Who Is Hannibal Lecter Based On: Some villains in films and television shows manage to capture our hearts and minds more than others, and it’s no coincidence that they’re usually the ones with the worst reputations. In Fight Club, Tyler Durden is a good illustration of this. Or the Joker, who has become something of a modern Hamlet; actors now consider it a great and weighty honor to play the role. The film’s other notorious psychopath, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, has been portrayed by a number of actors.
Who Is Hannibal Lecter Based On?
While researching a story set in the Topo Chico Penitentiary in Nuevo Leon, Mexico in the 1960s for Argosy, an American pulp fiction magazine published between 1882 and 1978, Thomas Harris was incarcerated there. Twenty-three-year-old Harris was conducting an interview with inmate Dykes Askew Simmons. After being convicted of three counts of murder and committed to the prison’s mental ward, Simmons bribed a guard to help him escape.
The guard accepted the money and temporarily released Simmons. Instead of betraying his employer and helping the inmate escape, the guard shot Simmons while on break. Another inmate, Dr. Alfredo Balli Trevino, came to Simmons’ aid as he lay on the ground, bleeding profusely, and he not only stopped the bleeding but also treated the gunshot wound, saving Simmons’ life.
This piqued Harris’s interest in Trevino, and he began lobbying for an interview with the physician. After doing so, he learned that Trevino had been convicted of murder for the alleged “crime of passion” killing of his boyfriend, Jesus Castillo Rangel. The doctor allegedly gave Rangel an anesthetic after he attacked Trevino with a screwdriver.
He dragged Rangel to the bathroom, where he cut his throat and drained his blood. Doesn’t sound like the kind of thing you’d do in response to getting hit in the face with a screwdriver. Trevino then proceeded to dismember Rangel and place his remains in a box. He went to a farm owned by a relative and asked if he could bury his medical waste there; however, when another worker on the farm saw the mound, he decided to call the police.
To Thomas Harris, the doctor “had a certain elegance about him,” even as he discussed dismembering his boyfriend in the tub. After Harris and Trevino’s interview, a prison guard told him, “Hombre! He has decided to stay here forever. You can’t reason with him; he’s crazy.”
The security guard was, however, incorrect. After his release in the year 2000, Trevino continued to serve the poor by providing them with medical care up until his death in 2009. Trevino’s story is seen by many as one of repentance and redemption on an individual level.
Explain Who Hannibal Lecter Is?
An early version of Hannibal Lecter was featured in Thomas Harris’s novel Red Dragon (1981) as a supporting player. While incarcerated at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, he advised FBI agent Will Graham on how to track down a serial killer. What was originally meant to be a brief appearance in someone else’s story has grown to become one of the most infamous antagonists in all of pop culture.
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In What Ways Are Hannibal Lecter And Alfredo Ball Trevio Alike?
There is an obvious parallel between Hannibal Lecter and Alfredo Ball Trevio in their penchant for murder and dismemberment of their victims, but this isn’t the only area in which Harris found inspiration. It’s also worth noting that even behind bars, Alfredo displayed a refined sense of style and wit. This is strikingly similar to Lecter’s own portrayal, in which he maintains a gentlemanly demeanor in both speech and behavior.
While Harris’s experience in a Mexican prison wasn’t the only source of inspiration for Lecter, it did make it easier for him to enter the twisted mind of a serial killer. In this way, Lecter is more like Mario Puzo’s Don Corleone in that he is a composite character based on actual killers. Whether or not the real-life killer, Trevio, actually ate fava beans with liver from a victim, the real-life killer undoubtedly left a macabre impression on the man who would later become Dr. Lecter.
The Silence of The Lambs (1991)
The original novel was great, but only Jonathan Demme’s classic psychological horror masterpiece lives up to it. The film stars Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter (ha!) and Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling, both of whom give outstanding performances. (Look at those padded shoulders!)
To pass the time while waiting for Lecter to help Starling catch a serial killer, Starling engages in a mental game of cat and mouse with Lecter.
Even now, when I hear “American Girl” by Tom Petty, I can’t help but think of that horrifying movie. In addition, only three other films have ever won the top honors at the Academy Awards the way this one has.