The Return of the Dragon: The Cinematic Appetizers for “HANNIBAL” Season Three

With the recent announcement that the one and only Bryan Fuller, who is the mastermind of NBC’s HANNIBAL, will serve as FANGORIA’s first ever Special Guest Editor in FANGORIA #343, the fine young cannibals here at FANGORIA have been beaming with eerie excitement. Yet for those who can’t wait for their Fuller fix next month, the third season of HANNIBAL is a mere two weeks from debuting, picking up from the bloody and brutal cliffhanger that left many of our heroes at the wrong end of Dr. Lecter’s blade. And while perhaps a Hannibal Lecter marathon leading up to the premiere might work for some of the hungrier horror fans out there, this writer feels that taste is a bit… familiar. So in light of that, FANGORIA has assembled some welcome cinematic appetizers for those chomping at the bit for their third serving of HANNIBAL…Of course, one of the more intriguing aspects of HANNIBAL’s third season is how the season will be acting as a bit of an amalgamation of the HANNIBAL mythos. Aspects of Thomas Harris’ HANNIBAL RISING (2006), HANNIBAL (1999), and RED DRAGON (1991) as well as their respective film adaptations will be making up the story of HANNIBAL season three, especially now that the show has confirmed the upcoming appearances of Lady Murasaki, Francis Dolarhyde and Rinaldo Pazzi. And considering Bryan Fuller’s penchant for elegance and surrealism on the show, the culture clash is likely to show in a beautiful, terrifying way.

Of course, if the series takes a pit stop in Murasaki’s home in Paris, we’re likely to see Dr. Lecter and Dr. Du Maurier against a Parisian backdrop yet among some gorgeous Japanese decor. In a weird way, such a setting would be perfect for the two lovers on the run, with their demented nature leaving them as high-class strangers in a high-class strange land. Perhaps a good film to encapsulate these feelings, as well as the overall nature of Fuller’s grisly vision, would be Marina de Van’s IN MY SKIN, a tale of psychosis and self-mutilation set against a unique French cultural backdrop. However, for those more entranced by the Japanese visuals on display, one might gravitate towards Takashi Miike’s AUDITION, which definitely suits as a cinematic soulmate to the more surreal and suspenseful moments of HANNIBAL.


However, Lecter and Du Maurier will of course make their way to Italy, and by that point, audiences will be creeping towards the eventual manhunt led by Graham and Pazzi. Of course, when it comes to the elegant and surreal, there’s few filmmakers whose work would match up with HANNIBAL’s sensibilities than Dario Argento. However, for the overall lack of the supernatural on the show, one might find a suitable appetizer in Argento’s DEEP RED, which keeps the crazier supernatural aspects to a minimum while exploring the beauty of the horror maestro’s nightmarish vision.

But one must also not forget that once Francis Dolarhyde becomes involved, the series will become a different beast entirely, and considering how the show has previously handled Hannibal’s horrific handiwork, this might be our most visceral and unsettling depiction of “The Red Dragon” to date. Yet the Red Dragon, in all of his psychopathic tendencies, is much like Hannibal in that he’s ultimately human, and expresses a wealth of emotion within his actions. As a prelude to these episodes, one might want to take in a fright film such as Bill Paxton’s FRAILTY, Anthony Minghella’s THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, Andrzej Zulawski’s POSSESSION or even Brian De Palma’s CARRIE. Each film respectively captures the desperation, justification, reluctance and alienation that makes up the genetic foundation of Dolarhyde, and would likely be a perfect predecessor to the latter half of HANNIBAL’s next outing.

And then there’s the aesthetics and voice of Fuller himself, whose taste for the cinematic oozes through every frame of HANNIBAL. However, Fuller also offers much of his own personality through his characters and his moments: his grotesque taste for grandiose anatomical gore, his penchant for dark-leaning humor and karmic justice, and the liberal use of dream logic within the mind of Will Graham. For these appetites, this writer would recommend the following chilling cinematic cocktail: Gyorgy Palfi’s Hungarian body horror TAXIDERMIA, Ernest Dickerson’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT and  Neil Jordan’s THE COMPANY OF WOLVES. And, of course, for all three, all you really need is Tommy Lee Wallace’s HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, because we all need new reasons to revisit HALLOWEEN III as much as possible.


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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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