Spooptoberfest 2019: Red Dragon

Halloween is my favorite holiday. So much so, that I enjoy dedicating the entire month of October to all things horror. Thus I call it, Spooptoberfest: a month-long celebration of all things demonic, paranormal, gory, and scary. Last year I shared 31 horror movies and wrote a lite sentence or two on why I highly recommended them. This year, I wanted to slow down, step back, and share only 5 (different) movies that hold a special place in my heart and go a little more in-depth as to why. Let’s get spoopy.

Red Dragon

Anthony Hopkins and Edward Norton in Red Dragon (2002)

Release Date: October 4th, 2002
Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Emily Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Plot: Remember The Silence of the Lambs?… yeah
Interesting Fact: Sir Anthony Hopkins stated that one of his goals in playing Hannibal Lecter for a final time was to re-establish that he is an evil serial killer, as Hopkins believed Hannibal had come to be seen too much as a likable anti-hero by audiences.
Best Line: “Our scars have the power to remind us that the past was real.”
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%
Coffee Sip Score: 9/10

Ralph Fiennes in Red Dragon (2002)

Why it’s recommended:

I absolutely love the Hannibal Lecter universe. I’ve read all the books, seen all the movies multiple times, and have binged the TV show more times than necessary. Obviously, I recommend the books over the movies by far (although seasons 1 & 2 of the show are virtually perfect), but the movies, The Silence of the Lambs is a perfect example, can tell the story just as powerfully.

Ralph Fiennes and Emily Watson in Red Dragon (2002)

I chose this version of Red Dragon for many reasons. Don’t get me wrong though, Michael Mann’s Manhunter is still an effective and faithful-to-the-book film that I highly recommend. After the failing of Ridley Scott’s Hannibal in 2001 (seriously though… Ridley… what happened here?), I couldn’t imagine the stress that was on director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour Trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand) to redeem this cinematic universe. Luckily he had Ted Tally (writer of The Silence of the Lambs screenplay) on his side (maybe that’s who Ridley was missing), and Brett successfully crafts this film in a way that is dark, horrifying, and thrilling. Red Dragon captures excellent performances from its many familiar faces; nearly everyone is perfect for their role. The pacing keeps you on edge as Will gets closer to catching the Tooth Fairy and The Tooth Fairy gets closer to his next victim. The plot humanizes our villain as we dive deep into his mental state. We understand what his motives are and the higher power that stands mighty over him, and how he tries to escape the mental torment. The score is haunting and the realistic horror of the Tooth Fairy’s work will make you triple check you have your doors locked at night.

Even though it is very similar to its predecessors, Red Dragon still proves that Hannibal Lector isn’t the only criminally insane monster among us.

CAUTION:

The direction of the performances is inconsistent (Philip Seymour Hoffman seems to mumble all of his lines), it’s just about the same exact movie as Lambs, and you get to see Voldemort full-on naked.

Anthony Hopkins and Edward Norton in Red Dragon (2002)

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