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The Chilling Inspiration Behind Chris' Voice On Family Guy

Many of the characters on "Family Guy" are voiced by comedians who are good at creating bizarre voices that are funny on their own — even if what they're saying at the moment is not particularly funny. Each character has a distinctive voice that matches their various cartoonish personalities. Remarkably, that's true even when they are voiced by the same actor. Peter Griffin (Seth MacFarlane) is a buffoonish, New England man-child, whereas the baby Stewie Griffin's (also Seth MacFarlane) genius is reflected through his random British accent and proper pronunciation. MacFarlane also voices the dog, Brian Griffin, who is cultured, literary, and sounds like the host of a high-brow podcast, as well as Glenn Quagmire, who sounds like an annoying but humorous creep. 

In addition to MacFarlane, other famous comedic actors on the show include Mila Kunis (Meg Griffin), Alex Borstein (Lois Griffin), and Seth Green (Chris Griffin). Partially because of the talented actors who voice these characters, they are some of the most popular "Family Guy" characters. Although the voice of Chris (high-pitched, nasal, and whiny) is supposed to be humorous, Seth Green's inspiration for the voice was actually chilling, not humorous. Green's inspiration came from a popular 1990s horror film. 

Seth Green based Chris's voice off Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs

Rather than finding inspiration in other cartoons or comedic shows similar to "Family Guy," as might be expected, Seth Green actually found inspiration for Chris's voice in the 1991 horror movie "Silence of the Lambs." In a panel for PaleyFestLA, Green said he based Chris's voice off of serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), who murders women and then skins them so he can sew pieces together and make a "woman suit" to wear. Green said that, during his audition for the role of Chris, he actually did an impression of Buffalo Bill because of a dare he received from a fellow actor friend.

Buffalo Bill's normal voice is not as high-pitched as Chris's, but it still shares the nasal, drawn-out drawl of Chris's voice. Additionally, when he is being especially weird or creepy, Bill's voice sometimes slips into a higher-pitched tone, making the inspiration for Chris even more evident.

Several Redditors, including u/flossdaily, felt that Chris's voice does not actually sound like Buffalo Bill, even if this is where the inspiration came from. However, Green specifically based Chris's voice off the way Buffalo Bill's voice would sound if he were speaking over the P.A. system at a fast food restaurant. So, Chris is not supposed to sound exactly like Buffalo Bill, but like a modified version of him. Still, the resemblance is uncanny at times, such as during Season 7, Episode 13 "Stew-Roids," during which Chris re-enacts the scene where Buffalo Bill dances in front of the mirror to the song "Goodbye Horses."