[[quoteright:243:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/red_dragon.jpg]]

In 1981 Thomas Harris released a very dark thriller called ''Red Dragon'', about a gifted FBI profiler named Will Graham, who comes out of retirement to assist in the investigation of a {{Serial Killer}} known as "The Tooth Fairy" (for his habit of leaving bite marks on his victims). Throughout the novel, Graham reluctantly [[ConsultingAConvictedKiller seeks help from another serial killer]], the brilliant but insane psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The two had previously forced each other into mutual retirement, Graham by catching Lecter, and Lecter by nearly disemboweling Graham while trying to escape.

The novel was well-regarded for its unyielding gothic tone and the unnerving detail and care Harris put into the psychological dysfunctions of villain Francis Dolarhyde. The book was made into the movie ''Film/{{Manhunter}}'' in 1986, starring William Petersen (yes, [[{{Series/CSI}} that one]]) as Graham and Creator/BrianCox as Hannibal "Lecktor".

In 2002, there was a new film adaptation of ''Red Dragon'', starring Creator/AnthonyHopkins and Creator/EdwardNorton and keeping the original name this time. It was a moderate success, although some fans of ''Manhunter'' complained that a remake was unnecessary, though others were just happy to see something that didn't suck as bad as the ''Hannibal'' film adaptation. The film also included the focus on the Red Dragon's psychological torments, which was all but ignored in ''Manhunter'', and features an ending more faithful to the book's.

In 2013, Creator/BryanFuller premiered the TV series ''Film/{{Hannibal}}'', a major league AdaptationExpansion focusing on the relationship between Will Graham (Creator/HughDancy) and Lecter (Creator/MadsMikkelsen). The first two seasons draw from the book's flashbacks and Gothic tone to create an extended back story between the two characters before the latter was found out and imprisoned. The series won't actually get into the events of ''Red Dragon'' until the second half of Season 3, where Dolarhyde will be played by Creator/RichardArmitage. Go to the show's page for more details.

The book received a sequel in form of ''Literature/TheSilenceOfTheLambs'' in 1988.

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!!This series provides examples of:

* AdaptationDistillation: Both film adaptations. ''Manhunter'' only briefly references the painting and ignores Lecter's cannibalism, while the 2002 film has a greater focus on the Lecter/Graham relationship.
* AffablyEvil
* AntagonistTitle: An indirect example. "Red Dragon" is actually a shorthand for the painting "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed In Sun" that figures into the plot. Francis Dolarhyde, the villain, believes himself to be representative of it, and develops a murderous split personality that [[IAmTheNoun identifies itself as the Dragon]].
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: When it comes to unsettling Will Graham in their interview, Hannibal Lecter's most effective tactic is to keep asking "Do you know how you caught me?" It speaks to many of Graham's fears about how and why he's good at catching intelligent psychopaths.
-->'''Lecter''': The reason you caught me is that we're ''just alike''.
* AscendedExtra: Hannibal Lecter appears very briefly in the book, but then he becomes the BreakoutCharacter in ''The Silence of the Lambs'' and has a lot of screentime in the 2002 adaptation of ''Red Dragon.''
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Subverted and double subverted by SerialKiller Dolarhyde - despite his shyness he is (as Reba laughingly points out) something of a pin-up to the women he works with. The double subversion? Dolarhyde was born looking so horrible that they had to ''sedate'' his mother to stop her from screaming at the sight of him. His good looks as an adult are due to a ''lot'' of operations to sort out his severe cleft palate and some pretty intense weightlifting.
* BittersweetEnding: In the book, while Dolarhyde is eventually stopped, [[spoiler: Graham ends up hideously disfigured by Dolarhyde, and deals with it by becoming a severe alcoholic]], and Reba is implied to have been traumatized by her experience.
* BlindAndTheBeast: Francis Dolarhyde falls in love with Reba [=McClane=] partly because she's blind and can't see his harelip, although it's strongly implied that most women he knew were attracted to him already. He just thinks of his harelip as being a much greater problem then it actually is.
* BreakTheCutie: Francis Dolarhyde's whole childhood seems to revolve around this. Reba, his love interest, may also count as this too.
* CallForward: The movie ends with Hannibal being asked if he wants to see a [[TheSilenceOfTheLambs female FBI inspector]] and ends with him saying: "What's her name?"
* CannibalismSuperpower: Hannibal Lecter invokes this to Will, at least in the 2002 film; "Such a brave boy. I think I'll eat your heart...".
* CannibalLarder: It's implied that Hannibal Lecter had one in his basement, as the first officer who entered his basement ended up traumatized and took early retirement.
* ConsultingAConvictedKiller: The TropeMaker, along with ''TheSilenceOfTheLambs''. Hannibal is approached by Graham, the FBI agent who had originally captured him, requesting his assistance in capturing a serial killer known as "The Tooth Fairy". Hannibal provides this help to Graham, [[spoiler: while secretly corresponding with the Tooth Fairy behind his back]], in exchange for a first-class meal in his cell and privileges to use the prison library.
* TheChessmaster: Hannibal Lecter.
* CompositeCharacter: In ''Red Dragon'', the novel, Will has caught two serial killers prior to the Tooth Fairy case--Lecter, and another guy who was killing college students. In ''Manhunter'', the other guy is vaguely referenced but "Lecktor" has been locked up for killing college girls.
* ContinuityNod: In ''Red Dragon'' we see Lecter wearing practically everything he wore in ''Silence'': The regular blue jumpsuit, the white shirt and pants (worn during his time in Memphis in ''Silence'', worn during his exercise time in ''Dragon''), the straight jacket and muzzle (worn when he was being transported to Memphis in ''Silence'', worn when they clean his cell in ''Dragon'') and the straight jacket and wire mask (worn when Chilton interrogates him in ''Silence'', worn when Chilton clears out his cell in ''Dragon'').
* CradlingYourKill: Hannibal Lecter comforts protagonist Will Graham after stabbing him.
-->'''Hannibal Lecter:''' Shh. Don't move. You're in shock now. I don't want you to feel any pain. In a moment, you'll begin to feel light-headed, then drowsy. Don't resist, it's so gentle, like slipping into a warm bath. I regret it came to this, Will, but every game must have its ending.
** Then he kind of ruins the oddly touching moment by saying "I think I'll eat your heart." Or perhaps adds to it in a strange way if you consider that Hannibal might be eating his heart because he has great regard for Will's courage and strength. Luckily for him, Will survives the encounter and gets Hannibal arrested.
* CreepySouvenir: It was presumed the "Chesapeake Ripper" was doing this, until Will Graham realized the parts being taken were all used in cooking and realized he was hunting a cannibal.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Dolarhyde tries to save Reba from this (being bitten to death by "The Red Dragon") by [[ShootTheDog shooting her in the face.]] [[spoiler:He can't bring himself to do it.]]
* DistantPrologue: After Lecter attacks Graham but Graham still manages to subdue him, the rest of the story--Graham's hospitalization and retirement, Lecter's trial and sentencing--is told through newspaper clippings during the credits. The film then picks up "several years later."
* TheEighties / OnlyInMiami: ''Manhunter'' was displaced to a mostly South Florida setting, and the film itself is very stylized around Eighties South Florida. No surprise, since [[Series/MiamiVice Michael Mann]] wrote and directed it.
* EvilMakesYouUgly: Inverted with Dolarhyde. His dark side is what motivates him to work out and because of it he has a perfect physique that his female co-workers fawn over; something he is ignorant of.
* TheFilmOfTheBook: Both ''Manhunter and ''Red Dragon''.
* FluffyTheTerrible: Dolarhyde is often called "the Tooth Fairy". However, context makes this an AvertedTrope - they call him the "Tooth Fairy" because they only clue left behind are tooth-marks... ''[[spoiler: on the victims' bodies]]''.
* ForensicDrama
* FreudianExcuse: Dolarhyde; as Will Graham notes, "As a child, my heart goes out to him. As an adult, he's irredeemable."
* GoryDiscretionShot
* HandOfDeath
* HannibalLecture: TropeNamer.
* HaveYouToldAnyoneElse: Hannibal Lecter to Graham, at the start of the 2002 film.
** Graham's response: [[GenreBlindness "No, I needed to see you first."]]
* HiredToHuntYourself: Graham goes to Lecter to seek his help in [[spoiler:capturing a cannibalistic murderer.]]
* HouseOfBrokenMirrors
* IAmTheNoun: See AntagonistTitle
* [[ImAHumanitarian I'm a Humanitarian]]
* IAteWhat: That poor boardwoman...
* IdiotBall: Hannibal Lecter is possibly the most dangerous criminal in the world, and he's held under the tightest security imagineable. He's allowed to use a phone in return for co-operating... and left unsupervised, with the call not listened into. Shockingly, he abuses this trust and manages to get Graham's home address.
* InsufferableGenius: Lecter himself. "It's the only weakness I ever saw in him: he has to look smart, smarter than everybody. He's been doing it for years."
* KickTheSonOfABitch: Francis Dolarhyde setting [[spoiler:Freddy Lounds]] on fire.
* ManipulativeBastard: Hannibal Lecter; Jack Crawford (who manipulates Will Graham into returning to a line of work which is definitely not healthy for him and his family); arguably also Chilton, with his manipulations being wildly outclassed by Lecter's.
* MommyIssues: Dolarhyde's grandmother was rather an abusive parent who subject him to physical and emotional abuse.
* MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate
* NotSoDifferent: Lecter taunts Graham with this.
-->'''Lecter''': You want the scent? Smell yourself.
* {{Paparazzi}}: Freddy Lounds in ''Red Dragon'', played by Stephen Lang and/or Philip Seymour Hoffman.
* PetTheDog: Dolarhyde and Reba. Characters later suggest that ThePowerOfLove almost convinced him to HeelFaceTurn, sadly the "dragon" took total control, though Dolarhyde does still end up not killing Reba.
* PhotographicMemory: Graham, Lecter to an extent.
* PublicSecretMessage: Hannibal Lecter places a personal ad filled with Bible verse numbers in a tabloid as a coded message ([[TheBookCipher the numbers refer to the nth letter on the xth page of his edition of ''The Joy of Cooking'']]) to Francis Dolarhyde. The FBI decrypts it, and realizes that it told Dolarhyde where Will Graham lives; they send Dolarhyde another message to lure him into a trap, but he recognizes it for what it is.
* RedRightHand:
** Francis Dolarhyde's harelip, which played a major role in his descent into madness due to his being cruelly mocked and shunned. Dolarhyde's yellow eyes may also count. As an impressive piece of detail, it is briefly noted that his mother also had them.
** Lecter having maroon eyes and six fingers on one hand in the books.
* RoomFullOfCrazy:
** Francis Dolarhyde has his huge scrapbook of crazy going back to childhood, with photographs and journal entries. It also features clippings from the time of Lecter's arrest and trial.
** Dr. Lecter himself isn't shown to have a room but it is mentioned his basement was horrifying enough to make an officer retire. There is also one small piece that tips Graham off. In the book it is a diagram of the Wounded Man, which matches the murder of Lecter's sixth victim. In the movie it is a human anatomical diagram labelled "sweet breads."
* ScareChord: The 2002 film version has a DannyElfman score which has lots of these.
* SerialKiller: Perhaps the most famous literary/film examples.
* SexierAlterEgo: Zig-Zagged. Dolarhyde believes the Red Dragon to be this but since it's all in his head it obviously doesn't change his harelip. However, in his efforts to "transform" he has taken up bodybuilding, which has made him very attractive to his female co-works in spite of his face. Also, his transformation is what gave him the confidence to approach Reba and find his first genuine human affection.
* ShoutOut
** The suit Francis Dolarhyde wears in ''Red Dragon'' [[spoiler: when he goes to eat the original "Red Dragon" painting]] is an echo of William Petersen's suit in ''Manhunter''.
** At the end of ''Red Dragon'' [[spoiler: Hannibal is informed of [[SequelHook a young female FBI agent who wants to question him]].]]
* ShownTheirWork: The manner in which Graham deals with Lecter is very in line with proper protocol with investigative questioning. When Lecter asks probing questions to Graham, he either ignores him, or provides the smallest amount of information necessary to keep Lecter talking. This is to make sure that Lecter can't get inside Graham's head (though naturally, since its Hannibal Lecter, it still doesn't work).
* SmallRoleBigImpact: Hannibal's status in''Red Dragon''. In the book his appearance is limited to twelve pages and a few letters he writes. Despite this his presence affects the entire story. At the beginning of the story Graham is haunted by his previous encounter with Lecter. Graham's visit to Lecter leads to Graham's involvement with the investigation being exposed to the public and thus to Dolarhyde. The only thing Lecter actually ''does'' is give Dolarhyde Graham's address, which at first appears to be for nothing but at the end comes back in a big way. [[spoiler:Lecter was able to achieve a final victory over his nemesis from behind bars with nothing more than a phone call and a letter. Whether he really succeeds is debatable, though.]]
* SociopathicHero: Averted with Hannibal Lecter; it's clear he's still a villain even if he's helping out Graham.
* SnuffFilm: Part of Dolarhyde's M.O. in the book. He films the deaths of his victims and films himself having sex with the woman's corpse. Later he masturbates to it and fuels his obsession with being looked at.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: Freddy Lounds [[spoiler:is an unusual example, in that he still dies. He gets set on fire by Dolarhyde in the book - ''and survives for the better part of a day''. In the film he dies from the attack within minutes, '''[[ExactWords sparing]]''' him that agony.]]
* SpotlightStealingSquad: In the original book of Red Dragon, Hannibal Lecter is a OneSceneWonder who appears for about seven pages. Good pages, but still. The VHS/DVD release for the first film now advertises it as "the beginning of Hannibal Lecter's legacy" and the poster for the second film is mostly [[FloatingHeadSyndrome a giant picture of his head]].
** Fans of ''Manhunter'' generally see Brian Cox as this for his true-to-the-book, brief on-screen role as Hannibal Lecter.
* TheRemake: At least one trailer was completely {{Anvilicious}} about it, sporting this dialogue:
--> I admit I'm not smarter than you.
--> Then how did you catch me?
--> You had disadvantages.
--> What disadvantages?
--> You're insane.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Subverted, since Lecter is imprisoned in a psychiatric institution and has been visited by a number of shrinks. Since he's a psychiatrist himself, this rarely works out right.
* ToKnowHimIMustBecomeHim: How Will Graham catches serial killers - he's able to get into their mindset, to empathize with them, to an extent that disturbs him.
* TwoferTokenMinority: Reba, blind and female. Also invoked by a line of dialogue in the book.
* UnbuiltTrope: Lecter's insights and [[HannibalLecture lectures]] are unsettling, but fallible, especially against an experienced profiler like Graham. Furthermore, it is perfectly clear that beneath it all, he is, well, ''insane''.
** ConsultingAConvictedKiller: Lecter is consulted less because he is a killer and more because he is an excellent profiler in his own right. Even so, he doesn't really tell Will anything Will himself hadn't already thought of- all he does is back up Will's opinions, though this is not so much lack insight as Lecter deciding that helping out the [=FBI=] is less fun than pitting Will and the Tooth Fairy against each other. Lecters' only real contribution to the plot is taunting Will and telling Dolarhyde where Will and his family live.
** TheProfiler: Will is given three weeks to profile and catch the Tooth Fairy, and he fails; that Dolarhyde doesn't slaughter another family is down to issues he is going through in his personal life, not anything Graham did. While Will does offer genuine insight into what the Tooth Fairy is like and why he is doing this, he cannot deduce what specific delusion is driving him and is clueless as to what "Red Dragon" means. In the end Dolarhyde is found by hard detective work as much as anything else. Though Graham is a highly skilled and near-legendary [=FBI=] profiler, he has only caught two {{Serial Killer}}s in his entire career by the start of this movie, and both cases put him in hospital, with the first for a mental breakdown brought on by the stress of the case and the trauma of Graham killing the perpetrator.
* VillainOfAnotherStory: Hannibal Lecter, a captured cannibal serial killer who, in both stories, is consulted on how to catch another cannibal serial killer. However, it also subverts this since Lector does become an active threat to Graham late in the book and film by [[spoiler: giving Dolarhyde his home address and corresponding with him in secret.]]
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