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"Well... here I... am."
—The Tooth Fairy
The first Film of the Book of the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon, this 1987 film features Hannibal Lektor (note the spelling) as played by Brian Cox. Like in Silence of the Lambs, he is used to help an FBI investigator. His name is Will Graham and he is trying to find a serial killer known as Francis Dollarhyde, nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy". As he tries to find the serial killer, Graham's personal demons start to haunt him, affecting his work and his relationships.
A box office flop on release, despite critical approval. It has become a Cult Classic for many Hannibal fans. The lead investigator is played by William Petersen, feeling at times like an extended audition for his CSI role.
The film relied on heavily-tinted scenes and overpowering music. The use of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is very strange to anyone who has ever seen its use in The Simpsons (it times at 17 minutes and 1 second on the album) and looks very much like a movie from The Eighties.
This movie contains examples of:
- Adaptational Heroism: Chilton is much more professional and competent then he was in the books.
- Adaptational Villainy: Dollarhyde lacks the Freudian Excuse and much of the sympathetic traits his novel counterpart had.
- Asshole Victim: Subverted by Freddy Lounds, who’s death is horiffying and completely undeserved, even if he was a complete Jerkass.
- Anti-Hero: Will is one step away from becoming a killer himself.
- Bald of Evil: Francis Dollarhyde.
- Berserk Button: Graham doesn't like it when people bring up his past experience with Lecktor, especially when the one bringing it up is the same tabloid reporter who took advantage of said experience to sell newspapers.
- Blind and the Beast
- Consulting a Convicted Killer: Graham seeks help from Hannibal Lektor in order to gain better insight in finding the Tooth Fairy.
- Cursed with Awesome: Graham's ability to get inside the heads of the killers he tracks makes him good at his job, but puts serious stress on his own sanity at the same time.
- The Danza: William Petersen as William "Will" Graham.
- Eureka Moment: When Graham finally figures out how the Tooth Fairy chooses his victims.
Graham: And you know you need a bolt-cutter and every other Goddamn thing. Because everything with you is seeing, isn't it? Your primary sensory intake that makes your dream live is seeing. Reflections. Mirrors. Images. .... You've seen these films! Haven't you, my man?
- Evil Is Hammy: Largely averted with Brian Cox's cold and understated portrayal of Lecktor (in contrast to Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs).
- Forensic Drama
- A God Am I: Lektor's justification of why he and any Serial Killer commits murder- it makes you feel like you are God. He tells Will to look forward to that feeling.
- Hannibal Lecture: Unsurprisingly, courtesy of Hannibal Lektor.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Is that Bennings? Oh, yeah, and Gil Grissom, Detective Fontana and Cain.
- Locked Into Strangeness: Graham's hair has some gray tinges, due to his experience with Lecktor.
- Jerkass: Brian Cox's take on Lecktor, in contrast to Hopkins's later, Evilly Affable performance. Lounds isn’s far behind, being a sleazy Paparazzi and Casanova Wannabe.
- Mad Doctor: Lecktor.
- Man in White: Lecktor.
- Man On Fire: Freddy Lounds
- Modesty Bedsheet
- Murderer POV: Used at the beginning when the Tooth Fairy enters the Leeds' house. Portions of the sequence are used again when Graham examines the crime scene for the first time; a visual representation of his ability to enter the minds of killers.
- No Periods, Period: Averted somewhat; although, if women in this world didn't menstruate, and we found a box of Maxi-Pads from a world where they did, we'd probably be inclined to assume they're some kind of stick-on blindfold, too.
- Not So Different: Lektor tells this to Graham. And what's scary is that he seems to be right.
Lecktor: You want the scent? Smell yourself.
- Paparazzi: Freddy Lounds, who's so sleazy he even broke into Graham's hospital room to take pictures of his injuries after his encounter with Lektor. Makes it hard to believe he didn't deserve the fate the Tooth Fairy gave him.
- Playing Against Type: Chris Elliott, of all people, in an entirely straight role as one of the FBI techs.
- Police Procedural
- The Profiler: Will Graham.
- Serial Killer: Francis Dollarhyde, aka "The Tooth Fairy" or "The Red Dragon". Also, of course, Dr. Lecktor.
- Shirtless Scene: Petersen gets a few.
- Smug Snake: Cox's Lecktor.
- Spell My Name With An K: Lecktor?
- Sympathy for the Devil: Deconstructed in the uncut version.
Jack: You feel sorry for him.
- Three Scene Wonder: Lecktor appears in only three scenes, but he casts a pall over the entire film. Cox's take on him is a slimy, reptilian version, with cold, black eyes and a seemingly toothless mouth.
- To Know Him I Must Become Him: Graham's method for profiling serial killers, only sometimes it works too well.
- Unintentional Period Piece: The soundtrack and fashions in the film permanently mark it as a product of the 1980s.
- What Could Have Been: According to Brian Cox, Brian Dennehy was "sort of in the loop" to play Lektor. Dennehy, for whatever reason, recommended that they check out Cox, who was performing in a play at the time.
- You Have 48 Hours: Since the Tooth Fairy operates on a lunar cycle, the FBI has until the next full moon to catch him before he kills again. They start out with two weeks, but end up taking it right down to the last minute before the killer claims another victim.