Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) Requested by Michelle

This film is based on the supposed crimes of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, and begins as unrelenting as a film can: showing several horrific murder scenes.  We are then introduced to the man responsible for these acts, an unimposing man named Henry.  We follow him on his daily hunt for a victim to fill his never-ending lust for death, and you just can’t help but wonder what’s going through this psycho’s mind.  He returns home to find that his roommate and former prison friend Otis has stepped out and Otis’ sister Becky will be staying with them for a while as she tries to escape an abusive baby daddy.  Things go well for all of them for a while, and  Becky and Henry share some pretty intimate stuff with each other about their home lives and how it was so hellish for both of them.  The boys go out one night after dinner and Henry ends up killing a pair of hookers, much to Otis’ surprise.  Although shocked at first, Otis is now euphoric and can’t wait to commit an act of murder himself.  The pair go on to kill several more people, including a suburban family in one of the hardest to watch scenes you will ever sit through.  Throughout all of this Henry and Becky become closer and she asks him to go back across the country with her.  He takes a walk to consider the idea of a normal life, but he returns home to find Otis raping his own sister and attempts to help, but is knocked out. Becky takes it upon herself to stab Otis, and Henry finishes him off.  The pair go on the run together as they make plans to settle in California.  They check into a hotel room and as soon as you see the shot of Henry looking into the mirror with his cold dead eyes, you know what’s going to happen; and are still shocked when it does.

Alex’s Thoughts: Michael Rooker is a goddamn national treasure, and don’t ever forget that.  He completely makes this movie, and turns it from a bad exploitation movie to a serious film.  When you think of horror movie villains, Michael Rooker as Henry had better leave your lips before any of the second tier icons like Jigsaw or Chucky; that’s a fact.  The first time I watched this movie I was sort of bored at times, as there are long shots that don’t seem to go anywhere or serve any purpose; but I’ve realized later in life that those are there to help pace the movie; and the ending is totally worth it.  Alex Rates This Movie 8/10

Tim’s Thoughts: Alex is 100% right, from Henry, to Mallrats, and even Slither, Michael Rooker is awesome. He is THE reason this movie works, and his chilling performance is amazing. The only thing more disturbing is the actual story of Henry Lee Lucas, who drifted through the south with his boyfriend (that’s right, boyfriend) Ottis, and fell in love with Ottis’s niece Frieda, who was 11. Ick. Also Henry Lee Lucas was the only man that had his death sentence commuted by George W. Bush, not because old Bush was a softy, but because Henry had owned up to so many murders that, there was no way of telling what was true. All that being said, this movie has scenes that are parallel to A Clockwork Orange, and is still pretty good, even by today’s standards. This movie was so far ahead of it’s time, and when you watch it you will forget that this is 25 years old and still effective.  Tim Rates This Movie 8/10

“You have to know that in the end, it’s either them or you.”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue

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