* AlasPoorScrappy: Freddy Lounds is a (intentionally) completely unlikable character, but he certainly didn't deserve [[spoiler: to be set on fire by Dolarhyde]].
** The recording of Lounds forced to deliver Dollarhyde's message is the point where the investigators realize that they've been underestimating their unsub. Tooth Fairy? Who's that?
--->'''Lounds''': ''I have had a great privilege. I have seen with... wonder and awe the strength of the Great Red Dragon. He has helped me to understand his splendor... and now I want to serve him. He knows you made me lie, Will Graham. Because I was forced to lie... he will be more merciful to me than to you.''
* BrokenBase: ''Manhunter'' (1986) vs ''Red Dragon'' (2002); which is better?
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Hannibal Lecter. He's so popular that the Red Dragon film widely expanded his role.
* InkStainAdaptation: In the novel Graham and Lecter only met the night Graham arrested Lecter and they share an intense mutual hatred. Thanks to the 2002 movie and ''especially'' the television series that backstory is all but forgotten in favor of them being close personal friends and professional colleagues.
* MagnificentBastard: If ''anyone'' can be considered one, it's Lecter. He only appears in one chapter as well but his presence is felt throughout the entire book as he still manages to fuck with Will's and Crawford's minds.
* MindGameShip
* {{Narm}}: Lounds' murder is incredibly over the top to the point where it's equal parts terrifying, disgusting, and hilarious, particularly when Dolarhyde bites out Lounds' tongue with an action that, if not for the screaming, would look like a deep kiss.
* NarmCharm: "Ride with me. For my pleasure." Helped by Ralph Fiennes' accent. Strays into FridgeBrilliance, as the line is deliberately clumsy to illustrate just how socially crippled Dolarhyde is.
* NightmareFuel: Was there really any doubt? The descriptions of how Dolarhyde entered his victims' houses and killed them one by one is chilling.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: Some modern readers have decried Dolarhyde, a [[AxeCrazy vicious psychopath who does the most horrible things possible]] to the most undeserving people possible but [[FreudianExcuse has a traumatic childhood that makes him sympathetic]], as a cliche. Clearly they're unaware of how groundbreaking this was at the time.
* {{Squick}}: What Dolarhyde does with his victims.
** And later on when Reba has sex with him and fellates him. One must hope he is a thorough washer after he "changes" people, for Reba's sake.
** In the book there's Dolarhyde's introduction in which he enjoys a home movie of one of his killings [[ADateWithRosiePalms just a little too much]].
* TearJerker: There are quite a few though this is unsurprising for a book dedicating a lot of pages to talking about the victims of horrible deaths and contemplating over their lives.
** Though Freddy Lounds was a major [[JerkAss jerkass]] his death still tugs at the heartstrings. His lover, Wendy stays with him until he dies and tries to comfort him the best she can.
--->''Wendy of Wendy City held Lounds's blackened claw and looked straight at him. He stirred once, a little before noon.''
--->''"It's gonna be just fine, Roscoe," she said. "We'll have us some high old times."''
--->''Lounds stirred again and died.''
** Dolarhyde's backstory and mental illness. Born disfigured, horribly abused as a child and now suffering from major delusions of being possessed by some otherwordly monster. His interactions from Reba show that were it not for his mental illness he could have been a normal, kind and loving man.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: The plot hinges on Dolarhyde's employment at a film processing facility. He discovers his victims via the home movies they send in for processing and uses the home movies to learn the layouts of the home and any obstacles in his way. Nowadays his job is obsolete. The movie ''Red Dragon'' pushed him slightly ahead of his literary counterpart. In the book he processes film for use in projectors, in the movie he processes film into videotapes.
* TheWoobie: Reba [=McClane=], particularly as played by EmilyWatson.