Friday, October 07, 2005

31 Days of Des' Horror Favourites: #25 Silence of the Lambs

Why I like it: Okay…I’m stretching your definition of horror film a bit and this one probably belongs on the psychological thriller rack but let me digress for a moment:

Silence of the Lambs features an immensely powerful bad guy (actually: 2 of them), a single strong female lead, lots of uncomfortable moments between hero and villain, a hunting in the dark scene (made modern by the killer’s use of night vision goggles), a very “Halloween-esque” killer’s eye view look to the previously mentioned hunting in the dark scene and a “Vanishing-esque” buried woman motif.

What makes this different is the fact that Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins) doesn’t stalk a summer camp or a dormitory with a knife. He terrifies us with his mind and eyes. He is a villain so intimidating that he actually spends an evening whispering to the man in the cell next to him and convinces him to swallow his own tongue! His brilliance is only overshadowed by his deviance and great taste in food (nyuk nyuk) and wine. He is the best movie villain ever. Period. He could talk Darth Vader into force-choking himself.

Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) has to decode Lecter’s talk and try to find the whereabouts of a serial killer not currently in custody. In many ways it’s perverse to watch Dr. Lecter deconstruct the mind of Starling in exchange for information about Buffalo Bill (said killer).

Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine-currently starring in a remake of The Hills Have Eyes) also makes for an incredible killer in the movie. His fragile mindstate is very frightening to watch. Incidentally, he has one of my favourite lines in a movie: “It rubs the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.”

Even better was the amount of Oscar attention it got: best actor (Anthony Hopkins), best actress (Jodie Foster), best director (Jonathan Demme), best picture, best screenplay based on material from another medium (Thomas Harris’ wicked novel), best editing and best sound. It even won an Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films USA award for best horror film. It one about a trillion other awards so check them out here if you like. There! Take that!

In closing it has the best ending for a movie that has won best picture at the Oscars hands down. If you haven’t seen it then shame on you.

Check these out:
-Hannibal-The sequel was amazing. Many people disagree but any time you add Gary Oldman to the mix it can only make things better. No Jodie Foster this time but Julianne Moore competently pulls off the Starling character.
-Red Dragon-A great prequel showing how Lecter was incarcerated and how he helped Edward Norton’s character gain insight on the Red Dragon killer (Ralph Fiennes).
-Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer-Another real world horror film based on a serial killer. Not anywhere in the realm of Silence of the Lambs but still kind of creepy.
-A Texas Chain Saw Massacre-Real-life serial killer Ed Gein served as the inspiration for Leatherface and Dr. Lecter.

4 Bitching, Moaning and Praise

Blogger David Lee said...

Hello? Manhunter?

I like Brian Cox's Hannibal as much as I do Hopkin's (in Silence anyway) even though Cox gets much less screentime.

5:27 pm  
Blogger Des said...

Damn! Forgot Manhunter. Yep...it too is pretty good.

It is another adaptation of Red Dragon with Grissom from CSI pulling the lead.

My mistake.

9:54 pm  
Blogger Stacie Ponder said...

As many times as I've seen this movie, it never seems to lose any of it's impact for me. Hopkins was great without being TOO campy, Ted Levine is fantastic, and I think it's the best performance Jodie Foster's given.

It puts the lotion in the basket or else it gets the hose again!

10:45 pm  
Blogger Kim said...

Totally agree with everyone you wrote about Silence of the Lambs. Definitely deserves to be on the list!

3:08 am  

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