TNS Movie Review- The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
"Look for severe childhood disturbances associated with violence. Our Billy wasn't born a criminal, Clarice. He was made one through years of systematic abuse. Billy hates his own identity, you see, and he thinks that makes him a transsexual. But his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying.” -Hannibal Lecter
The Silence of the Lambs, released in 1991 and Directed by Jonathan Demme, (The Manchurian Candidate, Philadelphia) changed horror forever. I believe I brought real fear right to your door, making it unsafe to even help a stranger move some furniture in the back of his van. Trust no one! This film modernized slasher flicks in that instead of having this never dying killer entity coming after you with a chainsaw or machete, you have killer that gives off realism and represents many real-life serial killers that have affected our culture throughout the years. Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine-The Hills Have Eyes, Shutter Island) represents serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. There are even references to the Zodiac Killer in that he communicated personal distaste for society through articles in the newspaper. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins-Bram Stokers Dracula, The Rite) in many ways represents a Jack Kevorkian type that not only assists in helping people kill themselves but will also mentally torture and devour helpless victims. This movie is genuinely scary and I would suggest watching it with someone and without a snack.
Another way in which Silence of the Lambs changed horror was the fantastic cast. Horror movies do not always have the greatest casts and it is usually the killers themselves that represent the quality of acting us horror hounds know and love. This film has actors such as Jodie Foster (Taxi Driver, Panic Room), Scott Glenn (Castle Rock, Training Day), Anthony Heald (8MM, A Time to Kill) as well as Anthony Hopkins and Ted Levine in which we have already touched on. This flick in many ways opened up the doors for other 90’s horror movies such as Scream (1996) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) to have a strong cast with many stars that gives tons of plot outlets on every scene.
The Silence of the Lambs was written beautifully with unique dialogue. The banter between Doctor Lecter and Agent Starling is magical and twisted. The makeup and effects truly give this movie life. At one point, Dr. Lecter disguises his face with that of a security guards by cutting off the victim’s face and putting it over his for an easy escape only to rip it off in an ambulance and munch on a paramedic’s jugular! (Maybe a shout out to Return of the Living Dead?) This movie is timeless, unique, and will scare even the most weathered of horror fans. Give this one a look…after dinner of course.