Hannibal’s Top 5 Most Gruesome Deaths – Season One
Sad news has come to pass recently that the fan-favorite series Hannibal will not return to NBC for a fourth season. Though this has left many “fannibals” distraught, worrying about the fates of their favorite characters, we can still look back on the good times. And by “good times” I mean the most gruesome deaths from season one that both repelled us and piqued our interest in the series.
5. Colombian Necktie (1.11 – “Roti”)
When Dr. Gideon, played by Eddie Izzard, escapes from police custody he seeks revenge on psychiatrists that have profiled him. Victims have their throat cut open and tongue pulled through, creating what is known as a Colombian necktie. When it comes to these murders I am not sure what is worse: the spectacle of seeing someone’s tongue pulled through their neck, or the fact that there is actually a name for this type of post-mortem mutilation. The practice originated in Colombia during a period of political violence as a method of psychological warfare. After watching this episode, I believe most anyone would call it effective.
4. Human Totem Pole (1.09 – “Trou Normand”)
On a snow-covered beach a totem pole made up of seventeen bodies is found. Sixteen of the bodies were old kills dug up from their graves to create the macabre tower. The seventeenth body was a fresh kill, a man kept alive just long enough to see the tower constructed and know his place in it. What made the totem so gruesome was not just the amount of murders the killer had gotten away with, but all the calculated planning that went into it.
3. Living Fertilizer (1.02 – “Amuse-Bouche”)
As the second episode in the series, “Amuse-Bouche” definitely displayed to early viewers the strange potential Hannibal had to offer. After hikers stumble upon nine shallow graves, it is revealed that a pharmacist has been burying victims alive, in a catatonic state and covered in fungi, to grow mushrooms. After awhile they perish and provide the perfect fertilizer to keep the mushrooms healthy. The real horror of the situation comes when a tenth grave is found, but the victim in this grave is still alive.
2. Musical Talent (1.08 – “Fromage”)
One day a Baltimore trombonist is found center stage at a performance hall with a cello neck shoved down his throat. His vocal chords had been exposed and powdered by the murderer so that they could be played with a bow. In an attempt to get the attention of the Minnesota Shrike, Hannibal, a musician had gone out of the way to put on a show. The musical capabilities of the human trachea are given their chance to shine in this episode, creating a visceral bond between performance art and murder.
1. Angels from Above (1.05 – “Coquilles”)
This episode centers on a man who sees “demons” all around him, people whose faces are warped into burning flesh. In an attempt to make these people holy the man flays their backs and perches the skin to look like angels wings. The iconic scenes of the episode where the two “angels” are praying at the bedside was originally deemed inappropriate for television by NBC. This was not due to the gruesome nature of the murders, but because the exposed posteriors of the corpses were deemed as nudity. The careful application of copious amounts of blood to the bodies obscured the offensive butt cracks and made the image appropriate to broadcast.
An interesting fact about “Coquilles” is that though it is technically the fifth episode of the first season, it was the fourth to be aired in the United States. The actual fourth episode, “Oeuf,” was pulled of the air at the request of showrunner Bryan Fuller. “Oeuf” featured violence against children, and Fuller worried this would offend viewers after the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Instead “Oeuf” was shortened by Fuller and released as a series of five webisodes on NBC’s website. The unedited version of the episode aired normally outside of the United States and Canada, and can also be viewed on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the first season.