Forgotten Frights II: Silence of the Lambs

Forgotten Frights is back! To celebrate the second anniversary of our annual horror movie roundup, every weekday for the next month we're going to sound off on a scary good sequel (or, if we want some cheese with our corn syrup, a schlocky second), ruminating on the returns of our favourite monsters, murderers, heroes (or heroines), creepies, crawlies, chills and thrills.

What came before it: Manhunter. The 1986 Michael Mann film is based on theThomas Harris novel Red Dragon and follows a detective (William Peterson) who enlists the help of Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Brian Cox), the psychiatrist and cannibalistic killer that once tried to murder him, in investigating the "Tooth Fairy" murders.  

What remains: Not much. Hannibal is back again, this time played by the man who would make him famous, Anthony Hopkins. But as in the Harris sequel of the same name, this time Hannibal is working alongside a female detective, Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), and hunting a killer named "Buffalo Bill" (Ted Levine).

Why it deserves a second (or third, or fourth) chance:
  •  It's one of the only horror films to get nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award. What's more? It won. 
  • Hopkins is obviously sssssssstellar in his first turn as Hannibal. But Foster is also unquestionably amazing as Clarice. She's much more engaging than Peterson was in Manhunter, mainly due to her crazy chemistry with Hopkins.
  • With Foster at the helm, Clarice becomes an ultimate final girl. She's smart, fearless and unintimidated by rare moths that have been hiding out in dead girl's throats.  
  • It has one of the most memorable and terrifying final showdown sequences ever. The best non-sexy use of night vision I can remember.
  • Unlike the later Hannibal films, most of the killings are left  mysterious and off-screen. So when creepy something does happen, it takes you aback and really stays with you. It's always simple and real too - like when we see Buffalo Bill subtly lure his first victim into a van. Shudder.
  • This is the flick that made fava beans and a nice Chiant the horror movie equivalent of PB & J.
  • The ending is so clever, leaving things on a haunting, yet darkly hilarious note, while also marking a clear path for sequels. Although, neither Hannibal nor Red Dragon comes close to this.

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