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Hi Gasmii! P-Baby here on this magnificent Wednesday ready to sit like a sack of potatoes on the couch and get my movie watching and Diet Pepsi on. Well, as promised, I headed to Best Buy this past weekend to stock up on some new material as I felt the Book O’ Crappy Movies needed a little updating. Two things of note. 1. Best Buy’s movie selection sucks if you happen to not own a fancy Blu-Ray player and are looking for just regular run of the mill DVDs. 2. Even though the selection sucked, I totally scored a copy of The Watcher in the Woods to scare myself with on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
So today my choice to recap is the oft-referenced The Silence of the Lambs. I don’t have any real reason for picking this one today except that it’s a new DVD to my collection and I didn’t feel like recapping my Netflix movies that came in the mail. (Brothers and The Fourth Kind for those that are curious. Brothers looks like it may be one of the most depressing movies ever and I’m already certain The Fourth Kind sucks.) Plus, even more reason to dance around the house naked shouting “It rubs the lotion on its skin!” though I’m not quite sure I needed more reason to do that since it’s pretty much a daily occurrence anyway.
For lack of anywhere else to place this awesomeness…
In the woods of Quantico, Virginia, our heroine Clarice Starling is working up a sweat on an obstacle course. Her sweatshirt gives away the fact that she is currently in the FBI Academy and also gives away the fact that it is probably the 90′s since it is grey and crew neck with what looks to be a dickie turtleneck underneath. But Clarice doesn’t have time to worry about her sweatshirt or her tapered sweatpants, as she is summoned by a Mr. Crawford for an urgent office meeting.
Clarice heads to the Behavioral Science wing and waits in his office, still not knowing what she is there for. On the wall she notices a bunch of photos of skinned dead bodies and some newspaper clippings about a dude named Buffalo Bill. I swear every movie I watch has newspaper clippings hanging up somewhere. I have never hung newspaper clippings up anywhere in my house ever. The closest I’ve come may be when I wallpapered my room with Backstreet Boy posters circa 1996. I digress.
Mr. Crawford finally shows up and tells Clarice that an interesting job opportunity has popped up, specifically picking her for her smarts, tenacity, and ability to bust balls. Mr. Crawford explains to Clarice that his Behavioral Science unit is currently interviewing a bunch of serial killers to figure out their psyche and one in particular won’t crack. He asks if she’d be willing to talk to the subject, who just happens to be the psychiatrist Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter. Clarice accepts the offer, and is informed to write a detailed memorandum about the visit afterwards. She is instructed not to divulge any personal information and not to let him get inside her head. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.
Clarice shows up for her visit at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane and is lead to Hannibal’s cell by ubercreep Dr. Chilton. Dr. Chilton entices Clarice with a night out on the town in Baltimore but since he’s a megadouche, she declines and is strictly business. Right before she comes face to face with Hannibal, Dr. Chilton explains that Hannibal is extremely manipulative while also physically dangerous, showing Clarice a picture of a nurse whose jaw he ripped off after his restraints were loosened. Nothing like a little pick me up before facing a crazed killer who eats people. If I’m Clarice, I’m probably just going to say, “Eh, fuck this,” and then go get drunk with some of my hot FBI Academy dudes at the local watering hole. But since the last time Clarice got drunk with some dudes she got nailed on a pinball machine and cut all her hair off into a really unflattering pixie cut, she decides facing the beast is a better option.
Clarice walks down the hall of imprisoned crazies and they leave her alone for the most part. Hannibal is standing, calm and waiting for her. She introduces herself and he already knows she was sent by Mr. Crawford. Hannibal asks to see her credentials and he notices that they expire in a week, prompting Clarice to tell him she’s actually a student in training. CLARICE! What did they JUST get done telling you? No personal information you asshat. Fail.
Hannibal invites her to sit down and he starts smelling her through the glass. They continue bantering back and forth politely but Hannibal soon delivers his assessment of Clarice, including a jab about being a step up from white trash and her wearing cheap shoes. Is it shallow that I’d be more offended by Hannibal’s cheap shoe comment then the statement from Miggs, one of the other crazy guys, who said he could “smell Clarice’s see-you-next-tuesday?” only he didn’t use that annoying, cliche phrase. Yes, Gasmii, even I have off limit words in my colorful vocabulary. Clarice is visibly hurt by this tirade, breaking the other rule of not letting this crazy people-eating bastard get into her head. Fail again.
After this failed encounter, Clarice picks up her belongings and walks away defeated. That Miggs guy apparently wasn’t joking around with Clarice’s enticing aroma and as Clarice walks by, he flings his man juice at her, hitting her square in the face. That is so fucking gross I can’t even make a joke about it, except for maybe a pink eye quip or something along those lines. I’d rather just forget it happened. Hannibal gets really pissed about the whole thing and yells for Clarice to come back. He tells her to look within yourself and go seek out a woman named Miss Mofet before Miggs gets himself all worked up again. She also may want to think about taking a dose of antibiotics since I don’t think soap and water are going to do the trick after that nastiness. I got grossed out just watching all the assholes on Bachelor Pad kiss each other and that only involved bodily fluid from the mouth. Imagine if they had some kind of semen-flinging contest next week. They may hit a ratings bonanza but, in turn, would need to scrub my TV with Windex until my elbow fell off.
I’m just going to skip over the sentimental scene of a young Clarice greeting her policeman Dad in a flashback and cross my fingers it doesn’t come back as a major plot point that I am currently forgetting.
Clarice continues her training with target practice, room entering, physical training and additional research about Hannibal Lecter. While studying at the library, Crawford calls Clarice and tells her that the spooge-throwing Miggs is dead after swallowing his tongue. He asks for an update on the Mofet lead and Clarice tells him that she hasn’t come up with anything yet. After deeming the “Look within yourself” advice too cheesy for Lecter and since he’s from Baltimore, Clarice looks in the phone book and locates a Your Self Storage facility right outside the downtown Baltimore area and decides to go there.
At Your Self Storage, the owner tells Clarice that no one has been at that particular unit since 1980 and that it belongs to a person named Hester Mofet. Looks like Clarice isn’t just another pretty face and might be right on track with her detective work. They pop open the door on the unit with a car jack and Clarice wiggles in under the opening. Inside, the unit is cluttered with a bunch of random stuff like a piano, a stuffed bird, some lamps and paintings. Oh yeah, and a severed head too.
Clarice rushes back to the hospital to see Hannibal and confronts him, stating that Hester Mofet is an anagram for “The rest of me,” meaning that he rented the garage. Hannibal pops open his food drawer, presenting Clarice with a towel to dry herself off with. She wants to know whose head is in the jar but Hannibal wants to talk about Buffalo Bill, stating he could help if he saw the case file. The head belongs to a former patient of Lecter’s though he said he didn’t kill this particular victim. These two banter on a little more about nothing really, which I guess is supposed to show how mind manipulating Hannibal can be. He offers to do a psychological profile on Buffalo Bill in exchange for a transfer to a federal facility where he can see trees and such. He indicates a possibility that Buffalo Bill was the fledgling murderer of his patient but leaves it at that.
Finally, we get to meet the famous Buffalo Bill who is stalking out his next victim, a young blonde woman heading into her apartment for the evening. She sees a man with a cast on his arm struggling to put an arm chair in the back of a windowless van and offers to help him. She gets into the back of the van wiggling the chair in. He impolitely asks her if she’s about a size 14, though implying that she is fat is the least of her worries as he punches her in the face three times. Ok lady, How to Avoid Serial Killers 101. First thing’s first. It is late at night so stop fucking around talking to strangers and get your ass into your apartment. 2. Guy with a cast moving a chair. Either his ass needs to wait until his arm is healed or he can call a couple of his drunk buddies to help him out. See the first step and comply. 3. Windowless van. Anyone driving a vehicle of this nature is obviously out to kill you. Under no circumstances should you ever place yourself in one of these, no matter how many sugary treats are offered as enticements. That way you can avoid being knocked out and some lunatic hovering over you just itching to skin your chubby ass.
Back at the FBI Academy, Clarice is called out of class to head to a murder scene down in West Virginia that appears to be a Buffalo Bill victim. Crawford goes over some of the other Buffalo Bill murders on the way down to the crime scene with Clarice asking for her opinion on the whole thing. She says that he must have a house since what he does to his victims takes privacy. Must be in his 30s or 40s and will never stop, though he is not impulsive about the whole thing.
At the crime scene, Clarice looks at the body and sees that her broken fingernails indicates she may have tried to claw her way out of something. They discover a type of cocoon in her mouth, realizing that it was most likely shoved in her mouth and not something that just happened in there from floating in a lake. This victim is also skinned like the others.
Clarice heads to a museum to pick the minds of the nerds in the bug department about the cocoon. So turns out the cocoon is definitely not random as it is a rare type found only in Asia known as the Death’s Head moth. It had to have been grown specifically since Asia is like 10,000 miles and one ocean away from West Virginia. So while I like to consider myself a pretty observant, detail oriented person, I never put the connection together between the moth on the movie poster to the actual movie until after seeing this flick at least 3 or 4 times. I guess all that play-doh eating as a kid had more of an effect on me than originally thought.
Speaking of society outcasts homegrowing moths and other insects, Buffalo Bill has now moved his victim through his funhouse of costumes and wigs to the well in his basement. She’s screaming for help but Bill is busy being naked and sewing himself something pretty.
A news report informs us that the victim is named Catherine Martin and is the daughter of Ruth Martin, a Senator from Tennessee. The government is freaking out and Ruth begs for her daughter to be returned via TV announcement.
Clarice heads back to Lecter’s cell though Dr. Chiltin is pissed because Clarice won’t tell him anything and won’t give up the goods either. She tells Hannibal that if his profile of Buffalo Bill gives them enough information to save Catherine Martin then the Senator will grant him a transfer to a new facility. He says if he helps that he wants the information exchange to be quid pro quo for personal information about Clarice. She then tells Lecter about the death of her father, him being shot, etc. Her mom was already dead so Clarice became an orphan at the age of ten.
He asks if the victims were large girls, which of course they were. He also seems to know that there was a moth in the girl’s throat.
So as an orphan Clarice went to live….OK, sorry Gasmii but I’m done with the story of young Clarice. Bottom line, she didn’t like living there because she hated the screaming sheep who knew they were going to die, making the farm silent…thus The Silence of the Lambs. Got it? Moving on.
Finally, Hannibal tells Clarice that Buffalo Bill is not a transexual but thinks he is. He says that it is very possible that Buffalo Bill would have applied for sexual reassignment surgery at one of the three hospitals performing that perform the operation. He also says that his mentality comes from years of childhood abuse. PS. That nosy bastard Dr. Chilton is listening in on the entire conversation via microphone hidden somewhere down there.
Finally, Buffalo Bill comes back with his weird lotion demands. It rubs the lotion on its skin. It does this whenever it is told.
Dr. Chiltin is now toying with Hannibal about the deal Clarice offered him, demanding to know who Buffalo Bill is. Turns out the Senator never made that offer and now she is really pissed about the whole thing. Hey stupid Senator, do you want your daughter back or not? Stop being such a power hungry bitch.
Hannibal gets transferred down to Memphis for a meeting with Senator Martin, strapped to a gurney in a straight jacket and mask. Lecter has also somehow managed to snag Dr. Chilton’s pen which means old doc may be leaving us in the very near future, or at least by the end of the movie.
Senator Martin has brought a new offer but Hannibal says enough time has already been wasted. He tells them all about Buffalo Bill, including his real name, Louis Friend, and his connection to Lecter’s severed head patient. He also gives a physical description and asks about the state of the Senator’s nipples. Dr. Chilton holds a press conference based off the information Hannibal just provided but he’s really just a publicity whore.
Already having been fooled once by Hannibal’s brain teasing anagrams, Clarice immediately starts trying to rearrange the letters of Louis Friend. She pays Lecter another visit in his cage and says that Louis Friend translates to iron sulfide also known as fool’s gold. More smart, engaging conversation between the two as Hannibal tries to guide Clarice into the right answers. Chiltin kicks Clarice out but as she’s being escorted out, Hannibal calls her back to retrieve her case file. Also, he still hasn’t given up the goods as to the real name of Buffalo Bill.
Some guards bring Hannibal his dinner and we see that he’s developed more than an interest in Clarice as indicated by a drawing he’s done. Hiding behind a screen Hannibal hides a small metal object in his hands that he uses to pick his handcuffs while the guards place his meal in his cage. He attacks the guards and beats them dead with their own batons.
The cops in the Memphis station realize something has gone horribly wrong when they hear shots being fired and some funny elevator action on the 5th floor, which I guess is where Hannibal was being held. Hannibal has indeed escaped and killed at least one police officer in the process while severely injuring the other who is laying on the ground still breathing but with hamburger for a face.
Speaking of washed up musicians whose name has been thrown around as a potential American Idol judge, hello Chris Isaak, SWAT team leader! How’s it going? That Wicked Game video is pretty hot stuff, nice work on the whole supermodel rolling around in the sand thing.
The cops figure out after some blood on the ceiling of the elevator that Lecter must be on the roof of the elevator. Peering in the shaft, they see his body and shoot him in the leg to confirm he’s actually dead. Opening the escape hatch in the roof, the body drops down limply. In the ambulance on the way to the hospital, an EMT is calling in the situation with the hamburger cop (Is it me or can I never say the words “the situation” again without thinking of the lovable Jersey Shore bunch. It also causes giggling at inopportune moments at my grown up job.) Well, turns out the hamburger cop is Hannibal with the skinned face of the actual dead cop masking his. Sweet baby Jesus. I may have just crapped my pants.
Moviegasm Trivia Time: Kasi Lemmons plays Clarice’s buddy in this flick. Can anyone tell me what other movie she played buddy to the main character in?
Anyway, Clarice and Kasi talk about the ambulance EMT incident and Clarice just can’t figure out the hint from Lecter that all she needs to find Bill is hidden within the pages of his profile. Why don’t you try actually reading the file, Clarice? I mean, I know you are smart and all but you never know what you may find.
Low and behold, after cracking the file open the next day, Clarice finds a handwritten note on the map showing where the murders occurred, indicating the different locations are “desperately random.”
OK , Gasmii. Bear with me. About 900 words just got deleted when my stupid computer decided to disconnect from the internet. So in the interest of my own sanity, after heading to the first Buffalo Bill victim’s home, interviewing her friend, and snooping around her room, Clarice is led to a Mrs. Pitman’s home which just happens to be occupied by Buffalo Bill aka Jamie Gumb/John Grant. We know that is his real name since Crawford and Clarice talked on the phone not to long ago and he told her after she figured out that Buffalo Bill was making clothes out of his victim’s skin. There was a pretty intense scene of back and forth between Bill’s house and the empty house the FBI busted into but we’re not getting into that one. Just know that Bill is pissed that Catherine has managed to capture Precious and hold her hostage down in the well. I think that’s everything. Fucking computers.
Ever the eloquent, sensitive, neighborly gentleman, Bill’s memory is jogged when Clarice reminds him of a certain attribute of the murder victim.
So Clarice goes into Bill’s house, not knowing that she is in the presence of a serial killer, but soon realizes shit is really wrong, with the random moths and giant spools of thread occupying the kitchen. She draws her gun on Bill but he manages to escape out of her eye sight. Clarice heads down into the basement discovering Catherine in the well. Clarice tells her she is with the FBI and that Catherine is now safe but that seems a little premature to me since Clarice currently has no fucking idea where Bill ran off to. She asks Catherine, the girl located 12 feet underground where Bill is and Catherine’s response is quite appropriate in this situation.
Catherine gets pissed when Clarice tells her she has to leave her there and go look for Bill. Clarice continues looking around the basement, finding not a whole lot except a bathtub with a rotting body. Then the lights go out. If I’m Clarice, my pants are officially soiled and I’m probably curled up in the fetal position next to dead lady in the tub waiting for Bill to turn me into a winter coat. That’s probably why I sit on my ass recapping movies while Clarice hunts down serial killers. But seroiusly, Clarice, you’re fucked.
Through night vision, we can see Bill watching Clarice as she feels her way around the basement. Just give it a minute girl and your eyes will adjust. He gets closer and closer to her, unbeknownst to her. Bill reaches out and even whiffs at Clarice’s hair but she feels nothing. He holds a gun up to shoot her but as he cocks it, Clarice fires off four rounds, shooting Bill in the chest.
Epilogue: Clarice graduates from the FBI Academy and Crawford pulls her aside, congratulating her.
Oh yeah, and Hannibal Lecter is still out there. Guess that means we’ll be hearing from him soon, in the form of a horrendous sequel ten years later.