The Silence of the Lambs Is Secretly About Mind Control

The Silence of the Lambs turns 25 this month. All this time, you thought it was merely a story about FBI trainee Clarice Starling’s hunt for a brutal serial killer named Buffalo Bill—with help from Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter. But the Best Picture winner has a secret: everything in the film is actually part of a plot to brainwash Agent Starling.


It sounds insane without any context, but The Silence of the Lambs is filled with hints if you know where to look, as redditor TuTone Shoes points out (read an extended version of the author’s theory here). What if Lecter and the FBI were actually working together, using cruel and clever deception to make Starling’s mind more suggestible—with the ultimate goal of turning her into a deadly government assassin?

Are we paranoid? We might be. But the clues are there—and you might start to feel a little paranoid, too, after you watch this video.

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This is a bit of a stretch, imo. There are way too many plot points throughout the story that work as it was intended to work.

1) That Chilton lost his pen inside Hannibal’s cell is nothing more than human error. In the interest of personal gain, Chilton gets so caught up interrogating Hannibal to notice his own carelessness. Nothing more.

2) Lecter tells Starling that she is being used by Crawford to obtain information from Lecter. Something which Crawford admits to later in the story. If they were trying to brainwash her, wouldn’t this give the whole thing away?

3) Starling is not a tool in every sense of the word. She catches on quick and is able to make the best decisions on the fly. Ex; the way she caught Jame Gumm on her own. At some point she would recognize an attempt at manipulation and actually turn the tables on them.