In the 2001film “Hannibal,” a sequel to the highly successful thriller “Silence of the Lambs” (1991), Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter, ably portrayed by award-winning actor Anthony Hopkins, showed audiences the height psychopaths would go. I was particularly shocked by the scene involving Lecter and Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta).
Hannibal, the serial murderer, is the creation of best-selling author Thomas Harris and first appeared in a minor role in his novel “Red Dragon.” Lecter is described as “weird and terrifying,” and he was, both in the novel and in Hopkins portrayal of him in the film. Harris learned the specifics of serial killers from FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit.
In that scene, Hannibal drugged Krendler, a corrupt justice department man, and performed craniotomy on him while he was awake. Lecter removed the bone flap from Krendler’s skull, took a small part of his brain, sautéed it in butter and herbs and fed it to Krendler as the main protagonist, Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) watched in horror.
I am not saying Richard Gudelosao and Jojo de los Reyes, who killed Maria Eva Mae Peligro and Gwendolyn Balasta, then chopped their bodies (the other “accomplice,” Jean Antonette Medalle, merely cleaned the bloody mess created) are anywhere near Hannibal’s twisted level. But there should be something “weird and terrifying” in them.
It is one thing to kill and another to mutilate bodies. When I was a boy growing up in Sitio Kawayan, Barangay Sambag 2 in Cebu City, an unforgettable incident was the stabbing incident in front of the Sto. Niño chapel. To the horror of the people watching, one of the attackers slashed the neck of the victim, who had already fallen to the ground.
But chopping bodies is a different act altogether. What went on in the minds of Gudelosao and de los Reyes while they were cutting Peligro and Balasta into pieces? There are no reports the killers had, at one time or another, worked in a slaughterhouse, so the task must not have been swift and precise. Besides, we are not talking of cow meat.
Were Gudelosao and de los Reyes cold-blooded, or did they exhibit the anxiety and nervousness of minds less twisted? Were they fidgety? Did they argue over how to cut the body or what instrument to use? Or were they clinical and nonchalant? Indeed, it would be good to come up with a profile on the duo and subject them to psycho tests.
The most that Medalle would admit was that Gudelosao, her live-in partner, smoked marijuana, although one doubts if the man would have limited himself to that considering the availability of shabu in many places in Cebu. If one factors in illegal drugs, then the actuation of Gudelosao and de los Reyes may no longer be as puzzling.
In one of his radio interviews, Minglanilla Police Chief Romeo Santander mentioned something about Gudelosao not feeling remorse while they went through the motions of locating the body parts wrapped in packages and strewn in the hinterland areas of Minglanilla, Talisay, Toledo and Naga. “Wa pa siguro katugpa,” Santander said.
Reality will eventually catch up on Gudelosao, de los Reyes and Medalle, though, and it will bite. And as our elders would remind us, “wa gyoy pagbasol nga mag-una.”
(I wrote this for my July 30, 2008 “Candid Thoughts” column in Sun.Star Cebu)