(aka Red Dragon: The Pursuit of Hannibal Lecter)
d. Michael Mann
Based on Thomas Harris' 1981 best-selling novel Red Dragon, and from the screenplay by director Michael Mann. It was believed that the film's original title might have been misinterpreted as a kung-fu movie, so it was renamed with the bland title of Manhunter.
In the film's skin-crawling creepy prologue, a flashlight's circle of light (seen in a hand-held videocamera view), in an extended tracking shot, "stalked" and ascended a suburban home's main stairs to a second-floor bedroom where it was directed toward two sleeping individuals - the light caused the female victim to slowly awaken, as the film cut to its titles.
The film opened, in September of 1986, with former FBI profiler agent Will Graham (William Petersen) on a tropical Florida beach, speaking to his ex-boss Jack Crawford (Dennis Farina). Graham had retired (or quit his job) after suffering a heavy psychic toll, and was unaware of recent high-profile murders of entire families committed in Birmingham and Atlanta. Crawford was asking him to return to his job, to catch the killer who was working on a "lunar cycle" - with a little more than 3 weeks until the next potential murder during a full moon. Graham responded: "I'll think about it." A family man with one son named Kevin, he discussed the offer with his pretty blonde wife Molly (Kim Greist), and assured her: "If I went back, I'd only look at evidence. I wouldn't get deeply involved. He'd never even see me or know my name," but his mind was made up to return.
Back on the job, he was driven by a police officer to the most recent crime scene, where he crossed a yellow-taped line and entered an Atlanta suburban house (owned by the family of Charles and Valerie Leeds). He ascended the stairs, noticing a blood-stained carpet in the children's room. In the master bedroom, he saw a bloody, grisly murder scene (with stains on the walls, bedding and carpets), and recorded his findings into a hand-held tape recorder, about the deranged killer's skillful mode of entry into the house, the killer's description ("blonde hair, strong, size 12 shoe imprint, blood AB positive"), and the mode of murder. The husband's throat was cut (with evidence of "arterial spray" on the wall), and then the killer shot (and then strangled) the wife. The husband vainly attempted to prevent the killer from moving to the children's room. Graham then asked: "What did the killer do with them after they were dead?" During his investigation, the phone rang, and he listened to the dead female's haunting recording to "leave a message."
Later, in his Atlanta Marriott hotel room, Graham viewed VHS videos of the family's home movies, and recorded further thoughts about the post-mortem actions of the killer (who had cut Mrs. Leeds with smashed mirror fragments), asking himself what he might have done in the interval between killing the children and Mrs. Leeds' actual death a few minutes later. He then appeared to enter the mind-set of the killer, speculating about his reaction to the beautiful wife: "It was maddening to have to touch her with rubber gloves on, wasn't it?" He surmised that talcum powder found on the victim's leg came from the rubber glove that he took off to touch her, and that he may have closed the eyes of the victims with his bare hand.
Graham phoned boss Crawford and asked: "Is Price still in Latent Prints?", asking for the meticulous FBI duster named Jimmy Price to re-examine the crime scene, now that he knew the killer took off his gloves: "Dust Mrs. Leeds' finger and toenails and the corneas of all their eyes." In a police briefing about the case at the Atlanta police department, an officer mentioned that the killer was often referred to as "The Tooth Fairy" because of the peculiar shape of his teeth: "He has pegged lateral incisors." It was admitted that they had no motive and very little evidence, although Graham postulated: "It's in his dreams...His act fuels his fantasy." Graham had caught the infamous psychopath Doctor Hannibal Lecktor three years earlier, who had killed multiple victims. Price phoned with news of a partial thumb print ("with a tented arch") from the oldest child's left eye, and the fragment of a palm print off the nail of Mrs. Leeds' left big toe. Outside the department, Graham was confronted by sleazy, unethical tabloid journalist Freddie Lounds (Stephen Lang) who had covered the Lecktor case for The National Tattler and wrote the paperback. The nosy Lounds asked about the murderer: "How's he do 'em, Will?" Graham grabbed him physically, tossed him onto the hood of a car where Lounds' foot smashed the windshield, and warned: "Keep the f--k away from me."
Graham proposed visiting Lecktor to "recover the mindset" of a serial killer -- and the next day was led to the stark-white, harshly-lit, anticeptic cell of the notorious, brilliantly-perceptive, but insane Dr. Lecktor (Brian Cox). One of the serial killer's first questions was: "Do you have any problems, Will?" Lecktor had been an accomplished surgeon and writer, and had published an article on surgical addiction in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Graham admitted he needed Lecktor's help about the killer's choice of victims: "You want to know how he's choosing them, don't you?" Graham stated that although Lecktor was smarter than he was, he had "disadvantages" - the major one being his insanity. Lecktor revealed how he recognized Graham's after-shave lotion, and also noticed his non-cop rough hands and tan. He asked to look at the case file before considering the request to help Graham. After reading the file, Lecktor asked about the yards surrounding the homes, and postulated that the killer, in the nude, went outside into the big back yards to look at blood (transformed to the color black) in the moonlight. Then Lecktor responded with the real reason for Graham's visit, something Graham didn't want to admit: "You came here to get a look at me, to get the old scent back again, didn't you?" As he was looking over the files of the serial killer he had agreed to assist capture, Lecktor asked, almost as an afterthought: "Would you like to leave me your home phone number?" He then added as Graham hastily departed: "Do you know how you caught me? The reason you caught me, Will, is we're just alike. Do you understand? Smell yourself."
Complications arose in the case when Freddie Lounds published a front page story in The National Tattler about the fact that Graham had returned to work: "FBI Manhunter Graham, Consults Hannibal Lecktor, The Fiend Who Tried to Kill Him," accompanied by a picture of the profiler outside Lecktor's prison. In his cell, Lecktor rigged the analog telephone to connect to AT&T and requested that the operator dial a 301 area code for him - the University of Chicago's Dept. of Psychiatry, to speak to Dr. Sidney Bloom's secretary, where he was able to craftily obtain the home address of Graham: 3680 DeSoto Highway, Captiva, Florida. [Lecktor was seeking revenge at Graham, by discovering his home address and informing the "Tooth Fairy".] Meanwhile, Crawford sent a telegram to Graham (on his way to Birmingham), telling him that the Birmingham PD found a cat buried in the back yard, and that the killer also killed pets. A match still hadn't been found for the prints.
The crime scene in Birmingham revealed the Jacobi's' modern house surrounded by a big yard and woods, where Graham found a used Mars candy wrapper, and a tall forked tree that was used as a vantage point to peer into the house. He found a whittled design carved into the tree's bark, later revealed to be a lucky sign in gambling, and used on a Mah Jongg game piece - it was interpreted as "Red Dragon." Crawford and Graham also learned that an "Avid Fan" (presumably from the admiring "Tooth Fairy") had written a letter to Lecktor on toilet tissue, with teeth marks pressed into it at the bottom. Part of it read: "Investigator Graham interests me, very purposeful-looking." Graham was recalled by Crawford to Washington, DC, where the note was analyzed and one hair was found. The missing part of the note was thought to reveal how the Tooth Fairy told Lecktor to correspond with him - through a personal ad in The National Tattler. The FBI planned to pull the suspected ad and replace it with one of their own, to set a trap for the serial killer "Tooth Fairy" ("Mementoes for you at Baltimore Central Left Luggage. Ticket number 72683").
Lecktor's own 'personal ad' was intercepted, with a mention of Galatians 6:11 and 15:2, Acts 3:3, Revelations 18:7, Jonah 6:8, John 6:22, Luke 1:7. However, it was discovered that there was some other 'book code' being used other than the Bible, since Galatians had only 6 chapters, and Jonah had only 4 chapters: "The Tooth Fairy would have named a book he knew Lecktor has access to." Knowing the risk, Graham decided to run Lecktor's ad, rather than the substitute, and then proposed that he be used as bait a week later, although Dr. Sidney Bloom (Paul Perri) feared: "You're getting deeper and deeper into this...You could relapse, my friend."
Further details about the case were discussed with Freddie Lounds, who was summoned by Graham and Crawford to FBI headquarters in DC to work with them and publish material - the "Tooth Fairy" was probably gay, and had molested all of his male victims, and was possibly impotent with members of the opposite sex. In his past, he may have had sexual relations with his mother. Wearing body armor, Graham checked out a .44 special using Glaser Safety Slugs, suspended in liquid Teflon in a copper casing - "Guaranteed one-shot stop." The most recent edition of The National Tattler displayed a picture of Graham and reporter Lounds on the front page, next to Lounds' article entitled: "FBI Pursues Pervert." A trap was set outside the FBI building with Graham as the decoy, but the jogger-suspect was not the "Tooth Fairy."
Instead, Lounds was ambushed by the killer in an underground parking garage, chloroformed, and kidnapped. He was blindfolded and strapped in a wheelchair, and taunted: "According to you, I'm a sexual pervert. 'An animal,' you said." The tall, crazed "Tooth Fairy" with a cleft-palate and scraggly white hair wore a ladies' sheer stocking mask over his head and eyes, and forced Lounds to watch a slideshow beginning with a painting of William Blake's The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Rays of the Sun, with further pictures of his transformed female victims (Mrs. Leeds, Mrs. Jacobi). The killer told Lounds: "Before me, you are a slug in the sun. You are privy to a great becoming, and you recognize nothing. You are an ant in the afterbirth. It is your nature to do one thing correctly, tremble. But fear is not what you owe me. No, Lounds, you and the others, you owe me awe." Lounds was forced to record a note in which he admitted his writings about the Red Dragon were lies, and that Graham had coerced him to write the untruths ("He will be more merciful to me than to you. You will lie awake in fear of what the Red Dragon will do"). The "Tooth Fairy" then announced: "We'll seal your promise with a kiss," and after having his lips bitten off (off-screen), Lounds was set ablaze, and rolled down a steep underground parking garage ramp towards the camera - his death occurred later (offscreen) in a hospital.
The FBI determined that the book code selections were taken from the State of Maryland statutes, as Crawford told Graham its interpretation: "The bastard gave him your home address" - ending with Lecktor's statement: "Save yourself. Kill them all." A tense scene at Graham's Captiva, Florida home revealed that the local police had been summoned by the FBI to protect Molly and son Kevin, and Graham's family was moved to another location as a precaution. The strain of the case and its effects on Kevin were evident - he asked: "This guy is trying to kill us?...When are you going to kill him?" Graham replied: "I'm not. It's only my job to find him." Graham's son was aware that his father had been transferred into a hospital's psychiatric wing after the traumatic Lecktor case (Hannibal was attacking and killing college girls "in bad ways"). Graham explained his tracking method of entering the mind of the killer, although it meant he would became psychotic, and it took a tremendous toll before he could completely recover: "I tried to build feelings in my imagination like the killer had so that I would know why he did what he did, because that would help me find him...But after my body got okay, I still had his thoughts going around in my head." Only six days remained until the next crime was anticipated, and Graham vowed he couldn't quit ("This killing, it's gotta stop"), although Molly knew he would make himself sick or get himself killed.
In a subplot, it was revealed that the newest serial killer, the "Tooth Fairy"/ in real-life known as Francis Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan), was employed as a Production Controller in the Administration department of the Gateway film processing plant in St. Louis, Missouri, where he had access to family photographs and home movies - of potential future victims. He became romantically interested in blind co-worker Reba McClane (Joan Allen). After a dinner 'date' with Reba, the creepy Francis watched home movies of a pretty mother - one of his next family's victims - as Reba innocently sat on the couch next to him. Soon after, she kissed him and they made love, as she told him how thoughtful and sweet he was, and she stayed with him until the following morning's dawn.
Meanwhile, Graham continued his pursuit of the killer, speculating over evidence from the crime scenes, home videos of the families, and the killer's actions: "You rearrange the dead families into an audience to see what you do. You think that what you do will make you into something different. You are becoming. What is it you think you're becoming? The answer is in the way you use the mirrors. What do the mirrors make you dream you're becoming?" Later, the FBI determined that the "Tooth Fairy" drove a van with Goodyear tires. During a phone call with Lecktor, he heard the crazy doctor speak about God who should have been pleased when a recent church roof collapse resulted in 34 victims: "Don't you think that felt good?...It feels good, Will, because God has power, and if one does what God does enough times, one will become as God is." Graham reenacted the Atlanta killing by walking through it again, expressing his thoughts and feelings from the killer's point of view. He guessed that the killer covered the eyes of his victims with shattered mirror parts. His conclusion was that the killer "dreams about being wanted and desired, so he changes people into beings who want and desire him...Killing and arranging the people to imitate it," in order to make his dreams come true.
The "irredeemable" killer was an abused child and "battered infant...Someone took a kid and manufactured a monster...He butchers whole families to pursue trivial fantasies. As an adult, someone should blow this sick f--k out of his socks." Graham also added: "He needs souvenirs or trophies to re-live the event. Maybe he records it somehow. So he could see himself accepted over and over and over again." Then, Graham had a revelation that finding the method of how the killer specifically picked his victims would lead them to him - "There's selection and design in his choices." From specific details in the home videos of the families, Graham deduced that "either he was casing far ahead and we didn't check back far enough, or..." the killer was using the images from the films to plan his meticulous murders ("You've seen these films"). From the packaging and labels the films came in, Graham traced the Leeds and Jacobi films to Gateway Lab in St. Louis, Missouri, where the killer was undoubtedly employed. Crawford ordered transportation to immediately get them to St. Louis.
Dollarhyde felt betrayed when he stalked Reba's apartment from the street, and watched as another co-worker drove her home and caressed her face at the front door. He misunderstood and thought they were romantically-involved, although the male was just removing pollen from her face. When the man was leaving, Dollarhyde repeatedly shot him point-blank, and then the schizophrenic psychopath announced that "Francis is gone forever" when Reba opened the door. He reverted to his murderous ways, kidnapped Reba, and took her to his home as a captive. He terrorized her by not speaking to her and by playing Iron Butterfly's throbbing, hard-rock song "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" loudly on his stereo. Enroute in a private jet to St. Louis's Lambert Field, Crawford and Graham joined up Gateway employee van stickers with Missouri driver's license identifications to match with Dollarhyde and his location on a rural route in Chester, Missouri. When they landed, they were whisked away by police to Dollarhyde's residence outside the city.
Graham refused to wait for a SWAT team and other backup support, and loaded his own weapon with Glaser Safety Slugs. He and Crawford approached the house through the woods, as Dollarhyde was straddling Reba on his kitchen counter and threatening to slice her neck with a piece of shattered mirror glass. Filmed in slow-motion, Graham explosively crashed headfirst through the kitchen window, where Dollarhyde assaulted him and slashed at him across the face and neck with the mirror shard. Graham was thrown to the floor where he laid unconscious, as Dollarhyde extinguished his home's lights with shotgun blasts and killed a number of officers who attempted to enter the house. Graham revived and emptied his gun with six shots into Dollarhyde, who fell down dead on the kitchen floor, with his blood spread out under his body (like the wings of the demon in the Blake painting). Police sirens wailed as other support forces arrived, and Reba was rescued.
Graham was reunited with his family in Florida after the nightmarish ordeal ended. He admitted to Molly: "I thought I had to work things out and call you after." She replied: "I thought I wouldn't wait." They stood at the ocean shore together, as Red 7's tune "Heartbeat" played and the film ended.
d. Jonathan Demme
The film won seven Academy Award Oscar nominations and five wins: Best Actor (Hopkins) (win), Best Actress (Foster) (win), Best Director (Demme) (win), Best Picture (win), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ted Tally) (win), also Best Film Editing (nomination) and Best Sound (nomination).
The film opened during the credits sequence in the "Woods near Quantico, Va," where young Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) in a bluish-gray sweatshirt was undergoing a physical challenge to her endurance through an obstacle course. Midway, she was called in to see her supervisor, FBI Special Agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) in the Behavioral Science Services section of the Academy. His wall was covered with glossy pictures and clippings of a current investigation into multiple murders committed by "Buffalo Bill", with photos of mutilated female corpses. The National Inquisitor reported: "BILL SKINS FIFTH." Crawford entered and explained that he thought of the young trainee with an Appalachian twang for a job - more like an "interesting errand," to interview and obtain a psychological-behavioral profile - in a purely scientific way - on an uncooperative, psychotic psychiatrist who has been in prison for many years. The interviewee was the quick-witted, brilliant, convicted and imprisoned serial murderer - Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), known as Hannibal, the Cannibal. Crawford hoped that Clarice would find special insights into the personality of "Buffalo Bill" - the at-large, random serial killer. She was cautioned: "And you're to tell him nothing personal, Starling. Believe me, you don't want Hannibal Lecter inside your head. Just do your job, but never forget what he is."
In the next scene at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, Starling met with the head of the facility, smarmy Dr. Frederick Chilton (Anthony Heald), who cautioned about his "most prized asset": "Oh, he's a monster. Pure psychopath." The doctor divulged that her employer Crawford might be exploiting his young trainee - deceiving the attractive Starling into her mission with a fake questionnaire - using her as bait to lure, provoke and inspire psycho Lecter into providing the Bureau with information into the case. After a maze-like journey through the hallways to the high-security area, she took a tense walk along a dank row of medieval, high-security underground prison cells on her left to meet the notorious Lecter. There was a chair in the middle of the corridor next to Lecter's cubicle - down a gauntlet in Hell itself, where one of the crazy inmates named Miggs (Stuart Rudin) hissed abusively: "I c-can sssmell your c--ttt!" Lecter was imprisoned in a windowless, glassed-in, dungeon-like cell, decorated with his own charcoal or crayon drawings of European cityscapes (mostly Florence, Italy). The menacing, fiendish, but polite, suave and gracious Hannibal took the initiative and urged the clever, intelligent, but inexperienced Clarice to step closer to his cell to show her ID credentials: "Closer, please. Clo-ser."
The elegantly-evil, brilliant, omniscient Lecter was skillfully observant with extraordinary, diabolically-developed human faculties, perceptively capable of acutely deducing much about her identity, life, and character ("You use Evyan skin cream, and sometimes you wear L'Air du Temps, but not today"). Contemptuous of her from the start, Lecter was initially insulted when he learned that Crawford sent a neophyte "trainee" to him. Regarding his sketches, he told her: "Memory, Agent Starling, is what I have instead of a view." Regarding the mass murderer "Buffalo Bill," Lecter sarcastically asked about trophy-taking: "Why do you think he removes their skins, Agent Starling? Thrill me with your acumen." He then acted insulted by her questionnaire: "Oh, Agent Starling, do you think you can dissect me with this blunt little tool?" He then dissected her personality with a witty, but perversely intimate portrait of her soul based upon her West Virginia accent and "cheap shoes," with assumptions about her hillbilly roots, her limitations, and her aspiring ambitions. She became visibly shaken and ashamed, yet she composed herself and managed to swing back with concentrated anger about completing the questionnaire. Then he delivered his most famous, very graphic line about his ferocious oral impulses and how he ate parts of his victims: "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chi-an-ti." He then turned his back on her.
She departed from his cell after being rebuffed, as Miggs flung a handful of fresh semen at her, spattering her hair and face with it. Agitated, stirred, and shaking with rage, Lecter called out to her and she ran back to him. He gave her a cryptic suggestion to see one of his former patients: "Look deep within your self, Clarice Starling. Go seek out Miss Mofet, an old patient of mine. M-O-F-E-T. Go now. I don't think Miggs could manage again so soon, even though he is crazy. GO NOW!" Outside the hospital, Starling experienced a short flashback when she was ten years old (Masha Skorobogatov), the daughter of a small-town West Virginia policeman/marshal (Jeffrie Lane). Following up on the "Mofet" lead, Clarice discovered that Lecter altered or destroyed most of his patients' histories prior to capture and there was no record of anyone named Mofet. However, Clarice intelligently figured out that the "Your Self" reference in his words meant a "Your-Self Storage" facility outside downtown Baltimore close to where Lecter had his practice. Lecter's storage unit had been leased for ten years and the contract was pre-paid in full since 1980: "The contract is in the name of 'Miss Hester Mofet.'" In the jam-packed storage unit, she made a horrifying find - a grotesquely-bloated man's severed head preserved in a laboratory specimen jar. The face had been transformed into the face of a woman with the addition of heavy makeup (now smeared).
Upon her return to speak to Lecter, she told him that she had figured out his clues: "It's an anagram, isn't it, Doctor? Hester Mofet, 'The rest of me. Miss The-Rest-of-Me,' meaning that you rented that garage." He identified the head's identity: "His real name is Benjamin Raspail. A former patient of mine..." He hinted that Raspail was linked to Buffalo Bill: "A fledgling killer's first effort at - transformation." During their conversation, the ex-psychiatrist Lecter psychologically penetrated and pressed into Clarice with personal questions, exposing more of the mind-messing, exploitative game he had prepared for her. Powerfully desirous of knowing more about her, he circled around her in a dance of questions like a predator or in a courting ritual, asking if Crawford was using her. He then attempted to bargain, in exchange for helping her on the case: "I've been in this room for eight years now, Clarice. I know they will never, ever let me out while I'm alive. What I want is a view. I want a window where I can see a tree, or even water. I want to be in a federal institution, far away from Dr. Chilton."
Meanwhile, Buffalo Bill abducted his next female victim in Memphis, Tennessee -- 25 year-old Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith) - kidnapped from her apartment complex parking lot. He noted that she was size 14 with smooth skin. Starling was summoned from Quantico by Crawford to accompany him to another "Buffalo Bill" murder scene in Clay County, West Virginia, where there was evidence of post-mortem mutilation (the corpse's nude back was skinned): "They found a girl's body down in West Virginia. Been in the water about a week. Looks like a Buffalo Bill-type situation." They had a descriptive profile of the killer: "He's a white male. Serial killers tend to hunt within their own ethnic groups. He's not a drifter. He's got his own house somewhere, not an apartment...What he does with them takes privacy. He's in his thirties or forties. He's got real physical strength combined with an older man's self-control. He's cautious, precise, and he's never impulsive. He'll never stop. He's got a real taste for it now. He's getting better at his work." At the Grieg Funeral Home, Starling experienced another flashback - a scene when she was 10 years old viewing her dead father in a mortuary. During a gruesome autopsy performed on the body, Clarice noticed something in the dead girl's throat: "She's got something in her throat." She extracted a bug cocoon of some sort, tweezered out with forceps from deep inside the victim's throat behind the soft palette - it was probably "shoved" in there. On the girl's back, two neat triangular patches of skin were missing. After further investigation, the cocoon was revealed to be the chrysalis of a Death's-head moth.
The next scene provided a glimpse into mad psychopath and dressmaker Buffalo Bill's cellar liar, where he raised moths in a dark laboratory filled with breeding tanks. In the home, filled with fearsomely sharp utensils, wall hangings and strangely-clothed mannequins, the serial killer was naked and hunched over his old-fashioned sewing machine, working on his latest piece of clothing. He kept his latest "moth" and kidnapped victim Catherine trapped in a round pit dug fifteen feet deep into his cellar floor, who screamed: "Let me out of here, why won't you answer me, please?" TV news broadcasts publicized the news of the abduction of Catherine Martin, the daughter of US Senator Ruth Martin (Diane Baker), who delivered a personal plea to the killer to release her "little girl."
During her third encounter with Lecter, Clarice expressed her need for information to lead her to serial killer Buffalo Bill and save Catherine. She promised a "non-negotiable" and final offer [later revealed to be a phony deal thought up by Crawford]: "If your profile helps us capture Buffalo Bill in time to save Catherine Martin, the Senator promises you a transfer to the VA Hospital at Oneida Park, New York with a view of the woods nearby. Maximum security still applies, of course. You'd have reasonable access to books. Best of all, though, one week of the year, you'd get to leave the hospital and go here - Plum Island, every day of that week, you may walk on the beach. You may swim in the ocean for up to one hour. Under SWAT team surveillance, of course. And there you have it...If Catherine Martin dies, you get nothing." The charismatic, advanced, erudite, yet primitive and deranged Lecter offered her a counter-offer and diabolical deal - he would help her search for and capture the serial killer, but to fulfill her rescue fantasy for the vulnerable Catherine (and for all the world's victims), she had to share her deepest secrets and fears with him from her traumatic childhood so that he could cure her of her inner demons. He called the game "Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no? Yes or no, Clarice?"
The fatherless heroine confessed to him her father's senseless death when she was ten years old, and when orphaned, living with her mother's cousin and husband on a sheep ranch in Montana, before running away. In exchange, she learned about the moth: "The significance of the moth is change. Caterpillar into chrysalis or pupa. From thence into beauty. Our Billy wants to change too." She also was told: "Billy is not a real trans-sexual, but he thinks he is. He tries to be. He's tried to be a lot of things, I expect." In addition, Buffalo Bill might have applied for trans-sexual surgery. In any case, the criminal serial killer wasn't born one, but suffered childhood abuse: "He was made one through years of systematic abuse. Billy hates his own identity, you see, and he thinks that makes him a trans-sexual. But his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying." Both of them were unaware that Dr. Chilton was eavesdropping ('bugging') their conversation with a tape player and earphone speaker. Shortly later, Dr. Lecter was made captive by being strapped and strait-jacketed to a rolling hand truck. His face was imprisoned in a grotesque hockey mask, and he was being mocked by his keeper, Dr. Chilton. Chilton revealed that the deal Starling had offered Lecter was a complete sham ("They scammed you, Hannibal"), and then described his own deal with the Senator: "Identify Buffalo Bill, by name, and if the girl is found in time, Senator Martin will have you transferred to Brushy Mountain State Prison, in Tennessee."
Lecter was transferred to another prison facility in Memphis at Senator Martin's request. There while restrained at the airport, he played another insulting "quid pro quo" game with Senator Martin, FBI agents, and other Justice Department officials, about Buffalo Bill: "Buffalo Bill's real name is Louis Friend. I met him just once. He was referred to me in April or May 1980 by my patient Benjamin Raspail. They were lovers, you see. But Raspail had become very frightened. Apparently, Louis had murdered a transient and done things with her skin." He then yelled out: "Five-foot-ten, strongly built, about 180 pounds. Hair blonde, eyes pale blue. He'd be about thirty-five now. He said he lived in Philadelphia but may have lied. That's all I can remember, Martin, but if I think of any more, I will let you know. Oh, and Senator, just one more thing. (The Senator turned back) Love your suit!"
Afterwards, Lecter was held in a massive iron cage in the middle of the fifth floor, the Historical Society Room, of the Shelby County Courthouse in Memphis. Starling visited Lecter there during a fourth and final memorable encounter ("Good evening, Clarice"), and first confronted him about his false leads given to the Senator. Dr. Lecter gave Clarice other hints and clues that led to the serial killer, suggesting the madman's motivation and how the murderer might have begun his string of attacks. And Clarice yielded her ultimate emotional secret of a traumatic childhood event when she tried to save a spring lamb from slaughter at her relative's sheep farm - and was still suffering dreams of lambs screaming: "And you think if you save poor Catherine you could make them stop, don't you? You think if Catherine lives, you won't wake up in the dark ever again to that awful screaming of the lambs." Dr. Chilton interrupted their conversation and she was escorted by police from the building. Later that evening, as Lecter listened to Bach's Goldberg Variations, Lecter escaped from his cuffs and lunged at Sgt. Jim Pembry (Alex Coleman) with gruesome, face-eating cannibalism, finishing the man off by spraying mace into his eyes. During his murderous rampage, the second guard Sgt. Boyle (Charles Napier) was mercilessly beaten to death by the bloody-faced Lecter with a police riot baton. After Lecter escaped from his cell, officers found the bloody and savaged body of Sgt. Boyle strung up high on the cell bars like Christ, and surviving "Pembry" was barely alive. Atop the elevator, a SWAT team found the 'dead' body of "Lecter." As the faceless "Pembry" was transported by ambulance, it was revealed that "Pembry" was actually Lecter, who had created the deception by switching clothes. After removing his facial mask in the ambulance, he approached to kill the paramedic. It was learned that Lecter had killed the ambulance crew and a tourist for his clothes and cash, and deposited the ambulance at the Memphis airport for his escape.
Using Lecter's last clue, about how Buffalo Bill coveted what he saw every day, Starling realized that the serial killer knew his first victim, Fredrica Bimmel, who was from the riverfront town of Belvedere, Ohio, but who had traveled to Chicago by bus to see about a job - where she was abducted. Single-handedly, Clarice drove to the Bimmel household where she discovered that Fredrica had been a dressmaker. She was startled by an unfinished dress with a dressmaker's pattern still pinned to the back - the patterns were of two, white-shaped triangles - sewing darts similar to the missing triangles of skin on the dead girl's back in the West Virginia funeral home. She phoned Crawford with the news: "He's making himself a 'woman's suit,' Mr. Crawford, out of real women. And he, he can sew, this guy. He's, he's very skilled. He's a tailor or a dressmaker. That's why they're all so big. He has to keep them alive, so he can starve them awhile, so he can loosen their skin..." Crawford had already discovered the killer's name, Jame Gumb (aka John Grant), after cross-referencing Lecter's notes with John Hopkins Hospital and finding that Gumb had once applied for a sex-change operation, and had also ordered live caterpillars from Surinam. Crawford was planning a SWAT team raid on Gumb's residence in Calumet City, Illinois. At the same time back in Belvedere, Ohio, Clarice spoke to the victim's best friend Stacy Hubka (Lauren Roselli), and learned that Fredrica used to do alterations for a woman in town named Mrs. Lippman. Meanwhile, the crazed transvestite serial killer was making final preparations to kill Catherine, by primping before his mirror, applying makeup to his eyebrows, adjusting a nipple ring, adorning himself with jewelry, and putting on lipstick. With frizzed-out hair, a naked and hairless Gumb danced, spread his arms out and opened his colorful robe like wings, tucking his genitals out of sight between his thighs - he was ready to emerge ('from his cocoon' like the death's-head moth) as a completely-transformed person.
Starling's interview led her to the Lippman house, where she was confronted by Jame Gumb himself, who revealed he had bought the house two years earlier. While the SWAT team and Crawford were mistakenly breaking into the wrong house in Illinois, Clarice came face-to-face with the uptight serial killer who gave her a false name (Jack Gordon). As she entered, she saw a Death's-Head Moth flutter by and land on a colorful spool of thread - two obvious clues linking "Jack Gordon" to the serial killer. She whipped out her gun with shaking hands and commanded him to "Freeze!" With two steps, he evaded her, ducked into the kitchen, and disappeared into the cellar, where she followed and discovered distress cries from Catherine. In the climactic, terrifying chase sequence in the dungeon-like hideaway, Gumb extinguished the lights and menacingly watched Starling with night-vision goggles. When he cocked the hammer of his gun, the loud metallic click tipped Clarice to his location, and she fired flaming shots from her gun muzzle at him, at point-blank range, killing him. Catherine was successfully rescued, as the house was surrounded with an ambulance, TV crews, and police cars.
At her FBI Academy graduation party, Crawford told Starling: "Your father would have been proud today." Clarice retrieved a long distance phone call from Lecter-at-large, disguised and calling from a phone at an open-air cafe at a tropical airport terminal in the Caribbean. Her heroic, determined rescue of Catherine, the latest female victim of a serial killer, had presumably silenced the lambs once and for all. Lecter assured her: "I have no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world's more interesting with you in it. Say, you take care now to extend me the same courtesy." She replied: "You know I can't make that promise." And then he excused himself: "I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye." Literally, he noticed his arch-nemesis, the despicable Dr. Frederick Chilton deplaning - he put on a Panama hat and slowly walked into the crowded, narrow street of the Caribbean village and disappeared. The camera pulled back and rose overhead to watch, as the end credits rolled over the scene.
d. Ridley Scott
The film opened, in the pre-credits sequence, with psychiatric Nurse Barney (Frankie Faison) answering questions regarding the past "friendly" relationship at an asylum between FBI agent Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) and villainous serial killer and brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), known for brutal murders and savage cannibalism. He was speaking to the horribly disfigured, paralyzed, wheelchair-bound and wealthy Mason Verger (an uncredited and unrecognizable Gary Oldman), one of Lecter's many victims, who sought revenge. Barney told Verger that with Starling, unlike with others, Lecter "answered her questions. She interested him. She intrigued him." Verger ordered his attending private physician, Dr. Cordell Doemling (Zeljko Ivanek), to cut a check for $250K for Lecter memorabilia - his hockey mask.
After the credits, a coordinated DEA/FBI/police drug raid was being orchestrated on the streets of Washington DC, and led by FBI Special Agent Starling, to capture notorious HIV-positive drug dealing queen-pin Evelda Drumgo (Hazelle Goodman) who was running a meth lab in the area of the city's busy fish market. Surrounded by bodyguards, she was spotted carrying a baby in a front-harnessed carrier, and Starling began to abort the raid ("All units stand down") - due to crowdedness. But one police officer named Bolton refused and revealed his weapon, precipitating a violent confrontation and gun battle. Starling was shot in the stomach (protected by a vest) and compelled to kill Drumgo with the baby (afterwards covered with the blood of her mother), who was wielding a MAC-10. The "ill-fated drug raid" resulted in the death of a BATF officer, later buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and five others. The event was controversial for the Justice Department and FBI for their "use of firepower rather than judgment." Starling was unjustly blamed for the "calamitous strike force" failure on a Fox News TV report, which described how she had attained celebrity ten years earlier when involved in the capture of Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter, and the rescue of Catherine Martin (daughter of a former US Senator from Tennessee).
Starling was named in a "wrongful death suit" filed by one of those slain (observed by Mason Verger, who subsequently contacted the Justice Department). A hearing was held by various government officials, including Justice Department representative Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta), during which Starling admitted: "This raid was an ugly mess," but she had a regrettable choice to either die or shoot a woman carrying a child. The politically-influential Verger, Lecter's fourth victim (and the only one who survived), requested that Starling meet with him at his secluded estate in Asheville, North Carolina, to share private information with her, and have her reassigned to the "celebrated case" - in exchange for clearing her from the DC public relations mess. [Later, the Guinness Book of World Records stated that she was infamously recognized for being "The Female FBI Agent Who Has Shot and Killed the Most People".]
In Verger's bedroom during a deposition interview, the bedridden victim of Lecter claimed to Starling that what happened was "my salvation," and then disclosed some of his past history as a child molester and convicted sadistic pedophile. He had been assigned by the courts to Dr. Lecter for therapy as his patient, and during a social meeting at his home (told through flashback), he pervertedly engaged in a S&M session, including sexual asphyxiation (by hanging), drug use (under the influence of amyl nitrite), and after Lecter's suggestion peeled the skin off his own face with a mirror shard ("It seemed like a good idea at the time") after which Lecter fed the pieces of flesh to the dogs. He then presented Agent Starling with "new information" - an X-ray of Lecter's broken arm (when he had been restrained following an attack on an asylum employee), received a few weeks earlier from Buenos Aires. Verger vowed: "I hope it'll help you catch him, to help cleanse the stigma of your recent dishonor."
Afterwards, Starling thoroughly reviewed the FBI document files and videotapes regarding the Lecter case in a basement, including one of Hannibal "The Cannibal" assaulting an attendant at the Baltimore State Hospital - with bloody face-eating. She also questioned Nurse Barney, who had worked with Lecter for six years at the asylum, while admitting her own fascination with the villain: "He's always with me, like a bad habit." She wondered what had happened to Lecter's mementoes, such as a signed copy of The Joy of Cooking (worth $16,000), suspecting that Barney had been selling Lecter memorabilia (such as the X-ray) for lots of money. He admitted his involvement, but stressed: "I'm not a bad guy," and then gave Starling his set of valuable taped conversations between herself and Lecter, recorded by Dr. Chilton.
The film's setting then moved to Florence, Italy, where Chief Police Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi of the Questura (Giancarlo Giannini) was involved in determining the reason for the disappearance of the Capponi Library's curator Signore de Bonaventura, who headed up the repository of rare books, historical documents, and art treasures housed in a Renaissance-styled palace. Pazzi met the temporarily-appointed new curator, named "Dr. Fell" - Hannibal Lecter!, wearing a Panama hat. There was no farewell or suicide-note, accounting for the past curator's disappearance.
Starling received a letter (sent through a re-mailing service in Las Vegas), with the envelope addressed to "Clarice" - sealed with red wax. The two-page handwritten letter, beginning with "Dear Clarice," was from Lecter, expressing how he had followed her "disgrace and public shaming," and knew that her previous success in capturing Jamie Gumb was now overshadowed by her killing of five during the FBI shootout ("Do you imagine your Daddy being shamed by your disgrace?", he asked mockingly about her humiliation) - "the sorry, petty end of a promising career." He intimated that her background was just "good old trailer camp, tornado-bait, white trash." He also noted, coincidentally, that he had returned to the FBI's 10 Most-Wanted List. He asked: "Are you back on the case? If so, goody goody...Your job is to craft my doom. So I am not sure how well I should wish you, but I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun." He also mentioned coming out of retirement and returning to public life.
Experts at a perfume company surmised that the letter's writer used a rare hand-cream ("raw ambergris base, Tennessee lavender"), hand-engineered and found (or sold) in only a few shops throughout the world, including Japan and Europe. During Pazzi's investigation in his department, he discovered a security surveillance camera videotape from a perfume shop in Florence and recognized "Dr. Fell" at the counter. He was also told that the "FBI through Interpol requested a copy" of the videotape from the perfume shop. He became suspicious after following "Dr. Fell" - who was seen drinking wine in a glass held by a napkin, to prevent fingerprints. Pazzi researched the FBI's website (fbi.gov) where he recognized, on the FBI's illustrated 10 Most Wanted List and database, that Hannibal Lecter was in fact "Dr. Fell" - with a $250,000 reward offered for the capture of the "armed and extremely dangerous" criminal. In addition, in a search for "Hannibal Lecter reward," he learned that Verger was offering a separate reward of $3 million for information that would lead to Lecter's arrest and incarceration.
In the next scene, slimy Justice Department official Krendler spoke to Starling about her obsession with the cannibalistic serial killer during her investigation, and their past relationship was revealed. He was still holding a grudge after she rejected his romantic overtures and sent him home to his wife years earlier. He crudely suggested: "And besides, this town is full of corn-pone country pussy. That said, I wouldn't mind having a go with you right now if you want to reconsider."
Meanwhile, Inspector Pazzi phoned the contact number on the Verger website, and was eventually told to obtain a fingerprint of Lecter before being paid with the first portion of the reward ($100,000 deposited in a Swiss bank account). He then met with "Dr. Fell" to pick up the previous curator's inventory of belongings in cases ("they must be as heavy as bodies," Lecter hinted), and discussed Pazzi's ancestor - Francesco de Pazzi - who was accused of murder and hanged at the Palazzo Vecchio 500 years earlier ("thrown naked with a noose around his neck from a window"). Later, Pazzi blackmailed a known pickpocket to rob "Dr. Fell" of his wallet, in order to obtain a fingerprint from him on a shiny wrist bracelet, but Lecter foiled the plan and the pickpocket ended up dead from an abdomen stabbing. However, the print was a 16-point match, to which Verger replied: "Bingo" - the first step in Pazzi receiving the full $3 million reward. Pazzi's next duty was to merely "point out" Lecter so he could be seized - alive - by "professionals." Verger notified his animal handlers and mercenary henchmen in Sardinia to be ready - they were training huge, vicious, human-flesh-eating wild hogs - part of Verger's ultimate plan to torture and kill Lecter.
Back in the US, agent Starling accessed the user logs of those who had viewed the FBI's database information on Lecter, and was curious about someone named email@example.com (Pazzi). She also recognized Lecter in the Florence perfume shop security tape mailed to her. She immediately phoned Inspector Pazzi and warned him about how Hannibal Lecter was a "very dangerous man" - but he denied knowledge of him or having accessed the private FBI files. Starling knew he was lying and confronted him: "You're trying to catch him yourself, aren't you? For the reward?" - and sternly warned again about the killer's lethal power: "He will kill you too" - but Pazzi hung up.
During an evening lecture to scholars at the Palazzo Vecchio, Pazzi plotted to kidnap Lecter after he presented his lecture - about the link between avarice, hanging, and self-destruction in the medieval mind. Prophetically, Lecter displayed slides of the death of traitor Judas Iscariot who was hanged with his bowels falling out. After the main audience left, Lecter showed Pazzi a picture of his ancestor's hanging, as he ominously foretold: "I'm giving very serious thought - to eating your wife" - before chloroforming the inspector. After binding him up with tape, the malevolent Lecter learned that Pazzi had sold him out to Mason Verger, and then intercepted a call on Pazzi's phone from Clarice ("Is this Clarice? Well, hello Clarice"), whom he referred to as "an old friend." Pazzi was then murdered - as he was pushed out of the palace window and hanged, Lecter cut his "bowels out" and his entrails were visible hanging down toward the cobblestone square. The killer also slit the throat of one of Verger's men with a scalpel.
Frustrated by how Lecter escaped, Verger contacted Justice Department official Paul Krendler and bribed him, for $500,000, to falsely accuse agent Starling of receiving and withholding a postcard written to her by Lecter. Starling was questioned, and framed by Krendler in order to disgrace her -- she was accused of withholding the note which read "like a love letter" and sounded like Lecter's writing: "Like a nut with a crush." As a result, ten-year bureau veteran Clarice Starling was placed on administrative leave, and forced to surrender her weapon and ID. She knew Verger was behind her suspension, due to his feelings of personal revenge against the "lethal madman" Lecter, and accused Krendler of being in "collusion" with him for a monetary bribe.
Lecter appeared back in the US, and snuck into Krendler's home in Chesapeake Beach, VA while he was off bike-riding, and stole Krendler's Verizon phone bill. He then purchased an elaborate set of cookware, place settings, and crystal, robbed a hospital's morgue of various pieces of equipment (including a bone saw), and took everything to a wooded, private lakefront house. The creepy Lecter also spied upon Starling in her own home as she slept, and then phoned her - and instructed her to drive away, ultimately telling her to arrive at Union Station in downtown Washington DC. She was unknowingly followed by a van with Verger's Italian-speaking mercenary henchmen in pursuit. As she drove, Lecter asked her, by cell phone, about her floundering career, her life, her superiors, and the treatment she had received: "It's you I'm worried about" - he suggested that the Bureau resented her because she wasn't like them: "They hate you and they envy you." She told Lecter how Mason Verger was seeking to kill him, although the cunning Lecter knew better - "He just wants to see me suffer in some unimaginable way." Lecter knew she was leading Verger's men to him as she also searched for his whereabouts among the mall's shopping levels. He suggested helping her, by harming those who had harmed her: "What if I made them scream apologies?" He lightly touched her hair, without her knowing it, as he rotated close to her on a nearby carousel.
Verger's men identified Lecter outside the station in the parking lot, tasered him, and threw him in the back of their van, as Starling vainly attempted to stop them. She then notified the FBI of the kidnapping, and was sternly instructed to return to her home. After police inspected Verger's estate, and no evidence of Lecter was found, Verger commanded his men to transport Lecter to his NC estate. Face to face with his mortal enemy, Verger told Lecter how he planned to have Lecter consumed by wild pigs with "three pairs of incisors, one pair of elongated canines, three pairs of molars, four pairs of pre-molars, upper and lower, for a total of forty-four teeth." Dinner would be at 8:00 - his feet would be fed first, followed by his body, the main course, seven hours later. Lecter would be kept alive on an IV drip while the wild boars devoured him from the toes up. Starling also drove to Verger's rural estate, suspecting that Lecter was being brought there, and she stealthily approached a hog barn with a firearm, where Lecter (masked) was strapped to a small fork lift and prepared for the main course. As Verger's physician Cordell drove his disfigured employer to the barn to witness the event, Starling intervened and shot two of Verger's men, as Lecter greeted her: "Good evening, Clarice. Just like old times." A third henchman shot and wounded Clarice in the left shoulder as she released Lecter - who then rescued her from the ravenous pigs that savagely attacked Verger's own men. Cordell was ordered by an infuriated Verger to shoot Lecter, but he refused, and then when Lecter suggested: "Why don't you push him in? You can always say it was me," Cordell obeyed - and Verger faced the gruesome, bloody death by carnivorous boars he had planned for Lecter.
Lecter then drove the unconscious Clarice to Krendler's lakefront house, performed surgery on the bullet wound in an upstairs bedroom, and helped her to recover. Krendler arrived for the Fourth of July weekend at his home, where he was surprised to find the dining room table set for an elegant dinner. He was abruptly confronted by Lecter and drugged. Clarice awakened upstairs - she found herself dressed in a sexy, backless black formal dress with a low-cut revealing front. As she stumbled slowly toward the stairs, still suffering from doses of morphine, she phoned the police who promised to send units in ten minutes, but refused their request to leave the house.
Downstairs at the table, she found Lecter preparing a gourmet meal for a drugged and wheel-chair seated dinner guest - Krendler, wearing a backwards baseball cap bearing his initials. Clarice was stunned when Lecter removed Krendler's cap, exposing a circular scar around the top of his head. The doctor then neatly sliced and removed the entire top of Krendler's skull to expose his brain's cerebral cortex. As he cut out part of the brain tissue in the pre-frontal lobe and sauteed it in a pan by the table, Lecter assured Clarice: "The brain itself feels no pain." Krendler noted: "That smells great" and then ate a piece of his own brain when offered ("It is good"). Lecter taunted Clarice about whether she would sacrifice his freedom for her own return as a hero to her FBI job: "Those people you despise almost as much as they despise you." With blood running down his face, an almost comatose Krendler was wheeled into the kitchen, where Clarice vainly attacked Lecter with a heavy silver candlestick. He threw her against the refrigerator, and then caught her pony-tail in the fridge's door (and then ripped off the handle), telling her: "Would you ever say to me, 'Stop...If you loved me, you'd stop?'" She replied: "Not in a thousand years, to which he said: "That's my girl."
As he forced a kiss on her lips, he heard a click - she had handcuffed his left wrist to hers, as he threatened: "I'm really pressed for time, so where's the key?" When she wouldn't answer, he reached for a meat cleaver, raised it in the air, and said as he grabbed her: "Above or below the wrist, Clarice. This is really going to hurt." She appeared to scream in agony as he hacked with the cleaver, and the scene turned to black. In the next scene, police cars with sirens surrounded the house. Clarice - with both hands intact, was outside searching for Lecter, who had apparently escaped (and cut off his hand to release himself).
In the final scene, Lecter was a passenger in an airplane, drinking wine with his left arm in a sling. He had also brought along a cardboard box with various food items (including crackers, fruit, caviar, cheese, etc.), to avoid eating the airplane food. The little Asian boy seated next to him asked: "What's that?" (a plastic container with part of Krendler's cooked brain?), to which Lecter replied: "That I don't think you would like." When the boy replied: "It looks good...Can I have some?", Lecter thought: "Well, I suppose it's all right. After all, as your mother tells you, and my mother certainly told me, 'It is important,' she always used to say, 'always to try new things.' Open up."
I think next I'll do James Bond or Star Trek.
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