In journalism, the rule is “three makes a trend. ” So antlers-as-murder utility may officially be a trend.
There’s HBO’s True Detective, where the murder victim that kicks off the season was staged with antlers on her head.
And as fans of NBC’s Hannibal know, antlers were not only used by the Chesapeake Ripper to impale a victim, but became a recurring motif in the hallucinations suffered by the show’s protagonist last season.
So why is this now a thing? Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller was asked at the TCA press tour if True Detective ripped off his show. Turns out, the writer-producer has a theory on this subject.
“Anybody who saw [the Stephen King TV miniseries] Salem’s Lot in 1979 where James Mason impaled that guy on the antlers, it’s probably all coming from that traumatic experience in our childhoods. So I imagine they probably saw the same thing that inspired the imagery in this show.”
Points for the solid reference, Bryan!
A stag is also the sigil of House Baratheon in HBO’s Game of Thrones, so there’s plenty of antler imagery woven into the show’s props and clothing. And Fuller says there’s something similar in Damon Lindelof’s upcoming HBO drama The Leftovers, which if true would make for another show using antlers in some fashion.
“Wait till you see The Leftovers, I think there’s some stag action in that,” Fuller said. “I had lunch with Damon. He was like, ‘We didn’t rip you off. We have a stag.’ Like, ‘I just want to tell you up front.’”