In 1991 when ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ was released into theaters for the first time, I was fresh out of high school and embarking on my journey of higher education and even higher roommates. Bad beer flowed (remember Bud Dry?) and parties at questionable locales with questionable substances were how we spent every free moment. Ahhhhh, the good ol’ days.
I saw ‘Silence of the Lambs’ with my mom. Maybe not a super cool move for such a fresh, young party girl, but my mom and I have always had an understanding. If it’s scary or if there are star ships, we see it together. The trailer for Silence of the Lambs was mesmerizing. We both knew immediately that this film was a game changer. We were not disappointed.
Having the opportunity to see this film again, 25 years later and once again on the big screen was like visiting an old, dear friend at the local mental hospital with a roll of drawings tucked under your arm. On a very personal note, I was sick as a dog with a nasty flu bug when I attended the Psycho Cinema showing, but there was no way in hell that I was going to miss seeing Hannibal wax poetic while dispensing anagrams like candy, or miss witnessing Clarice all tarted up like a well polished rube with cheap shoes and a little taste trying to impress Hannibal into giving her more information. I sure as hell wasn’t going to miss Buffalo Bill tucking and sewing his person suit. Nothing short of a full body cast was going to keep me out of the theater to see this beloved film. Silence of the Lambs is a perfect, memorable, quotable dark-ass work of art.
This movie leaves you with an unmistakable moody dread. You feel it long after the screen goes dark. It’s become part of our culture. What a fucked up, perverted little culture we’ve become…
Think of all the classic lines that we’ve all quoted. ‘Hello, Clarice’. (Faye, our hostess with the most-est for Psycho Cinema showings kindly pointed out that this line is never actually spoken. True fact. Hannibal actually says, ‘Good evening, Clarice’).
What about the fava bean sucky noise that we’ve all attempted to do at least once? Apparently that was something that Sir Anthony ad libbed.
I’m sure some of you guys have attempted the tuck. Don’t be shy now, it’s all good. Whether or not you asked yourself if you’d fuck yourself, I suppose that is your business. I don’t judge.
Admit it, every time you hear Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’, you scan for a van and a guy trying desperately to get a chair into it.
How many hundreds of times have you instructed someone in the lotion aisle at Target to ‘put the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again’. Okay, maybe that’s just me.
I am unabashedly in love with the bug guys and I have always wanted a death’s head moth. I would die to have a burger and beer with the wonky-eyed scientist. Swoon…
Sometimes when I am on a wait list at a restaurant, I give them my name as ‘Fredericka Bimmel’.
Every time I use Vicks VapoRub, I replay the autopsy scene in the funeral home.
I have always worn a size 12 or size 14. Imagine what kind of stress this provides me. Daily.
If you have never seen this film, please watch it. Now. I know the film so well that I found it really hard to write a traditional review. I chose instead to celebrate all of the ways that it has touched my life over the years. If I had to provide a synopsis, I would say that it is, at its core, a psychological thriller. It follows a young FBI agent in training as she forges a really fucked up relationship with a cannibal psychiatrist who takes a shine to her. Shenanigans ensue.
After 25 years, it holds up too. If you don’t shudder when Anthony Hopkins’ dementedly calm visage takes up the whole freaking screen as he forces Clarice to remember the screaming of the lambs, then you are not human. I felt that moment in my toes. I am forever thankful to our little dynamo of a film club, Psycho Cinema for hosting this. I seriously get a little emotional for a few films and Silence of the Lambs is one of those for me.