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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 Brian Cox 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. The book also serves as the basis for the television series ''Series/{{Hannibal}}'', which stars Hugh Dancy as Graham and Mads Mikkelsen as Lecter; though showrunner Creator/BryanFuller says they will adapt the events of the novel itself at some point, the show is presently a {{Prequel}}, and does not maintain continuity with the Hopkins/Foster movies.

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]].
* 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...".
* 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.
* 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.
* 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]] co-wrote and directed it.
* TheFilmOfTheBook
* 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."
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Reba and Dolarhyde. D is the AxCrazy {{serial killer}} of the story, so this is either subverted, or invoked deliberately to make D more sympathetic.
* 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...
* InspirationallyDisadvantaged: Reba. While blind, she is otherwise portrayed as relatively normal.
** Explicitly deconstructed in the novel: Reba mentions in internal monologue how her condition mostly just draws all the codependent people out of the woodwork.
* 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; Lecter having maroon eyes and six fingers on one hand in the books.
** Dolarhyde's yellow eyes may also count. As an impressive piece of detail, it is briefly noted that his mother also had them.
* ScareChord: The 2002 film version has a DannyElfman score which has lots of these.
* SerialKiller: Perhaps ''the'' most famous literary/film examples.
* 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).
* SociopathicHero: Averted with Hannibal Lecter; it's clear he's still a villain even if he's helping out Graham.
* 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.
* VerbalTic: Dollarhyde avoids words with "S" sounds, as his cleft palate makes them difficult to pronounce.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Francis Dolarhyde.

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