“Hello, Clarice.”

Those two words have been iconized in the world of horror and still runs a shudder through one’s body as spoken from the mouth of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. So, if you are thinking up slicing and dicing up someone’s heart this Valentine’s day, you might have more in common with Lecter.

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS was released on this day in 1991. Although the film is fairly old, the amount of terror it ensues will always remain a classic. The film is based on the book of the same named penned by Thomas Harris. The story follows FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) as she seeks assistance from the cannibalistic psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins) to locate a serial killer, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine).

The film has amassed a cult following and has won Academy Awards in all of the major categories. Best Actress, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay. The film and book are inspired by the sadistic ways of serial killer Ed Gein.

Gein was the “Butcher of Plainfield” – a sadistic and torturous serial killer that showed absolutely no mercy to his victims. Not only did Gein snatch his victims while they were still alive, he was known to frequent cemeteries to dig up bodies. When police began suspiciously, they searched his home and found various body parts in numerous stages of decay. These parts included noses, a human heart, leggings made from human skin and the vulvas of females.

It was only natural that horror writers and directors would jump on this storyline and from Gein’s story THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, PSYCHO and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS was spawned. Gein used the skin of his victims and wore them masks. You might have seen this element in TCM. After Gein’s mother died, he created a “woman” suit so he can become her. This inspired PSYCHO.

Harris began penning the tale of destruction and morbid and it is no doubt that Ed Gein lay heavy on his mind. As a matter of fact, the author even mailed copies of The Red Dragon while the serial killer was serving time.

However, it was the role of Hopkins, Levine, and Foster that took the world by storm. Each of these roles was so immaculately played, it would be hard pressed for any other character or actor to match the talent.

Now, “SILENCE OF THE LAMBS” is entering its 28th year and still manages to tempt us. Let’s enjoy this anniversary by hand plucking a fine piece of liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

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