If you've seen Red Dragon, the 2002 prequel to Silence of the Lambs, you've seen most of Manhunter, which was remade as Red Dragon, with more atmosphere, bigger names, and more graphic gore.
In this earlier version, Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan) does the same mirrors-in-the-eyes bit, and even rolls the flaming (as in "on fire," not as in gay), wheelchair-bound, slimy tabloid reporter (Stephen Lang, who's less interesting but much more hateful than Phillip Seymour Hoffman) to his death. The blind chick Reba (Joan Allen) is here too — but Dollarhyde isn't half as tender with her, or for half as long, as Ralph Fiennes is with Emily Watson in Dragon.
Where things get really different between the two films is toward the end: After killing Reba's friend from the lab (who, here, isn't putting the make on her — he's really just a friend), Dollarhyde takes Reba back to his house and proceeds to terrorize her with broken glass and "In a Gadda Da Vida" played really, really loudly.
Meanwhile, Will (William Petersen) has managed to get inside Dollarhyde's head, and — through a series of events that are kind of pointless to relate here, since they don't ruin anything — Dollarhyde's identity is ferreted out, and Will ends up alone, creeping up on Dollarhyde's house just as the big boy is about to slice Reba's throat. In a rather nicely-filmed slo-mo stunt, Will takes a running leap and crashes through a picture window, while Reba crawls away to safety. Dollarhyde slashes him (superficially, of course), and then throws him down, knocking him out. He comes to after Dollarhyde has blasted away a couple of cops with a shotgun, and — when Dollarhyde fails to blast him away point-blank (oh, puh-leeze!) — Will shoots Dollarhyde to death.
The last we see of Will, he's back home on Captiva Island with his wife and kid. So, there's no big house fire, no switching of bodies, no journal, no William Blake connection, no collection of false teeth, no full-frontal male nudity (what do you mean, you didn't notice Ralph Fiennes' ding-a-ling in Dragon?)... and no more scenes of Hannibal Lecter (Brian Cox), which means no nifty ending introducing us to the sequel, Silence of the Lambs. (But it's still well worth watching.)
Oh yeah, and Dr. Chilton is not a total butthole in this version.
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Hannibal Rising (2007) We need a spoiler!
Red Dragon (2002)
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