Depraved cannibal, cultured intellectual, manipulative madman - the infamous psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter is the perfect embodiment of all three, and through every visual representation of Thomas Harris's work, Hannibal is depicted with a level of sophistication, gravitas, and nightmarish psychopathy.
From his appearances in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Hannibal (2001), where he is portrayed by the incomparable Anthony Hopkins, to Hannibal Rising (2007), where Gaspard Ulliel takes on the role, to the NBC series Hannibal, in which Mads Mikkelsen brings his own, devilish twist to the doctor, the character never fails to frighten audiences with his grotesque actions.
The worst things Hannibal Lecter does on screen include forcing his prey to cannibalize themselves, using a horse and a rope to his advantage, and serving a man's prefrontal cortex with shallots and white wine. Whether he's assisting FBI profiler Will Graham, advising FBI special agent Clarice Starling, or getting vengeance on the men who served his sister for dinner, Hannibal Lecter's deeds are always in response to someone else's rude behavior. Not all of his actions necessarily result in a person's demise, but oftentimes, that means a worse fate awaits those who have crossed paths with the notorious Dr. Lecter.
After Justice Department official Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta) attempts to take Hannibal down and ruin Agent Starling's career, Dr. Lecter sets up a disturbing sequence of revenge.
Lecter incapacitates Starling and takes her to Krendler's lake house, where he's planned a delectable dinner for them. When she wakes up, she finds Krendler alive and smiling at the head of the table. Lecter reveals that he's removed the top of Krendler's skull, exposing the deputy's brain. With Krendler impaired beyond comprehension, Lecter proceeds to sauté his prefrontal cortex in a pan with shallots before feeding him his own cranial organ.
Mason Verger appears in both the 2001 film, Hannibal, and the TV show of the same name. While some of the minor details differ, the incident in which Verger removes his own face is portrayed in largely the same manner in both versions.
Verger is a sadistic offender, and Dr. Lecter has had enough of him. In the Hannibal TV series, Lecter incapacitates Verger with a powerful hallucinogen. While Verger is in a state of mind-bending euphoria, Lecter convinces him to feed his own face to Will Graham's dogs. Lecter also talks him into eating his own nose before snapping Verger's neck and leaving him permanently paralyzed.
Abel Gideon is a deranged transplant surgeon who acts as a recurring antagonist throughout the first two seasons of Hannibal. During his stay at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, a group of guards break his back. While Gideon is being treated in a medical hospital, Lecter kidnaps him and takes him to his home.
Lecter treats Gideon as his guest of honor at a dinner where the main course is the surgeon's own clay-roasted leg. At first, Gideon refuses to indulge in the meal, but eventually relents, telling Lecter, "My compliments to the chef."
Lecter slowly ends Gideon, holding him captive while preparing and serving each of his remaining limbs one by one.
When a prolific offender like Lecter wants to send a message that speaks volumes, you can expect it to be a truly disturbing spectacle. When Anthony Dimmond confronts and tries to influence Lecter in Italy, he ends up as a Valentine's Day gift for Will Graham.
Without much hesitation, Lecter takes Dimmond out, dislocates all of his joints, removes his skin, and folds him into a sort of anatomically correct broken heart. He leaves the horrifying creation - which he refers to as a "Valentine written on a broken man" - in the middle of a museum for Will to find.