[Podcast] Manhunter (1986) – Episode 96 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“It is in your nature to do one thing correctly: Tremble.” – It’s the first adaptation of a Thomas Harris novel featuring Hannibal Lecter, known in the screenplay as Lecktor. Manhunter brings Red Dragon to life. For Hannibal fans, both the TV show and the Silence of the Lambs series, Brian Cox is Hannibal the Cannibal in 1986. Let the fun begin! Thomas Mariani, Doc Rotten and Christopher G. Moore tackle another gruesome horror film from the 1980s.

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 96 – Manhunter (1986)

Even since the end of the hit and masterful Hannibal TV series featuring Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal and Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, the Grue-crew from the Hannibal Fan Podcast have been teasing heading back to the films to review. Well, now Thomas Mariani, Christopher G. Moore and Doc Rotten take the opportunity on Decades of Horror to cover Michael Mann’s adaptation of Thomas Harris’ acclaimed novel Red Dragon. Given the film title Manhunter, the film celebrates its thirty year anniversary. Brian Cox is Hannibal, William Petersen is Will Graham and Tom Noonan is Francis Dollarhyde. Just as the mystery played out on the final episodes of the NBC TV series, the Tooth Fairy evolves into the Red Dragon with Reba McClane’s (Joan Allen) life on the line. “Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Will? It appears quite black.” – Hannibal to Will.

While Anthony Hopkins is by far the more well-known actor to portray Hannibal Lecter with Mads Mikkelsen still fresh in fans’ eyes from the recent TV series, Brian Cox is no slouch in the role either. The Grue-crew banter back and forth about his interpretation of the killer along with Petersen’s Will Graham and Dennis Farina’s Jack Crawford. A young Stephen (Avatar, Don’t Breathe) Lang is nearly unrecognizable as reporter Freddy Lounds and Tom Noonan is creepy as hell as Dolarhyde. There’s plenty of comparisons to other films and the TV show as well as a long discussion about director Michael Mann. Ah! Hannibal, how we have missed you.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1980s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com. We also want to be sure to thank Neon Devils for their killer track “Bone Chillin'” which we use for the intro and outro of this show.

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Doc Rotten
Editor-In-Chief / Founder / Podcast Producer at Horror News Radio

Doc Rotten is the founder of Gruesome Magazine. He is also a film critic for Gruesome Magazine and the podcast host & producer for Horror News Radio, Monster Movie Podcast, Decades of Horror: 1970s, The American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Hannibal Fan Podcast. He is also co-host of the Dracula podcast on TV TALK and is a contributing reviewer for HorrorNews.Net and Widescreen Warrior.


Doc a lifelong fan of horror films, sci-fi flicks and monster movies first discovering Universal Monsters and Planet of the Apes as a young child in the 1970’s searching out every issue of Famous Monster of Filmland (and, later, Fangoria). Favorite films include Jaws, The Car, The Birds, The Tingler, Vampire Circus and The Exorcist. Still a huge fan of horror films from the 70s, Doc continues consuming horror films to this day for the site, for the podcasts and for the fun of it all.


  • I thought there was far too much reference to the Hannibal TV show rather than taking this film in context for what it is. Manhunter was ahead of its time, which is probably why it didn’t get enough respect back in the day. It’s being re-appraised in critical circles, has developed a cult following and finally getting the recognition is deserves, so repeatedly comparing it to the TV show, which has the benefit of 25+ years hindsight, felt a bit unfair and like going back to square one… but that’s just my opinion. Keep up the good work guys, I always look forward to these podcasts!

    • Yeah, having done a Hannibal Fan Podcast for years, comparing Manhunter to the TV show was unavoidable, perhaps. It was especially for me as, in respect to Manhunter, I saw the TV version of Red Dragon before I saw this version. To its credit the Michael Mann film remain tense and engaging 30 years after it debuted. Glad you enjoyed the episode regardless of our lens from the TV show. Thanks for listening.

      We have The Howling coming in a few short weeks. Let us know what film you would like for DoH80s to cover.