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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 19,260 users  
Reviews: 200 user | 120 critic

Based on the true life serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas.

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Title: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Demas ...
Dead Woman / Dead Prostitute / Hooker #1
...
Anne Bartoletti ...
Waitress
Elizabeth Kaden ...
Dead Couple - Wife
Ted Kaden ...
Dead Couple - Husband
Denise Sullivan ...
Floating Woman
Anita Ores ...
Mall Shopper #1
Megan Ores ...
Mall Shopper #2
Cheri Jones ...
Mall Shopper #3
Monica Anne O'Malley ...
Mall Victim
Bruce Quist ...
Husband
Erzsebet Sziky ...
Hitchiker
Tracy Arnold ...
Tom Towles ...
David Katz ...
Henry's Boss
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Storyline

Henry likes to kill people, in different ways each time. Henry shares an apartment with Otis. When Otis' sister comes to stay, we see both sides of Henry; the "guy-next-door" and the serial killer. Low budget movie, with some graphic murder scenes. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The shocking true story of Henry Lee Lucas. See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Henri, portret serijskog ubice  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$111,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$609,939 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited for TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bizarrely, the origins of this film are to be found in a never-made documentary about professional wrestling. Director John McNaughton had worked for the Ali brothers (Waleed B. Ali & Malik B. Ali) as a delivery man with their video equipment rental business during the late 70s, and Waleed and McNaughton had always vowed to make a film together at some stage in the future. Several years later, the Ali brothers hired McNaughton to direct a documentary about organized crime in Chicago entitled Dealers in Death (1984). The film was well received and turned a profit, and the brothers were happy with McNaughton's directorial work. As such, they hired him to shoot a second documentary, this time about the professional wrestling in Chicago. A collection of previously thought lost VHS tapes showing wrestling in Chicago during the 1950s had been unearthed, and the brothers had agreed to purchase the tapes from the owner for use in the documentary. However, when the brothers went to buy the tapes, the owner doubled his price at the last minute, and the brothers pulled out of the deal. Waleed then had the idea to use the money set aside for the documentary to instead make a feature film, and he kept McNaughton on as director, offering him $100,000 to make a horror movie. Waleed didn't care what the film was about, he just wanted something in the horror genre. McNaughton had no idea what to write about until he saw an episode of the show 20/20 (1978) about Henry Lee Lucas, and he decided that his subject matter was not going to be a demon, a monster or an extra-terrestrial, but a normal human being. See more »

Goofs

Some obvious matte lines are seen in the film from time to time. See more »

Quotes

Otis: I'd like to kill somebody.
Henry: Say that again.
Otis: I'd like to kill somebody.
Henry: Let's me and you go for a ride, Otis
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special Thanks to: Tony the Cop James Marks Family The Edward Dedmond Family See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Simpsons: Homer Badman (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Lavalite Waltz
Written by Dan Haberkorn (as D. Haberkorn)
Performed by Dan Haberkorn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Wholesome entertainment for all the family.
9 March 2003 | by (Isle of Man) – See all my reviews

A flat disturbing film, almost documentary in scope which trawls the depths of the human condition. 'Henry' is not surprisingly often slated as a violent exploitation film, bundled together at Film Fairs with the Italian cannibal flicks of the 70's.

Make no mistake though, this is a highly commendable piece of movie-making, which tackles the subject of serial killers with the same no-holds-barred approach which 'M' did way back in 1931. By referencing the early Fritz Lang classic, I am intentionally comparing 'Henry' favourably with it. I would also say that Henry Rooker's performance is on a par with Peter Lorre's.

The film develops like a three-handed play, revolving around Henry's flat which he shares with former prison-mate, Otis. The trio is made up by Becky, the sister of Otis, who comes to visit.

We are introduced to Henry immediately as a killer and the story does exactly what it says it will in the film's title. We simply follow Henry throughout his daily routine. No mention is given to any police enquiries and Henry is oblivious to any notion of avoiding capture or covering his tracks. Much of the film's power comes from this nonchalant approach, whereby if a person doesn't register that something he is doing is wrong, then it quickly becomes almost acceptable.

Rooker, in the title role, is totally convincing and gives a chilling performance, free from the mannerism clichés which detract from more famous serial killer characters like Hannibal Lector and Norman Bates. I can only think of Kevin Spacey in 'Seven' (1995) giving a similar level of performance for this character-type.

Despite a couple of scenes whose violent content borders on the gratuitous, for the most part 'Henry' succeeds by relying on a suffocating atmosphere and it's down-beat characters.

Anyone without a sense of desolation at the end of the film must be devoid of their senses.

BEST SCENE - Henry and Otis enjoying a night in on the sofa, watching their recent home-video recordings, is one of the most disturbing scenes I can remember watching.


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Is this movie actually SCARY? szegarra92
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