Silence of the Lambs – Eat The Rudecast

After the decent Manhunter and the unacceptably mediocre Red Dragon, we tackle Silence of the Lambs, and are quick to point out that we all adore this film. It's one of the greatest horror movies, and certainly the greatest serial killer film of all time. With such pedigree we find it difficult not to wax extensively, and we do so, for nearly four hours. Tonight's episode can be used to gird ourselves for the inevitable disappointment of latter-day Hannibal Lecter with Hannibal Rising.

All on this episode of Eat The Rudecast, a podcast about The TV series Hannibal, and the works of Thomas Harris.


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3 Comments. Leave new

  • This movie is fantastic.

    Hannibal being a good person, only with an insane brain. Interesting.

    Yeah. I’m not going to Rotten dot com. Not too long ago, i got obsessed with watching scary, “true” stories that you can find on Youtube. Stories about people waking up from sleep finding the crazy neighbor standing over them holding a knife and smiling, near death experiences and just full on death experiences. Videos on serial killers. And looking at pictures of people taken right before thier death. It was depressing shit. And i got depressed and paranoid. And it didn’t help that i live on a farm with a few rundown buildings that people can hide in and a lot of trees that people can hide behind and watch the house.

    Anthony Hopkins. Such a fantastic performance. I love that we have three great and different interpretations of this character.

    Ted Levine. Holy shit. I can’t remember when i watched Silence for the first time, but it is possible that i was watching Monk before i saw Silence for the first time. And Levine’s role in Monk, if you haven’t seen it, was the good man Leland Stottlemeyer.He was also great in the short lived series The Bridge. And Jame Gumm is such a different character it is mind boggling. That scene where he tucks his penis between his legs and dances… *shudders*

    I don’t know about the desk, but the cassette player looked like it was handcuffed or chained to something so it can’t be used as a weapon.

    Interestingly, i watched the Siskel and Ebert review of Silence of the Lambs and there was differing opinions. Ebert gave the movie a thumbs up and Siskel gave the movie a thumbs down.

    Here’s what they said:

    Siskel – “A depressingly brutal thriller” …”Lacking in any redemptive qualities” … “I sat there thinking ‘why are all these talented people involved in this project?'” … “Both killers have cheap nicknames”… “There is a sporting quality to this movie that i found distasteful” … “Eventually SotL degenerates into a standard Monster-In-The-House movie” … “By contrast (with Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer, a movie Siskel found less exploitative) The Silence of the Lambs is a star studded freak show” … “For the first time in [Demme’s} career, he has picked a surprising, trashy project” … “Hopkins is presented as this big evil thing, and we’re on this journey to see him – a journey into hell and all that – and frankly he was so pumped up and the music was so pumped up to a high level – (Ebert interrupts here to say ‘it worked for me. It worked for me.’) – well then you’re too easy. I was like ‘Oh, come on.’ A guy that is truly frightening doesn’t need some huge organ playing in the background” … “I wasn’t compelled by anybody except, I suppose, the Jodie Foster character in that she was a strong woman – (Ebert says it was a great performance) – Not a great performance, a decent performance.”

    Ebert – “Hard to review a movie like this based on its subject matter” … “The ending doesn’t work” … “The first part of the film is terrifically effective” … “because of the real tension, the real dynamic between Foster and Hopkins” … “One of the most peculiar and fascinating relationships I’ve seen in a movie in a long time” … “Foster is very good here. Hopkins is very good here. The dialogue is of a very high intelligence. And the movie may not work in the same way as Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer, but effectively”

    You’re right about the revolver Bill has. He could have just pulled the trigger. He didn’t need to make a sound. But I think you guys are wrong about the shotguns. You load the shotgun then pump the slide to chamber a round. I don’t think the pump will even move if there is a round in the chamber that hasn’t been fired. Unless you press the action release. I think anyway. So what i think we’re seeing in movies and TV shows is the wielder pumping the first round into the chamber once he is ready.

  • FictionIsntReal
    October 2, 2015 9:55 pm

    The classic horror movies podcast recently did an episode on Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal podcast A Matter of Taste did so here.

    The story I heard is that Demme told Hopkins he cast him based on The Elephant Man, because the characters in both movies are “humanitarians”. Har har.

    Didn’t the “Hannibal” movie show the nurse video? Or maybe that was Red Dragon.

    Ugh, Dan Brown. My CS teacher in highschool gave everyone who remained of my senior class (all three of us) a copy of Digital Fortress. She acknowledged she hadn’t actually read it herself, which I suppose is for the best because its take on computers is SO BAD. Not that I cared for Da Vinci Code either.

    Scott Glenn played a serial killer recently in “The Barber”. He discusses it, and Silence of the Lambs, in this edition of the AV Club’s Random Roles. The interviewer brings up the show Hannibal, but he was skeptical of anything with commercial breaks being worthwhile. His loss. He also discusses working with Michael Mann on The Keep and what went wrong there.

    Did Demme want Brian Dennehy to play Hannibal? I hadn’t heard that, just that Mann asked him and Dennehy told him to check out Brian Cox in “Rat in the Skull” for a better Lecter. Speaking of which, I had been wishing I could have seen that, and now a televised appears to be on youtube. So I know what I’m doing after posting this comment.

    Dennis Hoffman played a violent criminal (even a murderer) in Straight Time. Not what you’d expect of him, and he only had the part because he started out directing it himself before asking Ulu Grosbard to take over, but it works. I suppose an actor should be able to take on very different roles though.

    I believe in the book there’s a bit more on the relationship between Starling and Noble Pilcher, but the real question is: who names someone “Noble Pilcher”? I believe Hannibal is also cruder in the novels. Even in Red Dragon he thinks about sending Graham a colostomy bag to remind him of old times.

    I am unfortunately ignorant of entomoly, so I cannot fact-check any bug facts. Ask Noble Pilcher.

    I haven’t seen The Burbs, but Bruce Dern played a good villain in the first Thomas Harris movie, Black Sunday. He was relatively sympathetic, in the Dolarhyde rather than Gumb mold. Actually, that one was fairly evenhanded in terms of Kabakov vs Iyad, and it’s realism rather than “the enemy inside” Kabakov which tells him that.

    If Hannibal ultimately escapes from his cell, isn’t Chilton right to object to the deal which gets him transferred?

    Perhaps because I was introduced to Hannibal through Manhunter, I always saw him as an irredeemably evil asshole, and didn’t care about Chilton in comparison. I mentioned rooting for Mason to kill him earlier.

    I believe in the book Chilton didn’t leave the pen, and Lecter got a tool somewhere else. The guards were too scared to search his mouth when it set off their metal detector.

    The specific thing to read by Marcus Aurelius would be his Meditations. Or did you call someone else “prolific”? At any rate, he wrote it for himself rather than being a professional philosopher writing for an audience. I think I read it after catching the end of a Law & Order episode where it apparently inspired a group of boys into following some malevolent Svengali type, so I was disappointed when it mostly consisted of Marcus telling himself not to be too bummed about living in a palace (not a very Stoic environment! although he supposedly wrote it while on campaign) and having to deal with unpleasant people. I suppose there’s a tenuous Hannibal connection in that he’s emperor at the beginning of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, which he did right before Hannibal.

    The lack of contact under solitary incarceration is something discussed in the first season of Rectify, in which Daniel Holden mentions that sometimes he would deliberately provoke fights with the guards because it was better than nothing. One of the best shows on tv.

    I’d say it still qualifies as a violent film if we see that Hannibal is beating someone to death, and they’re in a pool of blood, even if not all the graphic violence is onscreen.

    I don’t remember if Fuller said “Fredericka Lounds” was inspired by Bimmel, but Harris does seem to like the name “Fred”. At least it sounds like a real name, unlike “Noble Pilcher”, and no I’m not tired of beating that horse.

    I was under the vague impression Kulzick hadn’t seen any of the films. Did she watch it in preparation for the next film?

    Cooper is wrong about Manhunter vs Hannibal, but right that the series should end with the existing finale. brings back memories. I wasn’t sure it was still around.

    The Bridge was a good show, particularly once it ditched the serial-killer angle Elwood Reid wasn’t interested in to become “a pulpier version of the Wire” (in one critic’s words) set near the Mexican border. Apparently he was in disagreement with Meredith Stiehm on the show’s focus so she went back to Homeland, and that lousy show is still going. In some ways the later version of the bridge was what season 2 of True Detective was aiming at in its world-building but didn’t have enough episodes for that to work very well (and that season was in turn a better version of Hugo Blick’s The Shadow Line, whereas Blick’s Honourable Woman is a better version of Homeland).

    Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a unique movie in the sub-genre. It turns out the real-life inspiration likely fabricated many of the murders attributed to him, but its depiction of a lawless Chicago where nobody seems to be responding to any of his actions seems enough like a fantasy not to make me demand strict realism, even if it “feels” realistic in other ways. Ebert apparently disliked horror movies, that’s why Devin Faraci doesn’t care for him.

    There is a wikihow on loading shotguns (starting with a pump) which illustrated pictorially what Ben is referring to:
    But normally one would do that after finishing the insertion of shells to chamber the first, not right before going into action. The safety would be switched off then, but that’s less dramatic so film/TV uses gun cocking. I generally shoot breach-loading side-by-sides which aren’t so durn complicated, although I suppose closing a breach is dramatic enough (and we do often walk around with them open so others in the group can clearly see they are safe).

  • FictionIsntReal
    October 2, 2015 9:57 pm

    I somehow forgot the Scott Glenn link. It’s here. Ted Levine’s Random Roles is here.


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