Lecter or Lecktor? It’s serial-killer cinema’s equivalent of asking, The Beatles or The Stones?
On the left: Anthony Hopkins hamming it up like an escapee from Christmas panto as Hannibal Lecter in Red Dragon (2002).
On the right: Brian Cox exuding thuggish menace as Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter. Both movies emerged from Thomas Harris’ bestselling thriller. Take your pick which psycho gives you the biggest chills.
It says a lot about Manhunter’s status as a stone-cold ’80s classic, that it’s never been dwarfed by its bigger-budgeted remake or 1991’s Oscar-grabber The Silence Of The Lambs.
Following an FBI forensics expert (William Petersen, pre-CSI) on the trail of a bite-happy serial killer known as The Tooth Fairy (Tom Noonan), it’s a thrilling throwback to an era when Hollywood movies still had the balls to unsettle, rather than let preview test-card scores distract them into blandness.
Although it bombed with audiences back in ’86, it remains one of towering director Michael Mann’s finest films.
Released as a 25th-anniversary disc with the theatrical version and the spurious director’s cut (in a disappointing transfer), this Blu-ray’s impressive Making Of docs aren’t new. But they let Cox remind us again why his Lecktor is the best.
Incarcerated in an antiseptic white cell, not the dank, grand guignol dungeon of Lambs and Dragon, this epicurean psycho is no pantomime baddie.
“My bias was to always play it a little more hidden, a little more unrevealed,” Cox pointedly claims in featurette Inside Manhunter.
Sir Anthony Hopkins, eat your Oscar-winning liver out with some fava beans and a nice chianti...
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