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Hannibal Lecter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hannibal Lecter
Hannibal Lecter character
Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.jpg
First appearanceRed Dragon
Created byThomas Harris
Portrayed byBrian Cox (Manhunter)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon)
Gaspard Ulliel (Hannibal Rising)
Aaran Thomas (young; Hannibal Rising)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
AliasLloyd Wyman
Dr. Fell
Mr. Closter
NicknameHannibal the Cannibal
The Chesapeake Ripper
TitleDr. Hannibal Lecter
Count Hannibal Lecter VIII
Surgeon (former)
FamilyCount Lecter (father)
Simonetta Lecter née Sforza (mother)
Mischa Lecter (younger sister)
Significant otherLady Murasaki
Clarice Starling (in books)
RelativesCount Robert Lecter (uncle)
Lady Murasaki (aunt-by-marriage)

Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a fictional character in a series of suspense novels by Thomas Harris. He is a respected Baltimore forensic psychiatrist, as well as a cannibalistic serial killer. After he is caught and incarcerated for his crimes, he consults with the FBI to assist them in finding other serial killers.

Lecter was introduced in the 1981 thriller novel Red Dragon. The novel and its sequel, The Silence of the Lambs, feature Lecter as one of the primary antagonists. In the third novel, Hannibal, Lecter becomes a protagonist. His role as the antihero occurs in the fourth novel, Hannibal Rising, which explores his childhood and development into a serial killer.

The first film adapted from the Harris novels was Manhunter (based on Red Dragon) which features Brian Cox as Lecter, spelled "Lecktor".

Anthony Hopkins won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the character in The Silence of the Lambs (1991). He would reprise the role in Hannibal in 2001 and in a second adaptation of Red Dragon made in 2002 under the original title.

The most recent film adapted from the Harris novels is Hannibal Rising (2007), in which Lecter is portrayed by Gaspard Ulliel. Harris himself wrote the screenplay for this film.

The NBC television series Hannibal debuted in 2013, and focuses on the development of the relationship between Lecter and Will Graham, an FBI profiler. In the series, Lecter is portrayed by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who won a Saturn Award for his performance.

In 2003, Hannibal Lecter (as portrayed by Hopkins) was chosen by the American Film Institute as the greatest villain in American cinema.[1] In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named him one of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years.[2]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Real Life Buffalo Bill - Gary Heidnik (Serial Killer)
  • ✪ Cannibal: The Real Hannibal Lecters (Full Documentary) - Real Stories
  • ✪ DOCUMENTARIES Real Life Hannibal Lecters Serial Killer Documentary YouTube
  • ✪ Dissecting HANNIBAL LECTER in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (character analysis)
  • ✪ What If Hannibal Lecter Was Real?


When you hear the words “Silence of the Lambs”, the name “Hannibal Lecter” will no doubt spring to mind. But the real villain in the book and the preceding movie is the character of “Buffalo Bill”, a tortured serial killer who endeavors to make a suit out of the flesh of women. If you know your serial killers you’ll know Ed Gein actually made a woman suit, but he didn’t keep women captive in a dungeon-like environment. The character Buffalo Bill also shares serial killer Ted Bundy’s modus operandi, in faking an injury to gain the trust of women he would then bundle into a vehicle. But Bundy didn’t share many other traits with the Silence of the Lambs character. Today we’ll look at someone who really was like Buffalo Bill, in this episode of the Infographics Show, The real life ‘Silence of the Lambs’. His name was Gary Michael Heidnik and he was born on November 22, 1943, in Cleveland, Ohio. He had a younger brother, who with Heidnik was the child of a broken marriage. The parents divorced in 1946, and the children stayed with their mother for a number of years but then later went to live with the dad and his new partner. This young boy would as a man become one of the USA’s most notorious serial killers, not for the number of people he killed but because of what he did to his victims before they were killed. But let’s first look at the development of the boy into the crazed adult. As we said, the two kids went to live with their dad. We are told that these weren’t happy times for young Gary. It’s said both boys suffered verbal and physical abuse from a father who was less than loving. It’s said Gary was a bed-wetter, something which the father would use as an excuse to humiliate the young boy. The father later denied this, but Gary’s brother Terry has gone on record saying indeed their father was a monster. ″It got to the point where we’d be afraid to pick anything up because he’d beat us if we dropped something like a glass or something,″ Terry told the media of his father after his brother’s arrest. ″I was knocked unconscious once,” he added. When the father was interviewed by the media he denied having treated his children violently. So, this might have been a reason why the child turned into a murderous adult who had a predilection for torture. But there is one more thing, something we see a lot of when we read stories about serial killers. Gary was said to have fallen out of a tree when he was just a kid and suffered an injury that may have affected his brain. He developed a misshapen head after this, which at school elicited taunts of “football head” from other kids. It’s also said the bullying got worse when the father would make both boys wear pants with bullseyes sown into the backs of them, spurring on kids to kick the boys. Suffice it to say, Gary became a loner in school, despite doing quite well academically. The boys eventually returned to live with their mother, but she was now an alcoholic and would take her own life in 1970. Terry has said both he and his brother suffered from schizophrenia and both tried to commit suicide several times. Gary’s last attempt would be while he was in jail. In spite of this difficult upbringing, Gary managed to secure himself a job with the U.S. army. It’s said he was a clever young man with an IQ of 148. But things turned bad for Heidnik when he was working at the 46th Army Surgical Hospital in Germany. One day he reported to the doctor, saying he had terrible headaches, felt nauseous, was dizzy and his vision was blurry. The doctor said he had gastroenteritis but added that he seemed to show some signs of mental illness. It’s not known if any of that was related to the brain injury he had suffered as a child. In 1962, aged 19, Heidnik was sent back to the U.S. and to a military hospital in Philadelphia. There he was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder and he was honorably discharged from the army. This didn’t stop him from working in his chosen field. Heidnik then became a registered nurse and after that a psychiatric nurse. This latter job he was fired from for not getting to work on time and for being rude to patients. He himself over the next few years would be a patient in a mental facility on a few occasions and it’s said he would try to kill himself 13 times in all. His brother was also admitted into psychiatric facilities as a young man after trying to commit suicide, and their mother as you know did actually kill herself. A cursed existence they all seemed to have, but Gary was the only one who would turn his own anguish towards the attention of others – to a criminal extent at least. But prior to committing his crimes he had some success in matters of religion. In 1971, a year after his mother took her own life, Gary started a church. That was called the “United Church of the Ministers of God.” It started small, but in a few years was thriving and had earned Gary well over a million dollars in today’s money. It’s said he had total control over the money flowing into the church and soon he had a nice new house and came to own a Rolls-Royce and a Cadillac. But darker things were about to happen. In 1976 he was charged with aggravated assault after shooting a tenant of one of his houses, only for the bullet to graze the tenant’s face. Two years later and Heidnik would be arrested again. This time he had signed a young woman out of the hospital. The woman was the mentally retarded younger sister of Heidnik’s then girlfriend. When the woman was returned to hospital it was found she had been sodomized and had contracted gonorrhea. It turned out that Gary had kept her prisoner in his basement after getting her out of hospital, and that’s where he had raped her. He was charged with unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, kidnapping, rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, but he spent most of his time inside mental institutions. It’s said during this time he refused to speak, once writing on a piece of paper, “The devil put a cookie in my throat.” He was out in 1983. Gary then married a Filipino woman called Betty Disto. She had flown into the USA, which was a grave mistake for the woman. Before that, the two had only known each other through letters they sent. In 1985 they were married, but soon Disto would be raped by her husband and was also forced to watch him having sex with other women. She managed to escape from him with help from the Filipino community, but by that time she was carrying his child. Ok, so now we get to the crimes that shocked the world and inspired the character of Buffalo Bill. These were a string of kidnappings, some of which would end in murder. The first of these victims was Josefina Rivera. She was kidnapped by Heidnik after she had visited his house as a prostitute. She survived her ordeal, later telling the press, “He came up behind me and grabbed me by my neck. I wasn’t able to breathe, and then I went unconscious. When I regained consciousness, he had me on the bed. He had a handcuff on my right wrist. He kept telling me to shut up or he was going to choke me.” She was put into a basement and shackled, and as she was the first of the women he had kidnapped – they would all be African-Americans – he designated her a position of highest rank once she was among his other captives. He raped and beat them all nonetheless. One of his other victims, Sandra Lindsay, died while being his prisoner. It’s said she likely died from starvation, an untreated fever and also her injuries and how she’d been strung-up by Heidnik. It’s then reported that Heidnik dismembered her body, putting her arms in the freezer and cooking her ribs and her head. The smell from the cooking was so bad neighbors complained, only for Heidnik to tell the visiting cops that he had been “cooking a roast” and it burned. It was later said that Heidnik had ground-up her body and served it to his other captives, although his defense attorney denied this in court. Rivera said of this episode, “The smell was the worst thing I have ever smelled. When he would come down to have sex with everybody, we could smell the odor all over him.” Rivera also said she had been asked to help kill another victim, Deborah Dudley. She was asked to put water into a pit that Hednik had dug. Once Dudley was placed into the pit, Rivera was asked to place a loose, live electrical cable on the woman’s shackles. She died instantly and after she and Heidnik buried the body in some woods. The youngest victim said the same thing, that she was shackled, tortured and raped. Her name was Jacqueline Askins and she was only 18 when she was abducted by Heidnik. She later told the media that Heidnik would sometimes torture them all by stabbing screwdrivers into their ears. On March 23, 1987, Heidnik and Rivera both abducted Agnes Adams. She would be the last victim. Heidnik had gained Rivera’s trust by now and so when she asked him for some time-out to visit her family he agreed. As soon as he dropped her off she called her boyfriend and then got on the phone to the police and Heidnik was soon arrested. One of cops that turned up at the house later told the press, “We went to the cellar door, down to the cellar, in the back, and sure enough, laying on the floor were these half-naked girls, and they were screaming, ‘We’re saved, we’re saved.’ During his trial Heidnik’s defense tried to prove that he was insane, but given that he had $550,000 (about $1.2 million today) in the bank which he had earned through stock trading and various enterprises, that defense didn’t work. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Even his ex-wife, Filipino Betty, had filed a suit to say her ex-husband was not mentally competent to be executed, but the sentence stayed. On July 6, 1999, Gary Heidnik was executed by lethal Injection. His last meal was two slices of cheese pizza and two black coffees. He had no final words. If we look back over the life and times of Gary Heidnik, it seems he was the result of some very bad parenting, although that is no excuse for what he did. The daughter of his brother once told the press that the boys did indeed suffer at the hands of their parents. “His dad was an alcoholic, and his mom took poison. They found her in the basement. She was tired of the abuse. They were really sick parents, and they gave their kids some serious problems,” she said. It’s said he had had a breakdown while in Germany and experts say he could have been schizophrenic, but still, he managed to start his own religion and earn lots of cash. There is also lots of evidence that that this man with a high IQ purposely dated young women with mental problems, perhaps because they were easier to control. We might also look at another statement from Rivera, talking about the time she and other woman were kept prisoner at the house: “Gary came down with a box of Christmas cards, and he made Sandy write in the cards. He made her write, ‘Dear Mom, I am all right, don’t worry, Love Sandy.’ Then he put on gloves, gave her a $20 bill, and he had her put it in the card. He wouldn’t touch it himself.” Do these sound like the actions of an insane man? Then again, it’s said Heidnik almost believed he had created a good place for the women to be, that he was even, “holding parties there.” This does sound rather insane. So, what do you think about Heidnik’s execution? Is insanity an excuse to get out of the death penalty? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video Most Evil Cult Leader That Ever Lived. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.


Character overview

In the novel Red Dragon, protagonist Will Graham says that psychologists refer to Lecter as a sociopath "because they don't know what else to call him". Graham claims that "he has no remorse or guilt at all", and tortured animals as a child, but does not exhibit any of the other criteria traditionally associated with sociopathy. Asked how he himself would describe Lecter, Graham responds, "he's a monster", implying that Lecter's mind is somehow "incomplete" in the same way that some babies are born with missing limbs or non-functioning organs.[3]

In The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter's keeper, Dr. Frederick Chilton, claims that Lecter is a "pure sociopath" ("pure psychopath" in the film adaptation). In the film adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs, protagonist Clarice Starling says of Lecter, "They don't have a name for what he is."

Lecter's pathology is explored in greater detail in Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, which explains that he was traumatized as a child in Lithuania in 1944 when he witnessed the murder and cannibalism of his beloved sister, Mischa, by a group of deserting Lithuanian Hilfswillige, one of whom claimed that Lecter unwittingly ate his sister as well.

All media in which Lecter appears portray him as intellectually brilliant, cultured and sophisticated, with refined tastes in art, music and cuisine. He is frequently depicted preparing gourmet meals from his victims' flesh, the most famous example being his admission that he once ate a census taker's liver "with some fava beans and a nice Chianti" (a "big Amarone" in the novel). He is deeply offended by rudeness, and frequently kills people who have bad manners. Prior to his capture and imprisonment, he was a member of Baltimore, Maryland's social elite, and a sitting member of the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra's Board of Directors.

In The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter is described through Starling's eyes: "small, sleek, and in his hands and arms she saw wiry strength like her own". The novel also reveals that Lecter's left hand has a condition called mid ray duplication polydactyly, i.e. a duplicated middle finger.[4] In Hannibal, he performs plastic surgery on his own face on several occasions, and removes his extra digit. Lecter's eyes are a shade of maroon, and reflect the light in "pinpoints of red".[5] He has small white teeth[6] and dark, slicked-back hair with a widow's peak. He also has a keen sense of smell; in The Silence of the Lambs, he is able to identify through a plexiglass window with small holes the brand of perfume that Starling wore the day before. He has an eidetic memory with which he has constructed in his mind an elaborate "memory palace" with which he relives memories and sensations in rich detail.

Anthony Hopkins, the actor most closely identified with the character, said on the commentary track to the DVD release of The Silence of the Lambs that he was inspired by HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. In his "Great Movies" essay on Silence of the Lambs, Roger Ebert further elaborated on this comparison: "He is a dispassionate, brilliant machine, superb at logic, deficient in emotions."[7]

In the same essay, Ebert theorized:

One key to the film's appeal is that audiences like Hannibal Lecter... He may be a cannibal, but as a dinner party guest he would give value for money (if he didn't eat you). He does not bore, he likes to amuse, he has his standards, and he is the smartest person in the movie... He bears comparison, indeed, with such other movie monsters as Nosferatu, Frankenstein... King Kong and Norman Bates. They have two things in common: They behave according to their natures, and they are misunderstood. Nothing that these monsters do is "evil" in any conventional moral sense, because they lack any moral sense. They are hard-wired to do what they do. They have no choice. In the areas where they do have choice, they try to do the right thing.[8]



Red Dragon

In the backstory of the 1981 novel Red Dragon, FBI profiler Will Graham interviews Lecter about one of his patients who was murdered by a serial killer, before intuiting that Lecter is the culprit; he sees the antique medical diagram “Wound Man” in Lecter’s office, and remembers that the victim suffered the same injuries depicted in the drawing. Realizing that Graham is on to him, Lecter creeps up behind Graham and stabs him with a linoleum knife, nearly disemboweling him.

Graham survives, but is so traumatized by the incident that he takes early retirement from the FBI. Lecter is charged with a series of nine murders, but is found not guilty by reason of insanity. He is institutionalized in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane under the care of Dr. Frederick Chilton, a pompous, incompetent psychologist whom he despises, and who subjects him to a series of petty cruelties.

Some years later, Graham comes out of retirement and consults Lecter in order to catch another serial killer, Francis Dolarhyde, known by the nickname "The Tooth Fairy". Through the classifieds of a tabloid called The National Tattler, Lecter provides Dolarhyde with Graham's home address; Dolarhyde later uses this information to break into Graham’s home, stab him in the face, and threaten his family before Graham and his wife Molly shoot him dead. At the end of the novel, Lecter sends Graham a letter saying that he hopes Graham isn't "too ugly".

The Silence of the Lambs

In the 1988 sequel The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter assists FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling in catching a serial killer, Jame Gumb, known by the nickname "Buffalo Bill". Lecter is fascinated by Starling, and they form an unusual relationship in which he provides her with a profile of the killer and his modus operandi in exchange for details about her unhappy childhood.

Lecter had previously met Gumb, the former lover of his patient (and eventual victim) Benjamin Raspail. He does not reveal this information directly, instead giving Starling vague clues to help her figure it out for herself. In return for Lecter's assistance, the FBI and Chilton arrange for him to be transferred to a lower security facility.

Lecter escapes while in transit, however, killing and mutilating his guards and using one of their faces as a mask to fool police and paramedics before killing the latter and escaping. While in hiding, he writes one letter to Starling wishing her well, a second to Barney (his primary orderly at the asylum), thanking him for his courteous treatment, and a third to Chilton, promising gruesome revenge; Chilton disappears soon afterward.


In the third novel, 1999's Hannibal, Lecter lives in a palazzo in Florence, Italy, and works as a museum curator under the alias "Dr. Fell". One of Lecter’s surviving victims, Mason Verger - a wealthy, sadistic pedophile whom Lecter had brutalized during a court-ordered therapy session, leaving him a horrifically disfigured quadriplegic - offers a huge reward for anyone who apprehends Lecter, whom he intends to feed to wild boars specially bred for the purpose.

Verger enlists the help of Rinaldo Pazzi, a disgraced Italian police inspector, and Paul Krendler, a corrupt Justice Department official and Starling's boss. Lecter kills Pazzi and returns to the United States to escape Verger's Sardinian henchmen, only to be captured. Starling follows them, intent on apprehending Lecter personally, and is injured in a gunfight with Verger's henchmen. Lecter escapes twice and persuades Verger's sister Margot – his former patient, whom Verger had molested and raped years earlier – to kill her brother, promising to take the blame.

He rescues the wounded Starling and takes her to Krendler's rented lake house to treat her, subjecting her to a regimen of mind-altering drugs and classical conditioning in order to make her believe she is his long-dead sister Mischa. One day, he invites her to a formal dinner where the guest and first course is Paul Krendler, whose brain they consume together. On this night, Starling tells Lecter that Mischa's memory can live within him instead of taking her place. She then offers him her breast, and they become lovers.

Three years later, former orderly Barney Matthews, who had treated Lecter with respect while he was incarcerated in Baltimore, sees Lecter and Starling entering the Teatro Colón opera house in Buenos Aires. Fearing for his life, Barney leaves Buenos Aires immediately, never to return.

Hannibal Rising

Harris wrote a 2006 prequel, Hannibal Rising, after film producer Dino De Laurentiis (who owned the cinematic rights to the Lecter character) announced an intended film project depicting Lecter's childhood and development into a serial killer with or without Harris' help. Harris would also write the film's screenplay.

The novel chronicles Lecter's early life, from his birth into an aristocratic family in Lithuania in 1933, to being orphaned, along with his beloved sister Mischa, in 1944 when a Nazi Stuka bomber attacks a Soviet tank in front of their forest hideaway. Shortly thereafter, he and Mischa are captured by a band of Nazi collaborators, who murder and cannibalize Mischa before her brother's eyes; Lecter later learns that the collaborators also fed him Mischa's remains.

Irreparably traumatized, Lecter escapes from the deserters and wanders through the forest, dazed and unable to speak. He is found and taken back to his family's old castle, which had been converted into a Soviet orphanage, where he is bullied by the other children and abused by the dean.

He runs away to find his uncle Robert, who he learns has died, and Robert's Japanese wife, Lady Murasaki, who nurses him back to health and teaches him to speak again. Lecter forms a close, pseudo-romantic relationship with his step-aunt. During this time he also shows great intellectual aptitude, entering medical school at a young age and distinguishing himself.

Despite his seemingly comfortable life, Lecter is consumed by a savage obsession with avenging Mischa's death. He kills for the first time as a teenager, beheading a racist fishmonger who insulted Murasaki. He then methodically tracks down, tortures, and murders each of the men who had killed his sister. In the process of taking his revenge, he forsakes his relationship with Murasaki and seemingly loses all traces of his humanity. The novel ends with Lecter being accepted to the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In film

Anthony Hopkins as Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.
Anthony Hopkins as Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

Red Dragon was first adapted to film in 1986 as the Michael Mann film Manhunter, although the spelling of Lecter's name was changed to "Lecktor". He was played by actor Brian Cox.[9] Cox based his performance on Scottish serial killer Peter Manuel.[10]

In 1991, Orion Pictures produced a Jonathan Demme-directed adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs, in which Lecter was played by actor Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins' Academy Award–winning performance made Lecter into a cultural icon. In 2001, Hannibal was adapted to film, with Hopkins reprising his role. In the film adaptation, the ending is revised: Starling attempts to apprehend Lecter, who escapes after cutting off his own hand to free himself from her handcuffs. In 2002, Red Dragon was adapted again, this time under its original title, with Hopkins again as Lecter and Edward Norton as Will Graham. Hopkins wrote a screenplay for a Hannibal sequel, ending with Starling killing Lecter, but it was never produced.[11]

In late 2006, the novel Hannibal Rising was adapted into the film of the same name, which portrayed Lecter's development into a serial killer. In the film, which was finished by 2007, eight-year-old Lecter is portrayed by Aaran Thomas, while Gaspard Ulliel portrays him as a young man. Both the novel and film, as well as Ulliel’s performance as Lecter, received generally negative critical reviews.[12]

In television

In February 2012, NBC gave a series order to Hannibal, a television adaptation of Red Dragon to be written and executive-produced by Bryan Fuller.[13] Mads Mikkelsen plays Lecter,[14] opposite Hugh Dancy as Will Graham.[15]

Fuller commented on Mikkelsen's version of Lecter:

"What I love about Mads' approach to the character is that, in our first meeting, he was adamant that he didn't want to do Hopkins or Cox. He talked about the character not so much as 'Hannibal Lecter the cannibal psychiatrist', but as Satan – this fallen angel who's enamoured with mankind and had an affinity for who we are as people, but was definitely not among us – he was other. I thought that was a really cool, interesting approach, because I love science fiction and horror and – not that we'd ever do anything deliberately to suggest this – but having it subtextually play as him being Lucifer felt like a really interesting kink to the series. It was slightly different than anything that's been done before and it also gives it a slightly more epic quality if you watch the show through the prism of, 'This is Satan at work, tempting someone with the apple of their psyche'. It appealed to all of those genre things that get me excited about any sort of entertainment."[16]

Season 1

The first season amends the series' continuity so that Graham and Lecter first work together during the hunt for Garrett Jacob Hobbs (Vladimir Jon Cubrt), the "Minnesota Shrike", a serial killer who preys on college girls. During the investigation, Lecter secretly calls Hobbs to tip him off that Graham is on to him, just to see what Hobbs will do. As a result, Hobbs turns on his own family, killing his wife and trying to kill his daughter Abigail (Kacey Rohl) as Graham charges in and shoots him dead.[17] Killing Hobbs weighs on Graham's conscience and gives him nightmares, so his boss Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) sends him to Lecter for counseling.[18] Throughout the first season, Lecter acts as Graham's unofficial psychiatrist, and they form a tenuous friendship. Lecter and Graham also become father figures to Abigail, and cover for her when they discover that she was her father's unwilling accomplice. Lecter is fascinated by Graham's ability to empathize with psychopaths, and he spends much of the series trying to undermine Graham's fragile sanity and push him into becoming a killer. To this end, Lecter prevents Graham from learning that he has advanced encephalitis, just to see how Graham would function under the circumstances.[19] In the first-season finale, Lecter reluctantly frames Graham for a series of murders that he himself committed throughout the season – including, apparently, Abigail's – but not before Graham realizes that Lecter is the “Chesapeake Ripper”, the very serial killer he has been trying to catch.[20]

Season 2

Throughout the beginning of the second season, Graham, who is now institutionalized, attempts to convince his skeptical former colleagues that Lecter is the real killer and begins pulling strings from within his cell in order to expose him. Meanwhile, Lecter begins to manipulate evidence from the outside, exonerating himself after the FBI's initial investigations into Graham's claims. Eventually, Graham persuades his friend and colleague Beverly Katz (Hetienne Park), a forensic scientist, to investigate Lecter in exchange for help on a case. She breaks into Lecter's house, where she finds evidence of his guilt. Lecter catches her, however, and kills her; he then sections her body vertically and displays it in tableau. Angry and vengeful, Graham convinces deranged hospital orderly Matthew Brown (Jonathan Tucker) to try to kill Lecter, but Lecter gets the better of Brown and kills him.[21] Lecter retaliates by taking as his lover Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), a psychologist for whom Graham has romantic feelings.[21] Lecter then exonerates Graham by planting forensic evidence of Graham's alleged victims at the scene of one of his own murders, resulting in Graham's release. He also frames his colleague Frederick Chilton (Raúl Esparza) by planting a mutilated corpse in his house and "influencing" his surviving victim Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky), into believing that Chilton had abducted and tortured her.[21]

Graham resumes therapy with Lecter as an attempt to entrap him. Lecter is aware of the ruse, but is fascinated by the experience and allows it to continue in an attempt to examine his connection with Graham. In an attempt to push Graham into becoming a killer, Lecter sends his psychotic former patient Randall Tier (Mark O'Brien) after him, and Graham kills and mutilates Tier – just as Lecter hoped he would.[22] Later, Graham attacks tabloid reporter Fredericka "Freddy" Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki), who is investigating him and Lecter. Graham shares a meal with Lecter of what is implied to be her flesh, but it is soon revealed that Lounds is still alive and conspiring with Graham and Crawford to draw Lecter into their trap.[23]

Lecter and Graham acquire a common enemy in Mason Verger (Michael Pitt), a wealthy sadist whom they both despise for emotionally and sexually abusing his twin sister, and Lecter’s patient, Margot (Katharine Isabelle). Verger briefly enters therapy with Lecter to find out what Margot is saying about him, but soon kidnaps Lecter and Graham, intent on feeding them both to his prize pigs. They both escape, however, and Lecter takes Verger hostage in Graham's house. Lecter gives Mason a hallucinogenic drug cocktail, and tells him to cut off pieces of his own face and feed them to Graham's dogs. With Graham's tacit approval, Lecter then breaks Verger's neck with his bare hands, paralyzing him from the neck down.[24]

In the second-season finale, Crawford arrives at Lecter's house to arrest him. In the ensuing struggle, Lecter seriously wounds Crawford, while a very much alive Abigail Hobbs pushes Bloom out of a window. Lecter then stabs Graham and cuts Abigail's throat in front of him, and flees before the police arrive. He is shown in a post-credits scene aboard a flight to France with his psychiatrist, Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson).[25]

Season 3

The third season amends the series' continuity to incorporate events from the novels Red Dragon and Hannibal. It also changes Lecter's origin story: in this continuity, Lecter's sister Mischa was murdered, cannibalized, and fed to him by a peasant in his native Lithuania; Lecter eventually made the peasant his prisoner.[26] Certain episodes also suggest that, in his youth, Lecter was the unidentified serial killer known as "The Monster of Florence".[27]

Months after his escape, Lecter is living in Florence with Du Maurier, working as a museum curator under the alias "Dr. Fell" – having murdered the original curator and stolen his identity.[28] Disgraced Italian detective Rinaldo Pazzi (Fortunato Cerlino) tries to apprehend him to collect a bounty placed by Mason Verger (Joe Anderson), who is also consulting with Bloom to capture Lecter. Lecter kills Pazzi and tries to flee the country, but is accosted by Crawford, who engages him in brutal hand-to-hand combat. Meanwhile, Graham goes looking for Lecter with the help of the doctor's family servant Chiyoh (Tao Okamoto), traveling to his adversary's home country to find out more about him.[29]

Lecter manages to escape from Crawford and meet up with Graham when he arrives to Italy again. Graham makes peace with Lecter before pulling a knife on him, but Chiyoh shoots and wounds Graham. Lecter takes Graham back to his villa and tries to perform a craniotomy on him in front of Crawford, but is interrupted by Italian detectives on Mason’s payroll, who deliver them both to his estate in Maryland.[30] Mason’s physician Cordell Doemling (Glenn Fleshler) tells Lecter that he will mutilate him until he dies, and prepare gourmet cuisine from his flesh for Mason to eat. Influenced by Graham, Bloom frees Lecter, who suggests that Margot kill her brother, promising to take the blame. Lecter then kills Doemling, who is about to surgically remove Graham's face and graft it onto Mason's, and later instructs Margot and Bloom on how to “milk” the unconscious Mason's prostate to give Margot the sperm she needs to conceive a child and thus inherit the Verger family fortune. After Margot kills her brother, Lecter goes to Graham's house, carrying the wounded and unconscious Graham. When Graham wakes up, he allows Lecter to escape, claiming that he never wants to see him again. To spite Graham, Lecter surrenders to Crawford later that evening and is taken into custody.[31]

Lecter is found insane at his trial, and incarcerated in the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane, under Chilton and Bloom's care. Three years later, Graham visits him at the hospital to ask for help in profiling a serial killer dubbed "The Tooth Fairy", who murders entire families.[32] Lecter begins communicating with the killer, Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage), and gives him Graham's home address. Dolarhyde attacks and wounds Graham's wife, Molly (Nina Arianda). Bloom and Crawford threaten to take away Lecter's hospital privileges unless he lets them listen in on his conversations with Dolarhyde. Lecter complies, but then suddenly tells Dolarhyde they are listening. Bloom punishes him by taking away his books and toilet, and confining him in a straitjacket and muzzle.[33] Graham, in an attempt to make Dolarhyde come out of hiding, gives an interview with Chilton and Lounds in which he describes "The Tooth Fairy" as ugly, impotent, and a product of incest. Dolarhyde, enraged by the "bad review", abducts, burns and disfigures Chilton, and sends Lecter Chilton's severed lips, one of which Lecter eats.[34]

In the series finale, "The Wrath of the Lamb", Lecter and Graham develop a plan to catch Dolarhyde, using Lecter as bait. Lecter goes with Graham on a police convoy, to be transferred to another facility in order to eventually draw the killer out. However, Graham has made a deal with Dolarhyde to free Lecter, and Dolarhyde attacks the convoy, killing the guards and letting Lecter and Graham live. Lecter then takes Graham to a secluded clifftop cottage where he previously held Abigail Hobbs and Miriam Lass. Dolarhyde tracks them down and attacks them, shooting Lecter in the back and stabbing Graham in the face. Though they are both badly wounded, Lecter and Graham manage to get the better of Dolarhyde and kill him together: Graham slices open Dolarhyde's chest, while Lecter tears out his throat with his teeth. Lecter and Graham then embrace, before Graham pushes them both off a cliff. Their ultimate fate is left ambiguous; a post-credits scene shows Du Maurier dining on her own leg at a table set for three.[35] Series creator Bryan Fuller has said this scene is meant to suggest that Lecter and Graham survived and that Graham has become Lecter's partner in murder. Fuller has stated that Season 4 would have depicted Lecter and Graham on the run from the FBI in Argentina, mirroring Lecter and Starling's storyline from the novels.[36]

Relationship between Graham and Lecter

The emotional relationship between Graham and Lecter forms the foundation of the series. In season 3, their developing romance has been taken from subtext into text.[34] As to whether it was a part of the initial plan to portray their relationship as romantic, Fuller stated: "No, it naturally evolved because I guess I was absorbing so much of Mads and Hugh's performance, which felt like it was growing in intimacy, and it would have been inauthentic not to address it. Because all of these characters, and particularly Bedelia, was able to call out what she had witnessed [between Lecter and Graham], it seemed like a natural conclusion. I remember when I turned in the rewrite pages where Will asks Bedelia if Hannibal is in love with him, I got a note from Don Mancini, one of our writers who was always pushing for more homosexual text – not just context or subtext but text, text, text – and he was like, "I'm so glad you put that in there! They said it! They said it!" [37] Discussing what motivated him to verbally acknowledge the romance between Graham and Lecter, Fuller said, "It felt like we had to shit or get off the pot, ultimately, because there had been so much going on between these two men that when Will asks, "Is Hannibal Lecter in love with me?" it is very much about death and the romance between these two men. There is a quality to connections that go above and beyond sexuality. You can have this intimate connection with somebody that then causes you to wonder where the lines of your own sexuality are. And we didn't quite broach the sexuality. It was certainly suggested, but the love is absolutely on the table." [38] Remembering how the song for the finale of the series – "Love Crime" by Siouxsie Sioux – was created, Fuller said: "It was interesting. She [Siouxsie Sioux] was like, "I want to write this song, and what are the things I should really be thinking about?" And I was like, 'this is a love story. A love story between a full-fledged psychopath and someone who has nascent psychopathic abilities.' Actually, Hannibal Lecter is not a psychopath; he's something else entirely. But it's a love relationship between two men: one of them is a cannibal, and one of them understands those cannibalistic instincts all too well." [39]

In other media

Lecter is the subject of the 1998 song "Hannibal (Se) Lectah" by The Skalatones.[40]

Lecter is parodied in the 2005 musical Silence! The Musical, with the character being originated by actor Brent Barrett.

Real-life models

Thomas Harris has given few interviews and did not explain where he got inspiration for Hannibal Lecter until mid-2013. Harris revealed that the character was inspired by a real-life doctor and murderer he met while visiting a prison in the city of Monterrey during a trip to Mexico in the 1960s when he was a 23-year-old reporter.[41] The doctor was serving a life sentence for murdering a young man, supposedly a "close friend", mutilating his body into several body parts, and putting them in a very small box. Harris, who would only refer to the surgeon by the fake name "Dr. Salazar", described him as a "small little pale man with dark red hair". He added: "There was certain intelligence and elegance about him."[42] Harris had gone to Mexico to interview Dykes Askew Simmons, an American citizen on death row for murdering three young people in the country, but he ended up also speaking to "Salazar", who saved Simmons' life after a guard shot him during an escape bid. "Salazar" revealed his dark side as he began discussing Simmons' disfigured face, tormented upbringing and how attractive his victims had been.

Dr. Alfredo Ballí Treviño, the real-life inspiration for Lecter, according to Thomas Harris.
Dr. Alfredo Ballí Treviño, the real-life inspiration for Lecter, according to Thomas Harris.

Several reporters and investigators have traced the records and whereabouts of the Mexican prison doctor in later years and discovered that "Salazar" was in reality Alfredo Ballí Treviño, a physician from an upper-class Monterrey family who was found guilty of murdering his close friend (and lover) Jesus Castillo Rangel and mutilating his body; he was also suspected of killing and dismembering several hitchhikers in the city outskirts during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Harris also incorporated some of these details into Buffalo Bill's development as a killer in Silence of the Lambs. Ballí was initially condemned to death, but his sentence was later commuted to 20 years and he was released in 1981. After his release, Ballí continued working as a physician in an austere office until his death by natural causes in 2009.[43][44][45]

In her book Evil Serial Killers, Charlotte Greig asserts that the serial killer Albert Fish was the inspiration, at least in part, for Lecter.[46] Greig also states that to explain Lecter's pathology, Harris borrowed the story of serial killer and cannibal Andrei Chikatilo's brother Stepan being kidnapped and eaten by starving neighbors (though she states that it is unclear whether the story was true or whether Stepan Chikatilo even existed).[47] The location of the book Hannibal was inspired by The Monster of Florence. While preparing the book, Harris traveled to Italy and was present at the trial of the main suspect, Pietro Pacciani, where he was seen taking notes.[48]

See also


  1. ^ "AFI's 100 Heroes & Villains". American Film Institute. June 2003. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  2. ^ Vary, Adam B. (June 1, 2010). "The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years: Here's our full list!". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  3. ^ Harris, Thomas (1988). Red Dragon. New York City: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. p. 67. He's a monster. I think of him as one of those pitiful things that are born in hospitals from time to time. They feed it, and keep it warm, but they don't put it on the machines and it dies. Lecter is the same way in his head, but he looks normal and nobody could tell.
  4. ^ Harris, Thomas (1988). Silence of the Lambs. New York City: St. Martin's Press. p. 15. Dr. Lecter has six fingers on his left hand
  5. ^ Harris, Thomas (1988). Silence of the Lambs. New York City: St. Martin's Press. p. 16. Dr. Lecter's eyes are maroon, and they reflect the light in pinpoints of red
  6. ^ Harris, Thomas (1988). Silence of the Lambs. New York City: St. Martin's Press. p. 17. He tapped his small white teeth against the card and breathed in its smell
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (2003). The Great Movies. New York City: Broadway Books. p. 418. ISBN 978-0767910385. His approach to Lecter's personality, Hopkins says on his commentary track, was inspired by HAL 9000 in 2001: He is a dispassionate, brilliant machine, superb at logic, deficient in emotions.
  8. ^ Ebert, pg. 419
  9. ^ Cox, Brian (March 10, 2009). "Brian Cox: Interview (Manhunter)". Wogan Now and Then (Interview). Interviewed by Terry Wogan. London, England: BBC.
  10. ^ Mottram, James (January 20, 2011). "Manhunter". Total Film. Bath, England: Future Publishing (177): 112–116.
  11. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (October 3, 2002). "Marquee names serve up another helping of Hannibal". USA Today. Mclean, Virginia: Gannett Company. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  12. ^ Hannibal Rising at Rotten Tomatoes
  13. ^ Abrams, Natalie (February 14, 2012). "Pilot Season: NBC Orders Hannibal Straight to Series; Also Picks Up Notorious". TV Guide. New York City: NTVB Media. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  14. ^ Hibberd, James (June 4, 2012). "NBC casts Bond villain as Hannibal Lecter". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  15. ^ Jeffrey, Morgan (March 23, 2012). "Hannibal Lecter TV series casts Hugh Dancy as Will Graham". Digital Spy. London, England: Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  16. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (May 3, 2013). "Bryan Fuller 'Hannibal' Q&A: 'Lecter is like Satan at work'". Digital Spy. London, England: Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  17. ^ "Apéritif". Hannibal. Season 1. Episode 1. April 4, 2013. NBC.
  18. ^ "Amuse-Bouche". Hannibal. Season 1. Episode 2. April 11, 2013. NBC.
  19. ^ "Buffet Froid". Hannibal. Season 1. Episode 10. May 20, 2013. NBC.
  20. ^ "Savoreaux". Hannibal. Season 1. Episode 13. June 20, 2013. NBC.
  21. ^ a b c "Mukōzuke". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 5. March 28, 2014. NBC.
  22. ^ "Shiizakana". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 9. April 25, 2014. NBC.
  23. ^ "Naka-Choko". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 10. May 2, 2014. NBC.
  24. ^ "Tome-Wan". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 12. May 16, 2014. NBC.
  25. ^ "Mizumono". Hannibal. Season 2. Episode 13. May 23, 2014. NBC.
  26. ^ "Secondo". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 3. June 3, 2015. NBC.
  27. ^ "Primavera". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 2. June 11, 2015. NBC.
  28. ^ "Antipasto". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 1. June 4, 2015. NBC.
  29. ^ "Contorno". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 6. July 9, 2015. NBC.
  30. ^ "Dolce". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 6. July 9, 2015. NBC.
  31. ^ "Digestivo". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 7. July 18, 2015. NBC.
  32. ^ "The Great Red Dragon". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 8. July 25, 2015. NBC.
  33. ^ "...And the Beast From the Sea". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 11. August 15, 2015. NBC.
  34. ^ a b "The Number of the Beast is 666...". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 12. August 22, 2015. NBC.
  35. ^ "The Wrath of the Lamb". Hannibal. Season 3. Episode 13. August 29, 2015. NBC.
  36. ^ Bryant, Adam (August 29, 2015). "Hannibal Boss on the Finale: "If the Audience Is Done, Then I Will Be Done"". TV Guide. Portland, Oregon: NTVB Media. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  37. ^ Dibdin, Emma (6 September 2015). "Hannibal: Bryan Fuller talks season 4, sexual fluidity, and how Will became Clarice Starling". Digital Spy. London, England: Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  38. ^ Slezak, Michael (August 2015). "Hannibal Finale Post Mortem: Bryan Fuller on Will/Lecter Love, Bedelia's Last Supper, That Siouxsie Sioux Jam". TV Line. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  39. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (August 29, 2015). "Hannibal's creator explains that dark, twisted and… romantic(?) series finale". UPROXX. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  40. ^ The Best Tracks so Far (Pork Pie, 1998).
  41. ^ "The REAL Hannibal Lecter: Author Thomas Harris reveals for first time how killer doctor in Mexican prison inspired him to create most famous cannibal in history". Daily Mail. London, England: Daily Mail and General Trust.
  42. ^ Harvey, Oliver (2 August 2013). "My chilling meeting with the elegant killer doctor who inspired Lecter character". The Sun. London, England: News UK. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  43. ^ Osorno, Diego Enrique (July 29, 2013). "Hannibal Lecter es de Monterrey". VICE (in Spanish). Mexico City, Mexico: Vice Media Mexico. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  44. ^ Bacchi, Umberto (July 31, 2013). "Real Hannibal Lecter was Murderous Gay Mexican Doctor Alfredo Ballí Treviño". International Business Times. New York City: Newsweek Media Group. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  45. ^ Valdez, Maria G. (July 30, 2013). "Who Was The Real Hannibal Lecter?". Latin Times. New York City: Newsweek Media Group. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  46. ^ Grieg, Charlotte (2009). Evil Serial Killers: In the Minds of Monsters. London, England: Arcturus Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 978-1841932897.
  47. ^ Grieg, pg. 102
  48. ^ Preston, Douglas (July–August 2006). "The Monster of Florence". The Atlantic. Boston, Massachusetts: Emerson Collective. Retrieved March 26, 2017.

External links

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