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The Silence of the Lambs$
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Barry Forshaw

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733650

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733650.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Hannibal’s Precursors

Hannibal’s Precursors

(p.11) Hannibal’s Precursors
(p.3) Devil’s Advocates

Barry Forshaw

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the other serial killers in the cinema before Hannibal Lecter. In 1959, the writer Robert Bloch was inspired by the gruesome case of the Wisconsin mass murderer Ed Gein, with his keepsakes of bones and human skin. He transmuted elements of the Gein case into the phenomenally successful Psycho (published 1959), reconfiguring the real-life Gein as the chubby, unprepossessing mother's boy Norman Bates, who dispatches a variety of victims in gruesome fashion. Subsequently, Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation of the novel (1960) laid down the parameters for a variety of genres: the serial killer movie, the slasher film, and the modern big-budget horror film which utilises above-the-title stars rather than the journeyman actors who had populated such fare previously. But above all else, Hitchcock and his talented screenwriter Joseph Stefano created a template for the intelligent, richly developed, and charismatic fictional serial killer in their version of Norman Bates. Hitchcock's film was to influence a generation of film-makers and writers; among them Thomas Harris.

Keywords:   fictional serial killers, Hannibal Lecter, Robert Bloch, Psycho, Norman Bates, Alfred Hitchcock, serial killer movie, slasher film, horror film, Joseph Stefano

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