‘Tell me, what are you becoming?’ Hannibal and the inescapable presence of the grotesque

Alberto N. García
  • Horror Studies, April 2020, Intellect
  • DOI: 10.1386/host_00012_1

The 'Hannibal' TV-Series as an example of the grotesque

Photo by Max Muselmann on Unsplash

Photo by Max Muselmann on Unsplash

What is it about?

'Hannibal' (NBC, 2013-15) is one of the greatest hits of TV-Horror. It retells Hannibal Lecter's story before 'The Silence of the Lambs". In the article, I analyze how the beautiful and bloody narrative is continuously playing with aesthetic contradictions. I explore in depth the visual allure of deformations, aberrations, exaggerations and metamorphosis displayed by the show. Because the mesmerizing 'Hannibal', a critical darling, can be considered the perfect example of the grotesque, that is, a violation of our standing categories or concept, a subversion of our conventional expectations of the natural order.

Why is it important?

If you like horror, Hannibal Lecter is one of the most relevant contemporary characters. This paper is important because it explores the last iteration of the character so far. And the analysis --academic but readable for every horror fan-- focuses on how style and meaning collide, exhibiting how metaphors, symbols and aesthetic complexities work in the show.


Alberto N. García
Universidad de Navarra

'Hannibal' is such a dense and absorbing television series that being able to analyze it has been a real pleasure. Every close reading was intellectually challenging, but I think I have been able to offer valuable analytical insights to such a profound work of art.

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