Who would have thought a quote featuring fava beans would become one of the creepier bits of horror film dialogue?  Hannibal Lecter was introduced in Thomas Harris Novel "Red Dragon" as a peripheral character that gives tips on catching a serial killer to the FBI agent that caught him.  Right away you could see he was the most interesting character in the book.  But when the sequel Silence of The Lambs was written, Lecter emerged as one of the chilling murderer ever created.  And once Anthony Hopkins was cast as Hannibal The Cannibal for the film version (the role he was born to play), he brought the character to such a deliciously evil level that people were clamoring for the third installment, Hannibal, just to see him kill some more.

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Make no mistake about it, Hannibal is a monster.  Sure, when he's strapped to a dolly with that face mask on, he looks as spooky as anything out there, but just knowing he can whisper to a fellow prisoner to swallow his own tongue, or convince a child molester to carve off slices of his face and feed it to his dogs make him more terrifying than anyone else on this list. 

Sure, Hannibal's killed plenty of lawmen and other figures of authority that get in his way, but he typically kills other evil assholes that deep down the audience is glad to see "offed" (and eaten) anyway.  Nobody wants Hannibal to be caught.  They want to see him live and kill again.

Matt from X-Entertainment shares this opinion in a review he wrote for Hannibal:

"Of course, Hopkins is great in the role, but saying that is almost redundant, since he's great in all his roles. As far as making him the film's 'hero' goes, well, let's face it, people like Hannibal. Sure, he kills and eats people, but nobody's perfect. And its not like he's eating anyone we particularly care about, its just Ray Liotta. If he was threatening to eat, let's say, Rodney Dangerfield, I could understand the fine line getting blurred a little more. He even stitched up Clarice and bought her hot new clothes that better exposed her cleavage, you'd really have to dig deep to get too annoyed with him."

That's pretty dead on.  I mean if Hannibal turned on Clarice, perhaps he wouldn't be as endearing.  Of course, I think it's interesting, that like would be Reagan assassin John Hinckley, Lecter also had a fondness for writing letters to Jodie Foster. Or in a more timely hint of fiction creeping in to news, it's bizarre that Clarice had tricked Lecter into thinking he'd be moved to a facility on "Anthrax Island".  Perhaps repeated viewings of Silence of The Lambs may contain the secrets to The Apocalypse.

Hannibal Lecter