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The hottest horror film of summer 2024 is The Silence of the Lambs

It has been over 33 years since The silence of the Lambs It premiered – famously on Valentine's Day – and swept the “big five” Oscar categories and became part of our cultural fabric. Hannibal Lecter's mask and “rubbing lotion on your skin” made an immediate impression, but the film's main plot, about a young FBI agent determined to catch a brutal killer with the help of another brutal killer, has had an immeasurable influence on cop shows, horror stories and true crime obsessions in the decades since.

It is no surprise that a film that was so successful – particularly in its intention to terrify audiences – has remained so influential. Some parts of silence of the Lambs have not aged very well; even at the time of release, LGBTQ groups were questioning the portrayal of Buffalo Bill, and if you watch the film in 2024, you can easily see where the script could use some more finesse. You can also be thankful that entertainment is more evolved today than it was in 1991, and that the horror projects that pull threads from silence of the Lambs Focus on the central dynamics, not the problematic aspects. This includes two of the most highly anticipated releases of the summer.

In an interview with Empire, M. Night Shyamalan summarized his new film Catch in this elevator pitch: “What if silence of the Lambs happened at a Taylor Swift concert?” The setting of the pop star's concert is evident in the film's trailers; we haven't seen the film yet (it comes out August 2), but the silence of the Lambs The reference is clearly to the main character, played by Josh Hartnett; he's a serial killer nicknamed “the Butcher” who is rigorously hunted by the police. Whether there are any other connections is unknown – perhaps the overly informative guy working at the venue is trying to influence the Butcher's next move, similar to how Clarice Starling did with Hannibal Lecter at the behest of her FBI boss? That's probably a stretch. But we're curious to see if there are any specific homages or if Shyamalan was just using shorthand for “this is a serial killer story” by citing one of the most famous examples.

Less gloomy, both because we have seen the film (read our review here) and because we have spoken to the director about it, is Long legsFilmmaker Osgood Perkins told io9 silence of the Lambs was for him personally a “hugely powerful film”, dating back to the time when he first saw it in the cinema as a teenager, and that his latest film “creates a conscious one-to-one relationship” with lambs(We'll publish our full Perkins interview next week, ahead of Longlegs' July 12 release.) The parallels are both obvious and subtle; Long legs is about an inexperienced but talented FBI agent who is chosen by her boss to help capture an elusive killer whose methods are as nightmarish as they are mysterious. It is also set in the 1990s (a deliberate lambs-inspired choice, according to Perkins) and features certain stylistic choices and small but memorable plot points that lambs Fans will definitely notice. Long legs is ultimately a film of its own, but knowing that he is also in conversation with lambs ensures an even more intense viewing experience.

silence of the Lambs has inspired a number of directly related media over the years, based on Thomas Harris' hugely popular book series, but also buoyed by the enduring appeal of the Jonathan Demme film. Hannibal Lecter is now something of a franchise with five films (lambsthe same, but different Manhunter And Red Dragon, HannibalAnd Hannibal Rising) and two television shows (we all remember Hannibal; there was also a short-lived Clarice series) and explores his unique blend of elegance and wildness.

Some of them had their appeal – Fannibals still hope for a Hannibal Season four these days, and Manhunter has Michael Mann’s unmistakable sense of coolness as well as the fascinating positioning of having been released in 1986, long before Be silent caused a stir (Fun Fact: SuccessionBrian Cox plays Hannibal “Lecktor” with a different spelling). But it is even more worthwhile to think that silence of the Lambs has not only left its mark on sequels, prequels, and spin-offs, but also on the minds of creatives who continue to carry its message forward. Part of that message, of course, is that unimaginable evil can be found anywhere – in a small West Virginia town, at a Taylor Swift concert, or under the eternally gray skies of Oregon. What could be more disturbing?

The silence of the Lambs is streaming on Prime Video. Long legs will be in theaters on July 12th; Catch will be released on August 2nd.