Hannibal Lecter is such a popular film bad guy, because audiences secretly long to be him - according to the man who played him on film SIR Anthony Hopkins.

The THOMAS HARRIS-created serial killer has appeared in four movies - once played by BRIAN COX - and upcoming Silence Of The Lambs prequel BEHIND THE MASK.

And the cannibal killer continues to fascinate film-lovers.

Hopkins explains, "We admire him in a secret way. He represents the unspeakable part of ourselves, the fantasy, desires and dark areas of our lives that are actually healthy if only we acknowledge them. Perhaps we'd like to be as daredevil as him."