Wednesday, July 24, 2013

011: Silence of the Lambs (1991) - CLARICE!


Also, the opening song is definitely NSFW.

In this episode:
  • Cleolinda Jones joins us for our discussion! W00T!
  • Discussion of the 1991 adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel The Silence of the Lambs, including Jodie Foster's performance as Clarice, Anthony Hopkins' iconic performance as Hannibal, and comparing/contrasting with NBC Hannibal
  • This is another long one, so here are some time marks for major discussions:
    • What is horror? (7:48) The Wikipedia article on horror and terror, featuring the Ann Radcliffe definition Cleo mentions
    • Watching "Silence of the Lambs" in the context of NBC's Hannibal (23:20)
    • Cinematography and blocking (36:15)
    • TV SPOILERS: Abigail's dead, guys, and we need to start the healing process. Also, IT SOMEHOW FINDS A WAY TO GET WORSE. (48:28)
    • Ted Levine's performance as Buffalo Bill (1:11:05)
    • The problematic nature of Buffalo Bill's confusing trans*?/not trans*?/genderqueer? status, intersectionality, and how to be a fan of problematic things (1:15:24)
    • Casting discussion (1:34:52)
    • Will NBC get the rights to the Silence of the Lambs characters? Also, possible alternatives. (1:47:14)
    • Why people should go ahead and watch "Silence of the Lambs," despite it being the blueprint for future seasons of the TV series (1:51:40)
    • Flower crowns: what is the dealio. (1:54:25)
  • Cleo sheds light on different aspects of the story and film-making with her notes on the Criterion commentary and deleted scenes.
  • Cleo and Fio (holy crap I just realized that rhymes) have both read the books. I have not. They have cool insights into the movie and how it compares to the book. I do not.
  • Apparently, Cleo falls out of her chair a lot. X)
  • Clarice really is a badass.
  • Lecter's "humanity," and how this influenced Hopkin's portrayal
  • Here's a list of odds and ends links:
  • We had a slight issue with Cleo's audio at some points, but I don't think it gets too distracting.
  • I couldn't find the name of the girl Clarice examines in the moment Jodie Foster refers to as "hero accepting her task." If anyone knows, leave a comment or send us an email.
  • We did our best in the time we had to discuss the issues of Buffalo Bill's problematic representation/non-representation of the trans* community, but please let us know if any corrections need to be made or if someone better informed than us would like to weigh in on the discussion.
  • A lot of stuff happened at the SDCC panel and the fan meet-up, which we'll probably discuss a little bit next episode.
  • I'm probably forgetting something. Let us know in the comments or email.
  • Intro: "Put the F*cking Lotion in the Basket" - Jon Kaplan & Al Kaplan | YouTube | iTunes |
  • Outro: "Goodbye Horses" - Garvey | YouTube | iTunes |
(Screencaps from, Neil DeGrasse Tyson meme pulled from


  1. Tell us how you really feel about Chilton, Cleo! No need to hold back... ;-)

    (on Lecter being rude to Clarice) As Alana said, "Rude! Shockingly rude!"

    Veal cheek... O.O OMG!

  2. Re: Buffalo Bill and transphobia

    I think, if we ever get to The Silence of the Lambs, the best way to not horribly insult trans people is to include other trans characters. To make a bad simile: Hannibal Lecter isn't a serial killer because he's a psychiatrist. The audience KNOWS there are non-evil psychiatrists because they see Alana being a psychiatrist who is a good person.

    Also, I would probably die of happiness if I saw a well-written story where Clarice Starling was a trans woman. Not only does it put a face on "trans people, whatever those are," it sets her up as a foil for Buffalo Bill: a man who kills and discards women because he fetishizes bits and pieces of them vs. a woman who forfeited every societal privilege that comes with being seen as male because this is who she is. Also, it would be an interesting addition to her backstory and add a new dimension to her relationship with her daddy.