With dozens of horror movies released every year, it takes a lot for a villain to stand the tests of time and make a lasting impression on popular culture. One of those characters is Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who was created by suspense author Thomas Harris. Harris crafted Lecter for his 1981 novel "Red Dragon," which follows an FBI profiler named Will Graham who enlists the incarcerated Dr. Hannibal Lecter to help him find a serial killer nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy." Prior to his incarceration, Lecter was a brilliant psychiatrist in Baltimore, Maryland, however, his career was cut short after his double life as a cannibal serial killer caught up with him. Lecter would go onto appear in Harris's next book, "The Silence of the Lambs," helping FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling to find the serial killer nicknamed "Buffalo Bill." That book was of course adapted into the wildly successful 1991 film of the same name, with actor Anthony Hopkins portraying Lecter. Hopkins won Best Actor at the 64th annual Academy Awards for his portrayal of Lecter, however, against popular belief, he was not the first actor to play the character.
Lecter was first played by Brian Cox in the 1986 film "Manhunter," which was based on "Red Dragon." So far, four actors have brought Lecter to life over five films, with Hopkins playing Lecter for 1991's "The Silence of the Lambs," 2001's "Hannibal" and 2002's "Red Dragon." Actors Aaron Thomas and Gaspard Ulliel portrayed Lecter for 2007's "Hannibal Rising," which was based on Harris's 2006 book detailing Lecter's upbringing.
In 2013, Lecter was introduced to the silver screen through NBC's "Hannibal," which was based on the characters and elements of Harris's novels (with the exception of "The Silence of the Lambs.") The show had Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen portray Lecter and Mikkelsen earned "Best Actor on Television" at the 2014 Saturn Awards for the role.
In honor of the many decades Lecter has delighted literature, film and television, take a look at some of our favorite tattoos depicting this character in the gallery below. Then let us know your favorite Lecter movie in the comments section on social media.