Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

4.5 4
Director: John McNaughton

Cast: John McNaughton, Michael Rooker, Tom Towles, Tracy Arnold

     
 

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Though the title makes Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer seem like a cut-rate slasher flick, the film is actually one of the most disturbing and terrifying examinations of mass murderers ever filmed. Loosely based on the story of confessed murderer Henry Lee Lucas, the film follows Henry (Michael Rooker) as he selects innocent victims--occasionally with his

Overview

Though the title makes Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer seem like a cut-rate slasher flick, the film is actually one of the most disturbing and terrifying examinations of mass murderers ever filmed. Loosely based on the story of confessed murderer Henry Lee Lucas, the film follows Henry (Michael Rooker) as he selects innocent victims--occasionally with his roommate Otis (Tom Towles)--and kills them, capturing their murder on videotape. Many of these murders rank among the most brutal and violent ever portrayed on film. The violence and the clinical, detached portrayal of Henry and his horrifying actions make Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer a disturbing, thought-provoking film, but it certainly isn't one for every taste. Finished in 1986, the film wasn't released until 1990, when it was greeted with both positive reviews and considerable controversy.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Nothing if not disturbing, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was a response to the slasher movies of the 1980s. There are none of the special effects or plot conventions of such horror series of the time as Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street. Instead, the movie is almost completely detached and non-judgmental towards its subject, as hollow a creation as you're ever likely to find as the focus of a movie, played with a chilliness of blizzard-like proportions by Michael Rooker. There is no humanization of Henry. He has no passion, no reasoning, no existential quandary. The vacuous feeling is reminiscent of Peter Bogdanovich's 1968 rooftop killer movie, Targets. Henry was finished in 1986, but the MPAA refused to give it anything less than the dreaded 'X' rating. It sat on the shelf for three years until filmmaker Errol Morris sponsored the movie at the Telluride Film Festival. The reaction at the time was volatile, and, even with the subsequent success of such gruesome movies as Silence of the Lambs, Henry may remain a bit too authentic for most tastes.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/27/2005
UPC:
0030306770093
Original Release:
1986
Rating:
R
Source:
Mpi Home Video
Region Code:
0
Time:
1:23:00
Sales rank:
35,738

Special Features

Feature film; Feature-length commentary with director John McNaughton; Theatrical trailers; Still gallery; "Portrait: The Making of Henry" documentary; "The Serial Killers: Henry Lee Lucas" documentary; Deleted scenes and outtakes with commentary by John McNaughton; Original storyboards

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael Rooker Henry
Tom Towles Otis
Tracy Arnold Becky, Otis's Sister
David Katz Henry's Boss
Flo Spink Woman In Cadillac
Eric Young Parole Officer
Rick Paul Shooting Victim
Waleed B. Ali Store Clerk

Technical Credits
John McNaughton Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Waleed B. Ali Executive Producer
Malik B. Ali Executive Producer
Lisa Dedmond Co-producer
Richard Fire Screenwriter
Ken Hale Score Composer
Patricia L. Hart Costumes/Costume Designer
Steven A. Jones Score Composer,Songwriter,Co-producer
Charlie Lieberman Cinematographer
Elena Maganini Editor
Robert McNaughton Score Composer,Songwriter,Musical Direction/Supervision
Rick Paul Art Director
Berndt Rantscheff Makeup
Jefferey Lyle Segal Special Effects

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
1. Opening Credits [1:32]
2. Henry [7:26]
3. Otis and Becky [4:19]
4. Exterminator [4:29]
5. Shattered Childhood [9:00]
6. Real Nice Supper [5:51]
7. Either You or Them [5:56]
8. Let's Go Shopping [6:48]
9. I'd Like to Kill [5:57]
10. Home Invasion [9:44]
11. Becky and Henry [5:16]
12. Retribution [6:47]
13. On the Run [7:56]
14. End Credits [1:05]

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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
See it , feel it and have fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was hyped to go out and buy this movie because I had heard so many good things about it. I was a little disappointed after watching this because nothing really exciting happens in this, and just isn't scary at all. It is better than some of the "horror" movies that were made in the 80's, but certainly not worth buying. I was expecting a bloody, action packed, violent movie but there's really only one or two scenes that helped me get through the movie. The special features on the dvd are pretty interesting, though.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After I seen this film recently, I couldn't sleep for a week. Michael Rooker is absolutely captivating as Henry, and sometimes he is more real than the real Henry Lee Lucas. The supporting work by Tracy Arnold and Tom Towles is nothing short of brilliant. This is quite possibly the most disturbing film I have ever seen. I have seen this classic over five times, and it never gets old. Reality never gets any better than this.