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Although not as well known Francis Dolarhyde also acts as the main antagonist of the film Manhunter - which is an early adaptation of the novel released before the more famous "Red Dragon" film.
Character OverviewDolarhyde is a serial killer nicknamed "The Tooth-Fairy" due to his tendency to bite his victims' bodies, the uncommon size and sharpness of his teeth and other apparent oral fixations, He refers to his other self as "The Great Red Dragon" after William Blake's painting "The Great Red Dragon and the Women Clothed with the Sun".
Born in Springfield, Missouri on June 14, 1938 with a cleft lip and palate, he was abandoned by his mother and cared for in an orphanage until the age of five. He was then taken in by his grandmother, who subjected him to severe emotionel and physical abuse. He began torturing animals at a young age to vent his anger over the abuse. After his grandmother became afflicted with dementia, Dolarhyde was turned over to the care of his estranged mother and her husband in St.Louis; he was further abused by this family and is sent back to the orphanage after being caught hanging his stepsister's cat. After being caught breaking into a house at aged 17, he enlisted in the United States Army. While on his tour in Japan and neighbouring countries, he learns how to develop films and receives cosmetic surgery for his cleft palate. He later gets a job with the Gateway Corp. as the production manager in their home movies division.
Dolarhyde is a bodybuilder and exceptionally strong; it is mentioned in the novel that even in his forties, Dolarhyde could have successfully competed in regionel bodybuilding competions.
Dolarhyde began his killings by murdering two families within a month after discovering The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun, which gave voice to his alternate personality. He commited both crimes on or near a full moon; it is hinted in the novel that he killed before that, however. He chooses his victims through the home movies that he edits as a film processing technician. He believed that by killing people, or "transforming" them as he calls it, he can fully "become" the Dragon. On a trip to Hong Kong during his army service, he had a large dragon tattooed across his back and had two sets of false teeth made; one of them for his usual life, the other distorted and razor sharp for his killings, based on the mold of his grandmother's teeth.
Dolarhyde reads The Nationel Tattler, a tabloid which runs sensationalistic stories, collecting clippings about Hannibal Lecters arrest and trial, about Graham, and his own murders. In a attempt to provoke Dolarhyde out of hiding, Graham interviews Freddy Lounds of The Tattler, in which he refers to "The Tooth-Fairy" as impotent, homosexual and possibly the product of an incestuous relationship on the part of his mother; as well as a series of false statements from an "offended" Dr.Lecter. The interview outrages Dolarhyde who kidnaps Lounds, intimidates him into recanting his article on tape, and then bites his tongue out. Dolarhyde returns to Chicago and sets Lounds on fire, and rolls him down a incline into The Tattler's parking garage.
Dolarhyde fell in love with a blind co-worker called Reba McClane. At first the relationship quelled his murderous impules but over time his alter ego began to order him to kill her, but he maintained control. He flew to New york and devoured the Dragon painting, believing it would destroy the Dragon, but it only infuriated it even more. When he returned to see Reba, he saw her and disliked co-worker, Ralph Mandy, kiss her on the cheek. This angered him and so he shot Mandy in the head and used chloroform on Reba. He brings her to his home and sets it on fire and prepares to shot Reba with a shotgun but is not able to do so and apparently shoots himself in the head.
It turns out that he actually shot the corpse of Mandy to fake his death and he arrived at William Graham's home in Marathon, Florida. He held Graham's son, Josh, hostage and prepared to "change" infront of Graham. Noticing that Josh had wet himself, Graham used the same insults as Dolarhyde's grandmother used to make him go into a fit of rage. He severly disfigured Graham's face with the glass, but was then shot four times in the head by Graham's wife, Molly.
Jacobi family in Birmingham, seemed sloppy but it was his first time and was panicky.
Leeds family in Atlanta, went more smoothly and he molested Mrs. Leeds with the other corpses sitting up.
Freddy Lounds, because of the article that portrayed him as a homosexual and a inbred child.
Ralph Mandy, for kissing Reba and to stage his own death.
Comparisions to Real Killers
- David Berkowitz a.k.a the Son of Sam: Like Dolarhyde, Berkowitz believed he was becoming a new being and preferred to be called the Son of Sam by the media, rather then the .44 Caliber Killer. Berkowitz would often send letters to the media and police describing himself and his transformation, a similar fashion to Dolarhyde.
- Jeffrey Dahmer: Dahmer and Dolarhyde would often move the bodies of their victims and even sexual assault them. Though the most striking similarity was both killers used brute force to subdue their victims.
- Dennis Rader a.k.a the BTK Killer: Dolarhyde was known to target families and savagely kill every member of said family. One of BTKs (Bind Torture Kill) most famous victims were the Otero Family, where he killed four members of the family, with only one survivor.