The Silence of the Lambs - Hannibal Lecter, American Idol Essay

2018 Words 9 Pages
The Silence of the Lambs - Hannibal Lecter, American Idol

Few modern horror movies have matched the critical acclaim of Jonathan Demme's 1991 The Silence of the Lambs, featuring Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the cannibal psychiatrist. The film, along with Alfred Hitchock's Psycho (1960), is one of few horror/suspense films accepted by movie critics as one of the best American films ever produced. However, as the trilogy of movies in the Hannibal Lecter series progressed, many feared that the character would become commercialized, as he has in many ways. In the two subsequent films, Ridley Scott's sequel, Hannibal (2001), and Brett Ratner's 2002 prequel, Red Dragon, Lecter often seems more of a parody of himself,
…show more content…
The former is aptly represented in movies such as George Romero's 1968 cult classic The Night of the Living Dead, which focuses on zombies who return from the dead to eat the living and includes scenes of a daughter eating her parents and a brother eating his sister. Many critics feel that the zombies in the Romero film may be a critique on capitalism, as they could possibly represent the working class American or the animalistic nature of corporate America. Others have viewed the film through a political lens, reading the zombies as representative of Richard Nixon's “silent majority” or the weary soldiers of the Vietnam War.

Hannibal Lecter strays far from the traditional motifs of modern film that Wood outlined. Instead of having either the need for cannibalism for sustenance or an uncontrollable urge to murder and eat flesh, Dr. Lecter is very precise in choosing his victims and seems totally in control of his urges. As Roger Ebert outlined in his Chicago Sun-Times review of the film,

[T]he presence of evil [is] manifestly demonstrated [. . .] in the first appearance of Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs. He stands perfectly still in the middle of his cell floor, arms at his sides, and we sense instantly that he is not standing at attention, he is standing at rest-like a savage animal confident of the brutality coiled up inside him. Lecter, then, becomes scarier to the viewer because of his apparent control over his “evil,” a man

Related Documents