Off the Shelf
Silence of the Lambs
By Marcus Pan
Taken in chronological order,
Silence of the Lambs follows the events of Red Dragon
reviewed previously. Thomas Harris character,
Hannibal Lecter, remains as one of the best true sociopathic serial killers in
fiction. Released in 1988 in book format it was introduced to award winning
film format in 1991 featuring a captivating performance by Anthony Hopkins as
Hannibal. Lecter captured audiences attention worldwide as a completely
remorseless killer, and amazing psychologist as well, baiting the young Clarice
Starling into revealing truths of herself in an effort to gain truths about
another serial killer now plying his trade Buffalo Bill, who flays women
for their skin.
Since the release of the film, Hello, Clarise,
has become a national catchphrase. Jonathan Demme couldnt have directed a
better movie and the Hopkins/Foster acting roles were brilliant, launching
Jodie and Anthony to the top of their trade. It is one of only three films that
has won the five most prestigious Academy Awards: Oscars to both Jodie Foster
and Anthony Hopkins as well as Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best
Director. The book format is of course more sinister, with further dialogue
that couldnt have been included in the movie due to time constraints.
Lecters bait and switch and quick shot segues during the course of his
conversations with Starling are brilliant, and Id even read a 500 page
script of pure dialogue between these two characters because its that
interesting and mind crushing. Lecter is such a top tier villain hes been
compared to such notables as Satan (Paradise Lost), Darth Vader (Star
Wars series) and Professor Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes series).
The premise here as if you havent seen
Silence of the Lambs already is another romp about in an attempt
to catch Buffalo Bill, a serial killer wanna-be transvestite who wants to make
himself a suit of chick flesh. Bastard cousin of Leatherface perhaps, hes
filleted a number of ladies for their skin, keeping them alive for three to ten
days in a basement well where he starves them a bit for easier removal of his
prize. Working part time as a tailor, and quite a good one, for a leather goods
maker gruesomely named Mr. Hide, hes become quite adept at utilizing the
skin as a substitute for your usual assortment of animal hides.
Following such clues as a moths chrysalis, an overtly
random body location and similar meaningless cruft, Clarice Starling tries to
tap into the mind of psychologist and sociopathic killer Hannibal Lecter. When
Bills latest catch turns out to be the daughter of a powerful senator,
Lecter finds himself the recipient of prisoners privileges which he uses
by first enjoying himself by playing with the heartstrings of all involved with
cryptic selections of prose and dialogue, and then takes the lax security as a
chance to escape.
By the end of Silence of the Lambs Starling has
stumbled upon Jame Gumb, aka Buffalo Bill, and pops him one in the chest while
Hannibal Lecter takes a powder. He continues to write his good friends
Dr. Chilton from the asylum that held him, who he plans to pay a visit to;
Clarice Starling, whom he believes adds to the interesting nature of the world
and who he has decided against visiting because he feels shed be a loss.
And Jack Crawford, the man who caught him the first time. His letters are
brutal mindrapes from a man who can know far too much about you in a short
So we move on into Hannibal now, the third in the
series, in which Hannibal continues to ply his trade with his release.
Ill have a review of that one shortly, as Ive already begun it.
"Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Copyright © 1988 by Yazoo, Inc.
by St. Martins Press
Library of Congress: 88-18203
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