I don't do this very often but because it's Monday, I think I will. The Silence of the Lambs is the fucking bees knees. I mean it. I tried to sit down and name things that were wrong with it but I couldn't do it. The Silence of the Lambs is one of those movies where if you see that it's playing on TV, you sit down and watch it every time. It doesn't matter how many times you've seen Hannibal Lecter pull off his jaw dropping escape or how many times you've gnashed your teeth together watching Clarice brave the darkness in Buffalo Bill's basement. It doesn't matter how many times you've puked in your mouth after Migg's throws his jizz at Clarice's face, or how many times you've quoted the famous lotion in the basket scene---it never gets old.
However, when I saw that the film was streaming on Netflix Instant Watch, I got gleefully excited not because I could watch it but because I could take a screenshot. I've been trying to take a decent shot of this particular scene for a long time now because I feel that it's one of those things that seldom gets brought up when it definitely should. This scene was responsible for a few of my nightmares after all. I speak of the moment right before the lights are turned off and Clarice gets plunged into darkness.
Right before the darkness falls, Clarice is staring straight at what I find to be one of the most disgusting things ever put on film. Yes, more disgusting even than teenagers being forced to eat poop, or.... twenty somethings being forced to eat poop. You see, after years and years of telling myself that it's only a tub, it's only a tub, I have come to the conclusion that it is NOT only a tub, it is a tub filled with decaying, bloated, old woman FLESH and it's fucking gross.
You know what it looks like?
I used to watch this scene and physically scream out in despair. Of course, the moment was so quick that I promptly forgot it had ever happened (Like that time I saw a fat Swedish woman's boob in the locker room when I was 12). Now that I'm staring wide eyed at the abomination, I can only whine like Brad Pitt and keep repeating, "What's in the tub?!!?! What's in the tub?!?!"
And Morgan Freeman won't tell me because he's got a heart buried deep down inside his tired old detective man shoes after all. And also, he's too far away.
But honestly. Why don't we ever talk about the tub? I find it to be one of the most horrific things in the whole movie. Here we have what is presumably Mrs. Lipman's body and it has been festering in an old tub for the better part of 2 years. I think what is so damaging about this death is how carelessly her body is put in the tub. It's left there and it's left to rot and decay and bloat whereas Jame's other victims get the all-star treatment of being carefully and meticulously cultivated into a fine woman suit. There's something quite unnerving and brutal about Mrs. Lipman's death and yet we never really know much about it. How did he kill her? Did she put up a struggle? All these questions start pouring out of my head the longer I stare at her disgusting body.
This tub has always baffled me, disgusted me and intrigued me. And really, can I say that about any other tubs? Probably not.
Also interesting and rarely the topic of conversation are these suspicious photographs of Buffalo Bill with naked women.
I THOUGHT HE WAS A STRAIGHT WOMAN NOT A LESBIAN OKAY?! Or is he a gay man? I'm so confused!!
This is a "watch whenever I come across it on tv" movie for me too.
I feel like I've seen other movies with gross tubs in them too.
I remember thinking that the tub was one of the grossest things I'd ever seen when I first saw this movie. I feel sorry for the FBI forensics person who has to sort out Mrs. Lipman into a few five gallon buckets. Yuck.
As I recall, in the book, they say that Bill is almost certainly not a transsexual. He just has really low self esteem or something.
Buffalo Bill was a gay man who wanted to dress (or live) as a woman. I think he wanted to have a sex change (but couldn't? ) and chose the skin suit as his way of doing that.
In fact the director Jonathan Demme ( a noted liberal guy) was so upset because at the time the film was released it was criticized by gay rights advocates for continuing to foster he idea that gay people are all wackos and psychopaths.
He made the movie PHILADELPHIA with Tom Hanks as a sort of apology to the gay community.
Silence of the Lambs is one of the best movies in the last 50 years.
And good call on the tub. I have been strangely fascinated by that scene as well. What the hell was that and what happened?
That's what I thought as well Doug, but apparently the book is claiming low self esteem! I do believe the book changed that though because Lecter most certainly identifies him as wanting to be a female, hence the rejected sex change operation thingy. An interesting and complex character indeed!
It's more along the lines that he hates himself, owing to having been abused as a child, like most actual serial killers. He "tries on" different identities, which Lecter alludes to (in the movie) when he says he expects Bill failed at a lot of things. That's why the surgeons wouldn't accept him for surgery, because he wasn't actually a transsexual.
I love this post.
The Corpse In The Tub has haunted me for years. I agree that it's one of the scariest parts of the film, if not THE scariest. It's strange but I'm endlessly fascinated with that one scene...
Patrick Bateman: "I killed Paul Allen with an axe in the face, his body is dissolving in a bathtub in Hell's Kitchen." (American Psycho...just like Mrs Lippman in SOTL)
Oh and guess who else gets mentioned in that film (Am Psycho)...yes Ed Gein, who Buffalo Bill (SOTL) was mainly based on!
Bateman: Do you know what Ed Gein said about women?
Van Patten: Ed Gein? Maitre d' at Canal Bar?
Bateman: No, serial killer Wisconsin in the fifties.
McDermott: So what did Ed say?
Bateman: When I see a pretty girl walking down the street I think two things. One part of me wants to take her out and talk to her and be real nice and sweet and treat her right.
McDermott: And what did the other part think?
Bateman: What her head would look like on a stick. [chuckles]
Gein didn't actually say that quote in real life, Kemper did...but they still managed to shoe-horn Gein into the picture anyways)
I have not read the book so I don't know if this theory can be debunked quickly or not, but I watched the movie again just now:D And my first thought after I heard Buffalo Bill say to Clarice that Mrs Lippman has a son, is that in a kind of Psycho-esque way, secretly HE was in fact her son, perhaps she was responsible for his abuse as a child, which is why he carelessly kept her in the tub and possibly killed her. Other than learning on his own in a non-related way to her death after taking over her house, it can also explain why he is very talented at sewing. Feels kind of strange responding to a 6 year old post, but then again that is the love of the internet. The movie is great, the bathtub shot is brutal, and that goggle/darkness scene at the end gets me every time.
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