilton and at a later point in time, Chilton makes a consultation with Lecter to catch “The Tooth Fairy” also known as Francis Dolarhyde, another serial killer. Through The National Tattler tabloid classifieds, Dolarhyde is provided by Lecter with the home address of Graham, which enables him to cause disfigurement for Graham plus helping make attempts to kill the family of Graham. At the novel’s end, he sends a note to Graham that states he hopes that Graham is not “Too Ugly.”

1988 Sequel

In The Silence of the Lambs 1988 sequel, Clarice Starling, FBI agent in training is assisted by Lecter to catch “Buffalo Bill,” a serial killer. Starling and Lecter form a relationship that is unusual in which the killer’s profile is provided to her and his style of operation as an exchange for any detail about her childhood, which was not very happy. Previously, Lecter met Benjamin Raspail, his patient’s former lover and Buffalo Bill. This information is something he keeps to himself, however, preferring to give information to Starling in the form of riddles and clues in order for her to figure this out on her own. Eventually, a bloody, dramatic escape is something that Lecter stages before he disappears. As he hides, he writes a well-wishing letter to Starling and one to Chilton that swears revenge gruesomely. Soon afterwards, Chilton disappears.


In Hannibal, the 3rd novel of nineteen ninety-nine, Lecter lives in a Florence, Italy palazzo under a name he assumed. There is a revelation in the book that one of the victims of Lecter has not passed away. This was a sadistic, wealthy pedophile who was mutilated and drugged by Lecter during one session of therapy. A reward is offered by Verger for any person who is able to apprehend Lecter. His intention is to feed Lecter to specially bred feral pigs for this purpose. Rinaldo Pazzi’s help is enlisted by Verger. He is an Italian inspector who has been disgraced along with corrupt Department of Justice official Paul Krendler, who also happens to be the boss of Starling. Pazzi is killed by Lecter and goes back to the USA in order to escape the Sardinian henchman of Verger, just to be captured. They are followed by Starling with intentions of personally apprehending Lecter. What happens instead is that Starling is also taken into captivity.


After a trap is escaped, Margot, the sister of Verger is convinced by Lecter to take revenge on her brother by killing him, since he raped her when they were kids. Starling, who is wounded, is then rescued and taken to his lake house which he treat her with. In that time she was kept sedated by him with attempts to transform her through mind-altering drugs and classical conditioning into his dead sister Mischa. One time he invites her to a dinner that is formal where the first course and the guest is Paul Krendler, and together they consume his brain. At this time, Lecter is told by Starling that the memory of Mischa can stay within him and remain alive rather than having her take his sister’s place. Her breast is then offered by her to him and they become each other’s lover. Three years later, the novel ends with the pair residing in Argentina.

Hannibal Rising

When Lecter’s cinematic rights owner Dino De Laurentis announced that he was going to create films that depicted the childhood of Lecter and serial killer development without or with the help of Harris, Hannibal Rising, a 2006 prequel was written by Harris. Lecter’s early life was chronicled by the novel from his Lithuanian aristocratic birth in the year nineteen thirty-three to becoming an orphan along with Mischa, his beloved sister. They became orphans when a Stuka German bomber attacked one of the Soviet tanks in front of their hideaway in the forest. Shortly after, Mischa and Lecter become captives of a Nazi collaboration band who cannibalize and murder Mischa before the eyes of her brother. Traumatized irreparably, Lecter makes an escape and resides in an orphanage where the dean abuses him and other kids bully him. When he becomes sixteen years of age, Robert, his uncle along with Lady Murasaki, his wife who is Japanese adopt him.

After the death of his uncle, he forms a pseudo-romantic, close relationship with his aunt. It is also at this time when he shows great aptitudes of intellect, and at a young age, enters medical school. Even with his life which seems to be comfortable, Lecter is consumed by an obsession that is savage with avenging the death of Mischa. As a teenager he kills for the first time, and beheads a fishmonger who is racist that gave Murasaki an insult. He then murders, tortures and tracks down each of his sister-s killers methodically. In the process he seemingly loses all trace of his being human and forsakes his relationship with Murasaki. At the end of the novel, Lecter gets accepted into the medical center of Johns Hopkins.


As the Manhunter film by Michael Mann of nineteen eighty-six, Red Dragon was first adapted into films. Due to issues that have to do with copyrights, the makers of the film change the way Lecter’sname is spelled to “Lecktor.” Brian Cox, actor, plays this role and his performance was based on Peter Manuel, a serial killer from Scotland.

The Silence of the Lambs

In the year nineteen ninety-one, The Silence of the Lambs adaptation was produced by Jonathan Demme. Anthony Hopkins plays Lecter and his performance won an Academy Award. Later, the film role was reprised by Hopkins with the Hannibal adaptation to the film. Lecter is apprehended by Starling who gets away by cutting off his own hands to free himself from being hand-cuffed.


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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I had watched Hannibal once, kind of interesting story and scary too, looks like he wants to devour you up with his killer eyes, voted up

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Great info you dug up...