Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Character of the Week: Buffalo Bill

Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite movies. It features great performances from Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, and Ted Levine as one of my favorite serial killers in film, Jame Gumb aka Buffalo Bill. Jame Gumb is an Ed Gein-like killer who kidnaps size 14 women and skins them alive in the attempt to make a woman suit for himself. Before killing them, however, he leaves them in a well for a few days and starves them. He also believes himself to be a transexual, but according to Hannibal Lecter he is "not a real transexual." As opposed to Lecter, Buffalo Bill is not at all a charasmatic villian. There is no point in the movie where we find him charming or start to like him. Even though he is obviously insane, you can see in some scenes that he does feel somewhat bad about what he does. He refers to his victims in the third person and as "it" so as not to humanize them. In one of my favorite scenes in the movie he is telling his victim to put on lotion, but when she starts crying you can see that it has an effect on him.

The most frightening scene in the movie is probably the scene where Buffalo Bill turns off all the lights and has on his night vision goggles. Its terrifying because we are seeing from his point of view for the majority of it, and he can see Clarice, but she can't see anything. It gets really freaky when you see his hand start reaching towards her.

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