10 Mind-Blowing Facts You Never Knew About Hannibal Lecter

All the gory details behind the most famous cannibal of all time...

Hannibal Eyes Arrow
Orion Pictures

Hannibal the Cannibal - by now one of the most famous serial killers ever brought to life, has earned his place on the prestigious list of the very best movie villains ever to grace our screens. Now the subject of five theatrical releases, four best selling novels and a highly acclaimed - albeit short lived - television series on NBC, Hannibal Lecter is enjoying something of a renaissance, a term he definitely would approve of.

Now that we have a wealth of media to pour over, the details of Hannibal's life and 'work' can be viewed with much greater inspection and there is a lot more to this man than just fine dining and a dizzying intellect.

How did he remain at large undetected for so long? What is the final bodycount throughout his 'career?' How does he retain such an enormous contempt for the field of psychology while being one of its most skilled practitioners?

With that in mind, here is a comprehensive list of the most interesting facts surrounding the (mis)adventures of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, aristocrat, surgeon, cultural gormandiser of the finest calibre and perhaps the most infamous serial killer to ever grace the halls of the collective popular imagination.

10. The Six Fingered Man

Hannibal Eyes Arrow

Hannibal Lecter, within the Thomas Harris novels, has a fascinating body feature, known in medical terms as 'mid ray duplication polydactyly.' Simply put, Hannibal has six fingers on his left hand, in this case, a duplicated middle finger. While some of us might find a use for that extra middle finger (one could conveniently insult two people at a time, should one wish), it has proved to be a minor difficulty, not only for Lecter himself but for the film makers of the popular film and TV series.

In the era of highly advanced computer generated effects, 'painting' on an extra middle finger would be a relatively simple special effect for tech wizards, but in 1990, when The Silence of the Lambs was being filmed, this would have been a meant a different solution altogether - prosthetics.

When Lecter first appeared on screen in the 1986 neo-noir version of Red Dragon, Manhunter, his first mainstream appearance, the film makers decided against a prosthetic extra digit. Subsequent productions followed the same pattern, including the Mads Mikkelsen led TV masterpiece.

After Lecter's escape in The Silence of the Lambs and sometime before his subsequent sojourn in Florence, Lecter, a skilled surgeon, removes this extra digit to avoid possible identification. Now that would have made a piece of Lecter memorabilia worth having...

In this post: 
First Posted On: 

A lifelong aficionado of horror films and Gothic novels with literary delusions of grandeur...