“Clarice” has been Silenced, but does that mean we shouldn’t expect future adaptations of Thomas Harris’ chilling masterpiece?
The Silence of the Lambs is up there with the most chilling psychological horrors of all time, with Hannibal Lecter easily ranking among the most iconic characters. Despite some solid outings, the 1991 film by Jonathan Demme has never been topped by its successors on either the big or small screens.
The latest attempt to revive the Silence of the Lambs franchise was a television procedural called Clarice that focused on Jodie Foster’s character from the original film. Unfortunately, this was a relative flop, suggesting it may be some time before anyone releases another offering in the series.
Clarice Appears to be Cancelled
When Clarice first came out in 2021, fans of The Silence of the Lambs and all its related sequels and spinoffs were thrilled. The offering from Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman promised to explore the films’ themes in a new way and provide some insight into Clarice Starling’s story between the events of the first picture and Hannibal in 2001. Rebecca Breeds was cast in the starring role, and the series featured other great actors, including Michael Cudlitz and Kal Penn.
The series was initially released on CBS, consisting of 13 episodes in the first season. There was talk of the spinoff then moving to Paramount+ for season two, but this has not yet come to fruition and now looks unlikely to happen.
This could be because the series was a critical failure, with a disappointing approval rating of 37 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It was criticized for its blandness and for failing to make the most of its exceptional cast.
However, despite the poor feedback from major publications, the viewing figures were good, and some episodes attracted more than seven million people. But this could be thanks to the source material’s popularity rather than the series’ quality.
The Mental Asylum Genre is Huge in the Mainstream
One of the reasons (but certainly far from the only reason) the original Silence was such a success was due to the fascination with mental asylums in popular culture.
(The novel is set in Baltimore, Maryland, at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where Dr. Hannibal Lecter is imprisoned. The movie used the exterior of the administration building of the Western Center, an old mental hospital in Canonsburg, as the setting for the hospital.)
There have been countless films set in these mental institutions over the years, with some of the best-known offerings including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Shutter Island, and Don’t Say A Word.
The genre is also prominent in gaming, with numerous classics such as Silent Hill 2 (a remake of the 2001 psychological horror game is expected to be released next month for PlayStation 5 and Windows) and Asylum taking place in these institutions. There’s also the slot game Mental, one of the best Halloween slots in the list of slots guides. Players can find advice on playing the game and other recommendations in different categories, such as TV and film-themed slots.
Judging by the popularity of asylum-themed content throughout the wider entertainment industry, it could make sense to revisit The Silence of the Lambs franchise and focus more on the psychological side of the story. Dr. Hannibal Lecter is too good a character to be shelved completely, so he will likely return in some form in the future.
Clarice failed from a critical perspective and perhaps wasn’t a worthy addition to the franchise. However, it attracted viewers, suggesting that a more adroitly written series could succeed. Lecter is well-known in popular culture, and psychological horrors tend to be hits.
Therefore, we’ve unlikely seen the last of Thomas Harris’ captivating characters.