Henry : Portrait of a Serial Killer title

Tag Line : He's not Jason, He's not Freddy...He's Real.

Henry : Portrait of a Serial KillerLoosely based on the confessions of real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, this is a gritty, shocking and disturbing tale that follows the exploits of a psychopathic killer who goes around picking off female victims at random.

Henry (Michael Rooker) has just been released from jail, after serving time for the murder of his mother. He travels to Chicago, where he moves into a flat with his former cellmate Otis (Tom Towles). However it isn't too long before Henry's up to his old tricks when his buddy Otis discovers the joys of murder.

The 2 of them then go on a murder spree, as Henry shows Otis the Joys of random killing as they go around the city, shooting, stabbing and strangling people to death in the most gruesome and sadistic of fashions. Most notably, when they dispense with the snotty proprietor of a local electrical warehouse who they stab with a soldering iron, then wire to the mains.

Matters are complicated for the two killers though, with the arrival of Otis's sister Becky (Tracy Arnold), who begins to fall in love with Henry. This causes a bit of a rift between them as her brother Otis, being the sick little pervert he is, had his own eye on her.

There are some truly nasty scene's within the film, particularly during the scene when they decide video tape themselves murdering a family, who they tie up and kick to death. This scene is probably the most disturbing part of the film.

Directed by John McNaughton, the shocking murders and the grim picture it paints of American society have ensured this films longevity as a modern day horror classic, which is definitely not for the easily offended.

Overall Marks : 7/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The UK cinema version was cut quite badly by the BBFC, which removed the scene during the intro titles of the dead prostitute in the bathroom as well as trimming the murder of the snotty electrical clerk and the scene where they videotape themselves murdering a family.

  • The films budget was $111,000

  • The original UK video release back in 1993 was even more heavily cut by the BBFC than the theatrical version, which re-edited the already trimmed camcorder murder scene. This inserted a re-action shot of Henry and Otis watching the murder on TV, to alter the context of the scene, rather than us realising we're watching a tape after the fact. It also had a disclaimer at the beginning of the film saying that it was only loosely based on Henry Lee Lucas's confessions. Other versions of the film don't seem to have this.

  • The movie playing on TV, just before Otis breaks the set, was the 1964 Richard Burton film "Becket".

  • The 2001 UK re-issue faired much better than previous releases, the original version of the family being murdered on tape was re-instated and the film was passed with only one cut, removing the scene of the dead prostitute in the bathroom. The BBFC apparently only asked for this scene to be shortened, but the distributors cut it out entirely to preserve continuity. The full uncut version was FINALLY passed for a UK release in 2003.

  • The film was given an NC17 rating in the US in 1986, as a result it's release was put back until 1989 when the decision was finally made to release it unrated.

  • Tom Towles also starred in the 1993 remake of "Night of the Living Dead", as well as playing the role of Lt Wydell in "House of 1000 Corpses" and "Devil's Reject's".

  • Despite the film being in limbo during the late 80's, Michael Rooker still managed to get many film roles on the back of his performance in it, as there were many pre-release screener tapes circulating round Hollywood.

  • A sequel was filmed entitled "Mask of Sanity" which wasn't as good and detracted terribly from the first.

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Other films in the series.

Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer 2 : Mask of Sanity


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