Sunday, March 29, 2009

Silence of the Lambs analysis - part 17: Starling's psychoanalysis (cont'd)


In part 16 of the analysis, it was described how Clarice Starling's metaphorical psychoanalysis, which is being performed by the psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, begins during the first prison interview scene. Among other derogatory remarks made by Lecter toward her during this interview, he has called her a "rube" (another term for country bumpkin). He lets her know that he is aware that when she was younger, she must have been willing to do anything to escape her home town, to get away from all those "sticky fumblings" with local boys in the back seats of cars - "to make it all the way to the F...B...I..." Lecter is, in a sense, here 'tempting' Clarice into wanting to further her process of maturation; this is his 'hook' into Clarice's psyche.

Once the discussion between the two of them has reached a point where it looks like Lecter is not going to give Starling any information that might help the FBI eventually catch the serial killer, Buffalo Bill, she gets up from her chair and begins to leave. While she is walking down a corridor to exit the basement ward where Lecter is kept, another prisoner, 'Multiple Miggs', throws some of his semen on her face (he has been masturbating).

Immediately after the Miggs incident, Lecter calls Starling back to his cell, and he gives her a clue of sorts: he mentions a woman named "Hester Mofet", and he also tells her to "look within yourself." Starling later realizes that 'Hester Mofet' is a fictional name, and is an anagram for 'the rest of me.' This together with the "look within yourself" clue, is designed to lead her to a 'Your Self' storage facility in town (the locale is the city of Baltimore). It is evident that all of this about 'yourself' and 'the rest of me' are references to Clarice's unconscious and its contents. Evidently, the doctor, as part of the analysis he is doing on her, is going to have her explore her own unconscious.

Once Clarice leaves the prison facility, she has a flashback to her childhood, in which she is greeting her father upon his arrival home after work, jumping into his arms. This represents part of the Oedipal component of her psychology.

Not too long after the above scene, Clarice has arrived at the storage facility, and after some difficulties gaining access to the unit, she begins to enter it to perform the exploration of her unconscious. (Of course, she's also entering the unit to search it for clues that will help enable the capture of Buffalo Bill.) She cuts herself on her inner thigh while sliding under the propped-open roll-up entrance door. This is symbolic of her first menstruation.

Subsequent to the above, there are suggestions in certain scenes in the movie where it is evident that Starling has transferred her libidinal attachment, which was at one time focused on her father, to her supervisor and father figure, Jack Crawford. One of these scenes occurs when Crawford and Starling are returning from the autopsy in West Virginia (see screencap at left - note the physical closeness of Clarice to Jack). This transfer of libido represents Clarice getting closer to becoming a grown woman, which is, as already stated, the ostensible goal of the psychoanalysis being done on her.

[If you are only interested in viewing the explanation of the film's hidden plot, continue on to part 18 of the analysis. Otherwise, use the buttons below to navigate the analysis.]


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Silence of the Lambs analysis - part 16: Starling's psychoanalysis begins


During their first meeting, Lecter calls Starling a "well-scrubbed hustling rube."

Clarice Starling must undergo a psychoanalysis with the psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the initiation of which is represented by Crawford sending her ('referring' her) to the doctor.

In Clarice's first interview of Lecter in Baltimore, she begins the process of gathering information from him, which hopefully will lead to the capture of serial killer Buffalo Bill. At one point, she passes Lecter some papers - a psychological test questionnaire for him to fill out. Lecter gives the test a quick, perfunctory look, then basically informs her that he cannot be tested - in fact, that he once ate the liver of a census taker who tried to test him. This suggests that Lecter 'takes control' of those who try to test him, which is important in this scene because it lets the audience know that at this exact moment, the 'tables are turned' and it will now be Lecter 'testing' (analyzing) Clarice.

Here in this scene, Lecter gives Starling a 'once-over' evaluation, wherein he makes derogatory remarks about her clothing and her rural background, letting her know he can readily detect that she is a "rube" (a country bumpkin). This is the first indication of what will be the goal of the analysis - helping Clarice become the sophisticated grown woman she desires to be - Lecter is making his negative statements in order to tap into Clarice's desire to become a mature woman.

[If you are only interested in viewing the explanation of the film's hidden plot, continue on to part 17 of the analysis. Otherwise, use the buttons below to navigate the analysis.]


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Silence of the Lambs analysis - part 15: The meaning of Starling climbing uphill


The movie begins with Clarice climbing up a steep hill. This can be interpreted as climbing out of, or escaping from, a pit. This in part represents her trying to 'escape' her early life, i.e., her childhood, this being necessary for her to become a fully mature, grown woman. Clarice's becoming a grown woman will be accomplished with the aid of two people: her primary father (and thus Oedipal) figure, Jack Crawford; and her soon-to-be psychoanalyst, the psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

[If you are only interested in viewing the explanation of the film's hidden plot, continue on to part 16 of the analysis. Otherwise, use the buttons below to navigate the analysis.]


Monday, March 16, 2009

Hostel - Analysis of the Movie - part 1: The underlying meaning of certain events


[Image at left from the Wikipedia 'Hostel (2005 film)' page; "Hostel poster",[a] licensed under fair use via Wikipedia.]

Welcome to the analysis of Hostel . Buttons at the bottom of each post enable navigation through the parts of the analysis.

Hostel is a 2005 horror film written and directed by Eli Roth. It stars Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eyþór Guðjónsson, and Barbara Nedeljáková.

The first thing that is of interest to us in this analysis, involves the character Kana (the Oriental woman). She has her face partially burned off during a torture session; this is symbolic of the Oriental concept of losing face. A person who has lost face has lost the respect of others; this is what Kana fears will happen to herself, due to the fact that she has had her beauty ruined. Thus, she commits suicide (by jumping in front of a moving train).

Moving on to another character, there are a pair of related scenes involving Oli. At one point during the sauna scene, he is shown with a mock face drawn on his bare buttocks just before he sits down. Then in a later scene, after he has been killed, his decapitated head is shown sitting on a chair. In a sense, the former scene predicts the latter one, within the context that both scenes convey the idea of a face being sat upon (i.e., if someone were to sit in the chair with the head on it, they'd be sitting on Oli's face).

Another pair of scenes involving one event seemingly predicting another, is the Amsterdam brothel scene followed by a later scene in the building in which the torture chambers are located. In one of the rooms in the brothel, a female worker is sitting astride a male client while he's laying on his back, and she's shouting at him and slapping him. Then much later, in the torture building, there is a conversation between Paxton and Natalya, during which Paxton calls Natalya a "bitch", and she responds by saying, "I get a lot of money for you, and that makes you my bitch." In both this scene and the sauna scene, a woman is effectively treating a man as if he is 'her bitch'.

a. Poster for Hostel:The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, the publisher, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, or the graphic artist.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hostel analysis - part 4: The movie's underlying theme


In the previous post, it was described how Paxton's interaction with the American businessman suggests that he has acquired, to some degree, the mentality of a torturer. By the time the movie concludes, Paxton has become an actual torturer, this being signified by his cutting off of two of the Dutch client's fingers (to get revenge for this client having earlier killed Paxton's friend, Josh). With the action taking place in a train station restroom, Paxton subsequently dunks his victim's head several times in a toilet bowl, then kills him by cutting his throat.

The overall picture is that gradually, as the movie has progressed, Paxton has gone from being tortured, to getting the upper hand with a torturer, to acquiring the mentality of a torturer; and finally, to torturing (and killing) someone. We see that Paxton has gone through a process whereby he has effectively 'switched places', from tortured to torturer. This switching between tortured and torturer is, in fact, part of the underlying theme of the movie, and in the below, we will 'combine' this theme with something else from the film, and then determine what the film's overall message to its audience is.

There is a scene early in the movie in which Paxton and Josh have entered the hostel for the very first time, and are standing at the check-in desk. It can be seen that the movie Pulp Fiction is playing on a TV set sitting on a countertop near the desk (see screencap at left). Pulp Fiction was directed and co-written by Quentin Tarantino; and, Tarantino was also involved in the making of Hostel (he was an executive producer for the film). Thus, the members of the Hostel audience, by watching Hostel, are doing something that some of the characters in Hostel (including Paxton) are here doing, by watching Pulp Fiction: watching a Quentin Tarantino movie.

The audio of Pulp Fiction, as it is shown on the TV set in Hostel, has been dubbed to suit the natives of the foreign country (Czechoslovakia) in which the hostel is located, such that it is playing in their native language. There are no English (or other) subtitles being displayed on the TV screen, and Paxton, who notices this, comments by saying, "great - no subtitles." Then later, in the room where he is about to be tortured, Paxton begins pleading with his captor in German, and we, the audience of Hostel, are shown no subtitles. Putting these two scenes together, it can be seen that there is some relationship being established between the characters in Hostel, and the members of Hostel's audience.

In fact, it is the case that we, the Hostel audience, and the characters in Hostel (in specific, Paxton), are to switch with each other, as suggested by the parallel relationship between the audience and characters implied by the two related scenarios just described. And, as mentioned above, we have already gone over the fact that one of the Hostel characters, Paxton, undergoes a gradual transition from torture victim to torture perpetrator, effectively switching from the former to the latter. By combining these two ideas (that within Hostel of Paxton going from tortured to torturer, and that of the parallel relationship between Hostel and its audience members), we conclude that the underlying theme of the movie is that each of us (as well as anyone else), given the right set of circumstances, could 'switch', from being a torture victim, to becoming a perpetrator of torture (i.e., any person is capable of undergoing the same basic process that Paxton did, given a similar set of circumstances).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Silence of the Lambs analysis - part 14: The 'presence' of the Holy Spirit


Green is a color sometimes used to represent the Holy Spirit;[a] thus, in certain scenes, such as the scene in Frederica Bimmel's house shown at left, in which Clarice is wearing green, she represents the 'presence' of the Holy Spirit.

As stated in part 8 of the analysis, by virtue of the fact that Starling represents holiness itself, she is an angel, and in specific, the (friendly) angel of death sent by God to destroy Jame Gumb (representing Satan's pupil).

a. "In ecclesiastical symbolism, green is the color of the Holy Ghost..." (--Jung, Emma and Marie-Louise Von Franz, The Grail Legend, Trans. Andrea Dykes, Princeton University Press, 1998, Google Books, p. 165, URL =

[If you are only interested in viewing the explanation of the film's hidden plot, continue on to part 15 of the analysis. Otherwise, use the buttons below to navigate the analysis.]


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Silence of the Lambs analysis - part 13: Determining who Doctor Chilton represents


Dr. Frederick Chilton is surrounded by reporters in Memphis.

The name Chilton (English) means: habitational name from any of the various places [in the U.K.] called Chilton, for example in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, County Durham, Hampshire, Kent, Shropshire, Somerset, Suffolk, and Wiltshire. The majority are shown by early forms to derive from Old English cild 'child' + tun 'enclosure', 'settlement'.[a] Dr. Chilton represents someone who runs a child 'enclosure' or settlement in that he represents that subgroup of Freemasons that is responsible for specially breeding and raising children (like cattle), in the areas in and around the Texas cities of Wichita Falls and Graham. These children are to be sexually abused by evil high-ranking Freemasons in their and other parties' future 'utopia' in southern Indiana, and they are currently being sexually abused in Texas.

a. Ancestry, Chilton Family History: Chilton Name Meaning. Web, n.d. URL =

[If you are only interested in viewing the explanation of the film's hidden plot, continue on to part 14 of the analysis. Otherwise, use the buttons below to navigate the analysis.]


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