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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Unrated | | Biography, Crime, Drama | 7 September 1990 (USA)
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Henry, a drifter, commits a series of brutal murders, supposedly operating with impunity.

Director:

9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
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
...
...
David Katz ...
Henry's Boss
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Storyline

Loosely based on serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, the film follows Henry and his roommate Otis who Henry introduces to murdering randomly selected people. The killing spree depicted in the film starts after Otis' sister Becky comes to stay with them. The people they kill are strangers and in one particularly gruesome attack, kill all three members of a family during a home invasion. Henry lacks compassion in everything he does and isn't the kind to leave behind witnesses - of any kind. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Yeah, I killed my Mama... See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Henry, retrato de un asesino  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$111,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$609,939
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited for TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Even members of the filmmaking team themselves have been disturbed by the film. Composer Robert McNaughton couldn't watch the film right the way through upon first seeing it, and Tom Towles (Otis) has only ever seen the film once, at the Splatterfest Film Festival in 1990. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Henry: If you shoot someone in the head with a .45 every time you kill somebody, it becomes like your fingerprint, see? But if you strangle one, stab another, and one you cut up, and one you don't, then the police don't know what to do. They think you're four different people. What they really want, what makes their job so much easier, is pattern. What they call a modus operandi. That's Latin. Bet you didn't know any Latin, did you kid?
Otis: Big fucking deal.
Henry: What?
Otis: Nothing.
Henry: It's like a trail of shit, Otis....
[...]
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Fear in the Dark (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Fingers on It
Written by Chip Z'Nuff (as C. Z'Nuff) / Donnie Vie (as D. Vie)
Performed by Enuff Z'nuff (as Enough Z'Nuff)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Is this a film to acclaim or condemn?
4 April 1999 | by See all my reviews

In 1960, Michael Powell committed professional suicide by directing and producing "Peeping Tom," a thriller in which a psychopathic murderer photographs his victims at the moment of death. Denounced as sick and without redeeming social value, "Peeping Tom" vanished from theaters, while its director, also denounced as sick, went on to make only two more films in the next eight years. Powell's film has gone on to attract an avid cult following and, if it hasn't done so already, so will "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer."

Loosely based on the real life exploits of Henry Lee Lucas, a leering, low IQ sicko who became a media star after claiming to have murdered several dozen people (some believe Henry was bragging), this film takes a gritty, realistic approach that creates the impression that we are watching real life unfold. Director John McNaughton exploits the discomfort the viewer is inclined to feel by presenting a scene in which Henry and his equally vicious former cellmate, Otis, videotape the rape and murder of one of their victims, then play it back for further amusement. This shocking episode effectively makes the point that those who seek second hand thrills through violent "entertainment" are almost as guilty as the perpetrators of such deeds. By casting anonymous non-stars in the leading roles (not that he had a choice considering the budget and the repellent subject matter), and focusing entirely on the exploits of the killers (there are no scenes of police investigating the crimes or peeks into the lives of the victims), McNaughton has created a brutal, amoral horror film that makes the bloodiest gorefest look benign. Although the real Henry was apprehended, his cinematic counterpart is never even suspected of his crimes, and gets off scot-free.

Is "Henry" a film to acclaim or condemn? It's a difficult question to answer, and I, for one cannot make a decision. It is so expertly made that I think McNaughton deserves a round of applause and maybe an Oscar. But, at the end of the video tape of the film that I watched, there was a commercial hawking "Henry" T-shirts ($14.98) and posters ($7.98). Both were available through "Henry Merchandising," and this attempt to turn this all too real murderer into a cult figure deserving of a fan club is despicable.


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