3. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Ted Levine, Scott Glenn, Brooke Smith, Kasi Lemmons
In a rather loose way, Jonathan Demme’s The Silence Of The Lambs follows Michael Mann’s 1986 flick Manhunter, their connecting thread being the presence of the world’s classiest cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played in Lambs by Anthony Hopkins (in Manhunter, the character is portrayed by Brian Cox). And, for extra background, The Silence Of The Lambs is based on author Thomas Harris’ 1988 novel of the same name, itself the literary sequel to Harris’ ’81 book Red Dragon (the source material for Manhunter).
Got all of that? Cool, now that we’ve ironed out the logistics, let’s get right down to it: The Silence Of The Lambs remains the best serial killer movie of all time. Point blank. The only horror movie to ever win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Demme’s white-knuckler weaves together phenomenal acting (by Hopkins and Jodie Foster, specifically), gruesome visuals, psychological tautness, and one of the creepiest movie villains out there, the lady-killing and skin-suit-making Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). In terms of credibility, horror doesn’t get much more legit than Lambs.