Friday, March 22, 2013

I Have Never Read Red Dragon

Have you? I read Silence of the Lambs a million years ago when I was in high school, and I read Hannibal a million minus four years ago when I was in college, but somehow I skipped right over Thomas Harris' first Lecter book Red Dragon. (I haven't bothered with Hannibal Rising, either.) With Bryan Fuller's highly anticipated television program Hannibal coming up in just two weeks (as of yesterday) and since I just finished the last book I was reading last night (Don Delillo's sad strange The Body Artist, which I Am Love director Luca Guadagnino's turning into a movie starring Isabelle Huppert, Denis Lavant, Sigourney Weaver, and David Cronenberg), it seems the time to pick up Red Dragon and give it a whirl.

It's already been adapted into movies twice - Michael Mann's 1986 Manhunter and Brett Ratner's (shudder) 2002 film Red Dragon, and RD's the book that gave Bryan Fuller the basis for his show with a briefly hinted at back-story between FBI-man Will Graham and pedigreed sociopath Dr. L. I've been going back and forth - maybe I should watch the show first? But I think the frisson and fusion between the two separate entities will ultimately prove totally worthwhile in investigating. So I'm off! You should read it too, we can make a totally lax Book Club out of it!


Anonymous said...

I read the book when it first came out, and at the time it was the scariest most disturbing book I had ever read. Was actually disappointed in Mann's stylistic adaptation, but have come to appreciate it more. Never re-read the book, but thought the newer version was closer to the source. Given events in the world since the publication of Red Dragon etc, I'm not sure if I picked it up sight unseen now if it would have the same impact. At the time I told all my fellow horror fans that Red Dragon was a book not to miss.

Jee Jay said...

I read the book soon after it came out in *gulp* 1981.
It may not exactly be 'ground zero' for the whole omnipotent, effete, serial-killer genre, but it's pretty darn close: a pop culture theme for over 30 years with no end in sight.

BradH said...

I read it in the 80's. It and Silence of the Lambs were the
2 scariest books I read back then.

OF course , you know the stories now so I don't think they would scare you.leasedno2270

Ivan said...

Read the book twice; I think it's Harris' best. Lector is really a tiny but delicious cameo (IMO), it's more about Graham and Dollarhyde (who's actually kind of sympathetic), with lots of "insider" knowledge. It's very much a pageturner.
Also: James Ellroy has claimed the book as an influence (or used to claim).
Wait till summer to read it; you'll get it done in two days on the beach (but you won't sleep to keep on reading).

Remington said...

I've never read any of the Thomas Harris books because I hate reading but I did just get done watching all the movies (aside from "Hannibal Rising") and I've gotta say that "Red Dragon" is really good. The casting may have been better in "Manhunter" (with regards to William Petersen and Tom Noonan) but "Red Dragon" stuck closer to the source material which I think made it a better movie, especially regarding the ending. And of course, it had Anthony Hopkins, and he's just fun all around.