Splatter of the Lambs: the haut cuisine of Hannibal Rising
After the movie version of Silence of the Lambs swept the top five Oscars, including best picture in 1991, writer Thomas Harris has shamelessly cannibalized, I mean capitalized on the popularity of Hannibal Lecter with rapidly diminishing returns ever since. People love to see stories about the reptilian psychopath who combines artistic pretension with a tendency to parbroil his victim’s liver with white wine and truffles, and why not? Certainly, cannibalism is an acquired taste, but it sells tickets in today’s splatter porn-filled theatres. Lecter’s French sauce made out of some guy’s kidneys still seems slightly preferable to the torture chambers of the Hostel and Saw III, but all of the films market sadism for an increasingly jaded audience.
Since Peter Webber of Girl with a Pearl Earring directed this film, I was often surprised by its classy European veneer. Some set designer did go out and find 1950s style cafes and trains and costumes for this Grand Guignol schlock-fest. Just when you think you might have stumbled upon Masterpiece Theater episode,
I did enjoy aspects of Hannibal Rising in an ironic way, mostly because it becomes funny the more it takes itself seriously. Smirking in his lab coat,