Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thriller #5 - The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Thriller #6 was Alien, which I've already watched back in Science Fiction, so the next movie was The Silence of the Lambs. This is definitely the most disturbing movie I've seen so far. It's about serial killers and you see all kinds of corpses and mutilation and it is very creepy. I thought it was going to be scary, though. I thought it was really going to stick with me and keep me up at night and pop into my head in the dark, like that creepy dog-guy in The Shinning, but it didn't. It was definitely very creepy while I was watching it, but that's about it. I thought I was going to have trouble with the movies in this genre, and I haven't so far. I'm a little disappointed, really.

So, The Silence of the Lambs: Clarice Starling, a trainee FBI agent, is trying to catch a serial killer, Buffalo Bill. The FBI decides that the best way to do this is to send her to Hannibal Lecter, a cannibal who's already in prison, and ask him to help. And that works, which just goes to show what I know about crime investigation, because it is not the route I would have taken.

Silence of the Lambs is, justifiably, really well-known for Hannibal Lector. Even though the rest of the movie is good, Hannibal Lector is what makes it really stand out - Sort of like the end of The Usual Suspects. Hannibal Lector is a serial killer and he's always going around just knowing things about people and making hissing noises, but he's also very refined and cultured and elegant. Part of what's so creepy about him is that he's not nearly as creepy as he really should be. He's a serial killer, and they have you sort of rooting for him! That's pretty intense. Hannibal Lecter is really what you come away from this movie remembering, even above the guy making a suit out of skin.

Hannibal is Anthony Hopkins, and he's really good. I've only seen him in one other movie before - Othello, as Othello, which seems like a bizarre casting choice to me, but whatever - and he's way better in this one. He won an Oscar for it, even though he was only on screen for 24 minutes. The Silence of the Lambs is actually the last movie to win all five major Oscars - Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay and Picture - and is the only horror movie to ever win Best Picture. Jodie Foster is Clarice, and she was terrific, but I've seen her in a lot of stuff, and she's always good. Someone tried to kill Ronald Reagan for her, you know.

This movie is actually also famous for, of all things, treating the animals they used really well. All of the moths they used had there own little homes and costumes and not a single moth was hurt. There actually is a real moth with a skull on its back, the Death's-Head Hawk Moth. It looks like this:

It's disgustingly gigantic. The moth on the poster, however, is not that type of moth - The skull is actually a Salvador Dali painting of seven naked women made to look like a skull. And now you know.

I liked The Silence of the Lambs, even though it was disappointedly un-scary. Again. The acting and the story is really good, and it's got a lot of good imagery. And, that hissing thing that Hannibal Lector does? Anthony Hopkins just threw it in, and the whole crew liked it so much that it made it into the movie, even though they were all convinced that it wouldn't. If you watch that part, you'll notice that there's a nice long pause between "Chianti" and "Hisshisshiss," so it could be cut out easily. Fun Fact.

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