Jame Gumb, whose nickname is “Buffalo Bill,” is a fictional character and the main bad guy in Thomas Harris’s 1988 book The Silence of the Lambs and in the 1991 movie version of the book, in which Ted Levine plays him.
In both the movie and the book, he is a serial killer who kills overweight women and takes their skins to make himself a “woman suit.” Simon Northwood plays him on the television show Clarice.
Some gay rights groups didn’t like how the movie Silence of the Lambs showed Gumb as being both bisexual and transgender.
The same thing is said by a Johns Hopkins sex-change surgeon, who is in the book but not in the movie (his scene was cut and can be seen in the extras on the DVD).
FBI Director Jack Crawford calms him down by telling him again that Gumb is not actually transsexual, he just thinks he is. In the movie, a similar scene is shown, with Starling playing the surgeon and Lecter playing Crawford.
In Silence of the Lambs, who is Buffalo Bill?
Jame Gumb, whose alias was Buffalo Bill, was the main bad guy in Harris’s book, and Ted Levine played him in the movie version.
Gumb’s childhood was written to be traumatic, and Lecter himself says that “years of systematic abuse” led to him becoming a criminal.
The killer’s method was to get women to come to him by pretending to be hurt and then knocking them out. He would then take them home and leave them to starve in a well in the basement. After the victim lost weight and their skin became loose, he would skin them to make a “woman suit.”
The homicide police gave him the name “Buffalo Bill” because it was known that the American soldier and showman Buffalo Bill Cody had scalped a Cheyenne Warrior.
Gumb is not a transexual, but the killer was confused about who he was and showed signs of gender dysphoria. He wanted to finish his “transformation” into a woman.
Does Buffalo Bill come from a real murderer?
No, Buffalo Bill is not a real person. Harris made him up. However, Gumb’s methods were based on those of real serial killers.
Ed Gein, the serial killer who inspired the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, was the most famous person who influenced Buffalo Bill. He was known for keeping trophies of his victims and making clothes, masks, and other things out of their flesh.
Gary Heidnik was another killer who influenced Buffalo Bill’s character. Like Buffalo Bill, Heidnik liked to capture women and hold them in a “house of horrors.”