MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 762 this week

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Horror  |  7 September 1990 (USA)
7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 21,382 users  
Reviews: 200 user | 126 critic

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

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 22 titles
created 22 Jun 2011
 
a list of 30 titles
created 10 Sep 2013
 
a list of 31 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 49 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 34 titles
created 5 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

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

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

User Polls

10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Henry II picks up where the original (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) left off. Henry (Neil Giuntoli) takes a thankless job at a port-o-john company where he meets husband and wife, Kai... See full summary »

Director: Chuck Parello
Stars: Penelope Milford, Neil Giuntoli, Mike Houlihan
The Borrower (1991)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Aliens punish one of their own by sending him to earth. The alien is very violent, and when the body he occupies is damaged, he is forced to find another.

Director: John McNaughton
Stars: Rae Dawn Chong, Don Gordon, Tom Towles
Man Bites Dog (1992)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand.

Directors: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, Nelly Pappaert
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: John McNaughton
Stars: Broderick Crawford
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: John McNaughton
Stars: Patrick Achdjian, William S. Burroughs, Anna Condo
Normal Life (1996)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Chris is young idealistic cop who falls in love and gets married to Pam, a beautiful but emotionally unstable woman who suffers from alcoholism and drug addiction. While Chris is trying ... See full summary »

Director: John McNaughton
Stars: Ashley Judd, Luke Perry, Bruce A. Young
Drama | Comedy | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Performance artist/comedian Bogosian brings to hilarious life 10 separate oddball characters in a one-man-show. This profane, smart, crisply edited film will have you screaming for more.

Director: John McNaughton
Stars: Eric Bogosian
Maniac (1980)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A psychopath, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in New York City, kills young women and takes their scalps as his trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in a photographer, and end his killing spree?

Director: William Lustig
Stars: Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Abigail Clayton
Peeping Tom (1960)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Karlheinz Böhm, Anna Massey, Moira Shearer
Funny Games (1997)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two psychotic young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A pair of teenage girls are headed to a rock concert for one's birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, the girls are kidnapped by a gang of psychotic convicts.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David Hess
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The making of seminal 80s horror film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986).

Director: David Gregory
Stars: John McNaughton, Steven A. Jones, Richard Fire
Edit

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
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Rooker said he was working as a janitor when he auditioned for the part of Henry and went to the audition in his janitor uniform. He got the part, and continued to wear his uniform throughout the film shoot. He only had one jacket, though, so he took it off before he "killed" anyone so he wouldn't get blood on it. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Otis: Where you going?
Henry: Nowhere - you wanna come?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the film begins the following can be read: "This film is a fictional dramatization of certain events. 'Henry' is not intended to be an accurate portrayal of a true story. The film is based partly on confessions of a person named Henry, many of which he later recanted. As to Otis and Betty, the film is fictional." See more »

Connections

Referenced in In Bad Taste (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Old for These Blues
Written by T.K. Thady
Performed by Kid Tater and The Cheaters
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Harrowing and real.
1 January 2004 | by (Auckland, New Zealand.) – See all my reviews

The real Henry Lee Lucas had one of the worst childhoods that I have ever had the misfortune of reading about. Growing up in Texas, he lived with a family that was totally dysfunctional. He grew up in a shack, that had nothing more than a dirt floor. The father being a legless alcoholic, literally as well as figuratively. The mother worked as a prostitute. Henry was also forced into sexual activity with her clients. They forced him to dress as a girl and then would proceed to have sex with him. He was a child that grew up being raped.

He then grew up with such an intense rage that he became a serial killer. Are we surprised? Now, I am not trying to justify his behaviour. Rather, I am pointing out the fact that these people do not just fall out of the sky. There is no such thing as an inexplicable evil. That is, the person is just evil because they are. Yes, there seems to be some genetic evidence for psychopaths. However the majority do not become killers. The ones who become killers are made. If you are truly interested in what makes a psychopath, I suggest you read, 'Not Guilty by reason of Insanity ' by Dorothy Otnow Lewis. Serial killers are often portrayed as being like Hannibal Lecter. Smart and talented creatures that have suddenly lost their moral code. The truth is most are a psychological mess. Losers that are full of conflicting emotions. There is also strong evidence to suggest that these people are made by a specific form of brain damage. Basically when you combine trauma in childhood and frontal lobe brain damage, you end up with Henry.

This movie is what happens when people are treated in an utterly horrific way. Michael Rooker is excellent as a psychopath who seems normal but deep down harbours a psychotic rage against society. He and Otis travel around killing. Why? Why not? The pointlessness of their lives is perfectly captured. People complain about the lack of plot. I think it perfectly captures the plot. It shows the emptiness of these characters. In fact Henry and Otis feel nothing unless they are killing. The emotional side of the characters has been like killed off by previous abuses against them. They are not unlike the living dead. Even when Otis's sister shows some affection towards Henry he cannot reciprocate. He can't relate to people, he can only get off on torture and death. Yeah, this is shocking. But it is also incredibly sad.

Here in New Zealand there are many shocking drunk driving ads that they play to try and get people to stop this behaviour. I feel that this movie is like that. The movie is an ad for psychopaths, who they are and the dysfunctional psychological world that they inhabit. It is a film that honestly looks at these kinds of people. This certainly does not glorify these people, which is a criticism that has been levelled at the 'Silence of the Lambs' series. This is why I think it shocks people. The serial killer kills for visceral, physical pleasure. As Ted Bundy stated, 'I killed because I wanted to.' Maybe, this is where the film falls down. That the characters motivations are not explained well enough. But either way the viewer is given a shockingly realistic interpretation of a serial killers world.

Obviously this is a film that was made on a budget! But this just adds to the bleakness. In fact Chicago looks dirty, grimy and not like somewhere that you would visit. The performances of the rest of the cast are pretty average if not bad. So the film has some definite flaws. The exploitation factor is there. But then I think of films like Baise Moi and this film has nothing on that!

Overall I think this is an objective look at a world that those of us who come from normal backgrounds will find horrific. A world that we prefer would never exist, but however does exist. Maybe one day, as our society matures these people will cease to exist. Stories like these will become completely fictional. I really hope for that day. 7 out of 10.


55 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Is this movie actually SCARY? szegarra92
Otis abhorred me more than Henry did! looker7
I wonder if John Walsh ever saw this... kmay144
This movie reminds me of (SPOILERISH) polyrng

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?