It’s difficult not to be charmed by Hannibal Lecter: he’s witty, urbane and capable of putting even the most difficult of his patients at ease. His grace and good humour will win you over in a heartbeat.
As Will Graham discovers, Lecter also has certain “disadvantages” – he’s insane, and a cannibal to boot. Disrespect him and he’ll harvest your vital organs, serving them with fava beans and a nice Chianti.
In the greater scheme of things, however, Lecter is a minnow among Great Whites. While there’s no doubt that he’s extremely dangerous and skilled at avoiding detection, his exploits pale in comparison with those of his peers.
Take Dr Butcher MD (Medical Deviate), who hopes to “traverse a new medical frontier” by creating zombies on an island in the East Indies. When a journalist stumbles across his nefarious scheme, the doc ties him up and tells him, “I could easily kill you now – but I’m determined to have your brain!”
Other barmy boffins include Dr X (who strangles women by the light of a full moon), Dr Blood (who also wants to revive the dead) and Dr Griffin, whose research into invisibility eventually drove him insane. Compared to these individuals, Lecter seems relatively restrained.
As Hannibal returns to TV screens, here are 15 reminders that he’s far from the craziest villain out there.