‘Red Dragon:’ Serial killer controversy after sniper attacks & Hollywood films’ effect

By on November 7, 2002

“The Silence of the Lambs” prelude “Red Dragon” is doing well at box offices nationwide, breaking the October record with $37.5 million grossed, but the issue of the serial killer in Hollywood cinema was raised recently in a stir with the Washington, D.C., area sniper.
“Red Dragon” opened Oct. 4, two days after the first sniper shooting, while the media and Hollywood circle have been up in arms since.
The 1970’s New York City “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz, imprisoned in upstate New York, commented on the motives of the sniper as a serial killer, and how Hollywood glamorizes violence.
With what may be motivated by the Hannibal Lecter film starring Anthony Hopkins, Berkowitz said the Washington sniper(s) may be feeling a strong demonic bondage as that of Lecter and Ralph Fiennes’ character Francis Dolarhyde, the Red Dragon in the film.
The movie stars Edward Norton as troubled FBI agent Will Graham, looking for clues into a new serial killer case of who becomes known as “the Tooth Fairy.” Notice the burnt-out pair between Graham and ex-partner Jack Crawford, played by Harvey Keitel.
There is the push to find more clues, which inevitably are sought from psychotic serial killer Hannibal Lecter, and already there is the downplaying of law enforcement, manipulation even, by the two secretly communicating killers.
This was the case with Thomas Harris’ other novels turned blockbuster films, “Hannibal” and “Silence of the Lambs.”
Also controversial is the face of the tabloid press reporter Freddy Lounds, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who gets mixed up in the triangle of Graham, Lecter and Dolarhyde.
Wanting exclusive rights to interview a killer, naive as it always seems to turn out, Lounds ends up mutilated, set-afire and, you guessed it, dead.
As a preceding story, “Red Dragon” strikes the most evil, fearful and personal struggle over image than its two following stories.


About Mike Schoeck