Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Manhunter analysis - part 13: Lecktor's book code refers to Revelation


Up until now, we have been doing what one might call a 'basic' analysis of the movie; in this post we will begin to explore the movie's deeper underlying themes.

We need to see if there is a specific instance of symbolism or metaphor that will provide a starting point. One place we could start is to look at the 'book code' Lecktor used in the personal ad he sent to The National Tattler. When we look at each valid biblical book and verse combination that is mentioned in the investigators' meeting, as being contained in Lecktor's book code, here is what we come up with:[a]

Luke 1:7 falls under "The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold", and says, "But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years." ["They" is the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, and 'barren' means sterile.]

Acts 3:3 is under "Peter Heals a Crippled Beggar", and says, "When he [the beggar] saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms."

Galatians 6:11 is the first verse under "Final Admonitions and Benedictions."[b] It says, "See what large letters I make when I am writing with my own hand!" The next few verses go on to talk about circumcision.

John 6:22 falls under "The Bread From Heaven", which is preceded by "Jesus Walks on the Water", and has to do with the performing of miracles by Jesus. The verse says, "The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had only been one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone."

Finally, Revelation 18:7 is under the heading "The Fall of Babylon" and states, "As she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so give her a like measure of torment and grief. Since in her heart she says, 'I rule as a queen; I am no widow, and I will never see grief,'" [continued at 18:8]

Of the five passages above, only the one from Galatians strikes us, at least initially, as having applicability to the movie: the mention in verse 11 of writing in one's own hand reminds us of the fact that it was Lecktor himself who wrote the top part of the toilet tissue note. However, if we check further by reading all the descriptive headings in each of the five biblical books that we are considering here, we note that Revelation 12, verses 1-6, fall under "The Woman and the Dragon." The reason this is noticeable is, of course, because it reminds us of the image of the Great Red Dragon painting Dollarhyde shows to Freddy Lounds, on a movie screen in his house (as shown in the below screencap). When we read this section, we notice that verse 3 says, "Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads." We will soon begin exploring this lead.

Dollarhyde shows Freddy Lounds the William Blake painting, The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun.

a. The New Revised Standard Version of the bible is used throughout this analysis, except in the biblical quotations embedded in St. Augustine's City of God, and where otherwise noted. What is meant here by a valid combination of book and verse, is whether such a combination actually exists in the bible. This is irrespective of the fact that in the movie, Lecktor turned out not to be using the bible to generate his code.
b. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians is his letter to the people of the Roman province of Galatia. He is thought to have composed this letter in anger - it is a rebuke to the Galatians.


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