Adapting the Cannibal: The Gothic Essence of Hannibal Lecter



Year of publication 2016
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description This paper pinpoints the Gothic aspects of the character of Hannibal Lecter in Thomas Harris' 1981 crime novel Red Dragon, where Lecter functions as a secondary character. Lecter’s character meets the requirements of the formulaic Gothic features such as being able to produce sublime terror, liminality and the uncanny. He also fulfils the characteristics of the Gothic villain and vampire. These Gothic features were used as a basis for the serialized NBC adaptation Hannibal in which Lecter is the main character. The issues connected to a novel-film adaptation and the treatment of the source text are discussed and applied to the adaptation in question. The Gothic aspects are clearly manifesting themselves not only in the narrative of the TV series but most importantly in the filming techniques used to set up a particular mood. Due to the creators’ awareness of the medium potential and their heavy aural-visual approach to the adaptation, it is explained how Hannibal underwent a genre change from a crime thriller to a Gothic series.
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