A serial killer christened Buffalo Bill (Levine) is leaving
a trail of skinned victims and the FBI has no leads. Special Agent Jack
Crawford (Glenn) assigns young, inexperienced agent Clarice Starling (Foster)
to interview a former respected psychiatrist who himself became a vicious
psychopathic serial killer, Dr Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins) and ask him for
his insights into the case.
When is comes to psychological horror movies, one movie stands
out from every other on the genre 'The Silence of the Lambs'.
Horror has many killers that have grabbed filmgoer's imaginations
and scared them witless but there has never been anyone as frightening or
terrifying as Hannibal Lecter. Where many a horror favourite like Freddy
Kruger, Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers might have the same killer credentials,
they all have a supernatural element to them but Lecter is something completely
different. The thing that makes him far more terrifying than any supernatural
killer with a knife is that he could actually exist. An educated man with
psychopathic tendencies who humiliates and then eats his victims is enough
to keep you up at night and this is why 'The Silence of the Lambs' is one
of the most frightening films you will ever see.
The film isn't just about Hannibal Lector however, the brilliance
of the screenplay and the original novel by Thomas Harris includes another
serial killer that is just as maniacal as Lecter. Jame 'Buffalo Bill' Gumb
hunts and kidnaps larger girls, keeps them while he treats their skin and
then kills them, taking their prepared skin to make his own female costume
from human skin. Just as terrifying as Lecter, Buffalo Bill's proves again
that the evils of man are far more sadistic than anything the supernatural
world can conjure up.
Director Jonathan Demme and his ensemble cast bring this picture
to life with all the verve and professionalism that they can muster. There
is nothing clichéd or formulaic about the movie in the slightest, as the
cast and crew push for realism to the point that it became the template
for many a film and TV show that followed its 1991 release. The performances
and script draw you in from the off, but it is the realism and authenticity
that make this far scarier than any Hollywood film that preceded or followed
For the cast these are career defining roles and for Jodie
Foster and Anthony Hopkins, Oscar winning roles. Rookie FBI agent Clarice
Starling took Jodie Foster in a new direction and gave her a second golden
statuette. She brings a believability to the part as the production introduced
the cinematic viewing public to a different side of the FBI. The same can
be said about Scott Glenn's performance as Jack Crawford, the lead investigator.
This is a completely different take on the FBI, away from the usual interfering
Feds that have been portrayed in movies before this.
It is the serial killers that define the film however. Ted
Levine is like no serial killer that had graced the silver screen before.
The macabre nature of his crimes makes him a repulsive but compelling character,
as he keeps his victims in a state of pure terror until they are ripe for
skinning. Levine shines and creates a character that will haunt you for
years to come. Stealing the film is the performance of Anthony Hopkins as
the diabolical Hannibal Lecter. He is the definition of terror and manipulation,
as he plays with the minds of Clarice Starling and prison supervisor Dr.
Frederick Chilton played by Anthony Heald, to get his own way without them
even knowing. Hopkins creates the personification of evil and a character
that defines what man is capable of doing to man.
'The Silence of the Lambs' is a genre defining psychological
horror movie. Many a movie has tried to copy its Oscar winning formula,
even the two follow-ups, but none have ever captured the sheer terror and
realism of the characters and story that made this movie such a success.
By the end you will never enjoy liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the
movie is presented extremely well.
The Silence of the Lambs: The Beginning (15.29 mins)
Director Jonathan Demme and star Jodie Foster talk about the evolution
of the film from the Thomas Harris novel to the final script. The pair
reveals how the film developed at Orion Pictures, from Gene Hackman's
involvement and the original cast ideas for the film. They then talk about
the casting, discussing Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine and Brooke
Smith, as well as the cameos and minor parts in the film.
Documentaries and Interviews
Jonathan Demme and Jodie Foster: Making the Silence of the Lambs (25.59
The director and star talk about creating the Clarice Starling character
and having a female lead character in a thriller. The pair discuss how
the film was shot, with close ups, first person perspective and the actors
talking directly to camera. They also talk about the chemistry between
Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, highlighting the Lecter/Starling dynamic
that is the driving force of the film.
Jonathan Demme and Jodie Foster: Breaking the Silence (8.48 mins)
Director and Star talk about the postproduction and release of the movie.
Highlighting Howard Shore's score, the reaction to the previews and the
changes that were made before the film's release. They also talk about
the critic and audience reaction, the box office and the awards, as well
as the protests from gay rights groups over Buffalo Bill.
Scoring the Silence (15.19 mins)
Composer Howard Shore talks about how the score reflects a woman's point
of view. He talks about Clarice's theme and he reveals how he can only
write a score from the ruff cut of the film.
Inside the Labyrinth (1hr 03.40 mins)
Screenwriter Ted Tally, ex-VP Orion Pictures Mike Medavoy, production
designer Kristi Zea, editor Craig McKay, costume designer Colleen Atwood,
producer Ron Bozman, film critic Amy Taubin, composer Howard Shore and
stars Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Brooke Smith,
Diane Baker, Anthony Heald and Diane Baker take you through the making
of 'The Silence of the Lambs'. From production, the cast, the protests
and the awards, this three-part documentary takes you from book to screen.
It reveals who the characters are based upon, the truth behind FBI behavioural
science unit and the in depth research that both author Thomas Harris
and screenwriter Ted Tally did to bring the story to life. This is a comprehensive
documentary that covers most aspects of the film.
Page to Screen
A Wealth of Talent (18.51 mins)
Screenwriter Ted Tally, producer Ed Saxon, FBI agent John Douglas, ex-VP
Orion Pictures Mike Medavoy and stars Jodie Foster, Kasi Lemmon and Gene
Hackman talk about author Thomas Harris and bringing his novel to the
silver screen. They talk about his style, dialogue and the inspiration
behind the characters.
Preparation and Authenticity (20.41 mins)
Screenwriter Ted Tally, producer Ed Saxon, FBI agent John Douglas, production
designer Kristi Zea, ex-VP Orion Pictures Mike Medavoy and stars Jodie
Foster, Scott Glenn, Anthony Heald and Kasi Lemmon talk about creating
an authentic look and feel to the movie. The featurette covers the extensive
research that went into making the film and how the film was shot to increase
the tension of the piece.
Original 1991 Making of Featurette (7.46 mins)
Director Jonathan Demme, FBI agent John Douglas and stars Jodie Foster,
Anthony Hopkins and Scott Glenn take you behind the scenes of the making
of 'The Silence of the Lambs'. With original on set interviews, the filmmakers
talk about the characters and plot of the movie.
Stills Image Gallery
View images of Jodie Foster/Clarice Starling, Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal
Lecter, Jonathan Demme, Buffalo Bill, Portraits, FBI, Special Effects
and Behind the Scenes
Deleted Scenes (19.35 mins)
Thirty plus deleted or extended scenes showing more of Lecter/Starling
interviews, the firing range, more from the storage locker, extensions
to the investigation and more at the FBI, unfortunately these are not
accompanied by an introduction or commentary track to say why these scenes
TV Spots and Trailer
Watch the promotional cinematic and television trailers
Outtakes Reel (1.40 mins)
Watch Jodie Foster, Scott Glen and Anthony Hopkins make a hash of their
line and have some fun on set.
The ultimate edition of 'The Silence of the Lambs' is filled with extras
that covers the films production and allows the cast and crew from 1991
to reminisce about the mvoie and the effect it had on the genre and their
careers. Fans of the film should be extremely pleased with this package
with the only noticeable absence been a commentary track. This aside this
is still a really good package that fans of the film will revel in.
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