Thirty years ago today, couples flocked to the movies on Valentine’s Day to catch the latest new release.
The Silence of the Lambs.
That’s right, one of the more disturbing psychological thrillers of all time opened Feb. 14—and, really, what better movie do you go see if you’re hoping to do a lot of clinging to each other in the theater? (It could’ve opened on the 15th, a Friday, but no. Here’s looking at you, Eros.)
The hotly anticipated adaptation of Thomas Harris‘ bestselling novel would go on to make almost $273 million at the box office worldwide and win five Academy Awards—and it remains the only movie considered a horror film to ever win Best Picture, as well as one of only three movies to ever win the top prize along with Oscars for directing, lead actor, lead actress and screenplay.
But does The Silence of the Lambs hold up as horror, or even as scary, all these years later?
Well, strip away the iron grip the film has on our culture as an endlessly quotable hotbed of references, the famous lines (and sounds) having been implanted in our brains, never mind that at their core they’re super dark. Ignore the slew of parodies, most recently one performed by Jodie Foster herself, as well as all the time we’ve had to poke holes and ask, “Well, why did they choose to do [insert any quibble],” and the answer is…
You may know the movie’s pieces all too well, but put them back together and you still have a terrifying whole, which includes the fact that you’re glad the vicious but strangely chivalrous Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter got away, an antihero for the ages.
And of course there’s a hell of a story to be told about the making of this enduring classic, which at the time was a movie like no other for everyone involved in its production. So, we’ve dissected that tale for parts to bring you the juiciest bits, some rarer than others.
Dig in and surely those lambs will stop screaming:
The utter absorption with this saga continues with Clarice, CBS’ new psychological horror drama that picks up a year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs, starring Rebecca Breeds as Starling, now a full-on FBI agent who happens to be haunted for life.
But aren’t we all.