The horror, the horror. It’s Hannibal the Cannibal and Not-Yet-Agent Starling from the Oscar-sweeping Silence of the Lambs vs. Norman Bates and the Crane Sisters in the Hitchcock masterpiece that put the word Psycho into the pop vernacular.
In addition to their enduring popularity in film schools and on screens of all sizes, these two classics of high-end terror have an astonishing amount in common. One has creepy taxidermy, while the other has creepy butterflies. Both borrow elements from the crimes of real-life serial killer Ed Gein; both, based on popular novels, were departures of sorts for their directors; both feature female protagonists who become objects of judgmental and voyeuristic males. Both films deal with disturbing memories of a dead parent. Both set their climax in a killer’s cobwebbed basement. And both feature immortal villains played by actors named Anthony ___kins in unforgettable big-screen performances. […]