The house owned by serial killer Buffalo Bill in 1991 horror classic Silence of the Lambs has been up for sale for a while now. In fact, it’s been up for sale for so long that the price has been dropped dramatically, from $300,000 to $250,000. And $250,000 seems to be just the right price for PETA.
PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — has placed a bid on the house with hopes to transform it into a so-called empathy museum. What is an empathy museum, you ask? Well, it’s a place where, just as Buffalo Bill wore the skin of humans, you can wear the skin of abused animals. It’ll be perfect for those of us who want to feel the heavy weight and soft kiss of fresh leather without having to spend a fortune at some boutique in SoHo.
“We’re always scouting for ways to get our message out and when we saw that the house was for sale, given the topic of the movie, we just thought it would be great to turn it into an empathy museum for all animals that were killed for their skin,” said PETA spokeswoman Kate Tuggle, according to The Guardian.
Tracy Reiman, Executive Vice President of PETA, even wrote an open letter Diane Wilk, to the realtor in charge of selling the house. The whole thing is worth reading, but it is essentially a persuasive essay based on the premise that animals are the real-world equivalent to Buffalo Bill’s fictional, human victims. In part, it reads:
Although Buffalo Bill is a fictional character, many victims today undergo similar experiences. Every year, millions of sensitive cattle, minks, rabbits, foxes, crocodiles, snakes, and other animals—including even dogs—are confined to severely crowded spaces and deprived of everything that is natural and important to them before they’re slaughtered for their skins.
Anyway, PETA will very likely only include reproductions of these animal skins, so the grossness effect won’t be quite the same as wearing an authentically mangled piece of leather. Not that we’re endorsing that, but it seems that if PETA really wanted to facilitate empathy, it wouldn’t try to do it through fabrication.